Doug Orr is president emeritus of Warren Wilson College and serves as an AGB workshop facilitator and consultant. As such, he assists independent college and university governing boards in becoming more effective, cohesive, and strategic in carrying out their responsibilities. He facilitates interactive board assessment retreats, with an emphasis on the importance of the board working within the context of the distinctive institutional culture, legacy, and mission. Orr also works with the board leadership and the president in facilitating presidential assessments and presidential coaching.
For the last several years, Orr has taught in the popular AGB Institute for Independent College Presidents and Board Chairs. He also teaches at the Council of Independent Colleges New President’s Institute. Orr currently serves on the board of trustees of Berea College and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. For 25 years, he was on the Johnson C. Smith University board of trustees and chaired the education committee. Also, Orr co-taught the AGB Institute for Board Chairs and Presidents of HBCU institutions, with the focus on the chair-president partnership in developing more strategic and effective boards in the context of the challenging economic environment.
Orr recently retired after serving for 15 years as president of Warren Wilson College, a liberal arts college in Asheville, N.C., characterized by its distinctive program of liberal arts study, work, service-learning, sustainability, and an international experience for every student. Prior to that, he served as vice chancellor and faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he was a recipient of the teaching excellence award. At Warren Wilson, Orr oversaw a historic growth period for the college, exemplified by 22 new facilities [including the first LEEDS Gold Certified building in the Carolinas], 11 new academic majors, the Warren Wilson WorldWide program, an Environmental Leadership Center for outreach locally and nationally, two highly successful capital campaigns, and a managed growth plan that doubled student enrollment.
He has served as board chair of the North Carolina Independent College and University Association, board chair of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, on the AGB Presidents Advisory Council, as a CIC board member, and on numerous other boards. He was recently recognized by the governor of North Carolina with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, the state’s highest civilian honor.
Orr received his BA degree from Davidson College and his MBA and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is co-editor of The North Carolina Atlas: Portrait for a New Century, published by UNC Press. He and his wife Darcy reside in Black Mountain N.C., and together perform traditional Celtic and Appalachian music. They are currently working on a book about the connection of the music of Scotland and Ireland to the Appalachians, to be co-authored with Fiona Ritchie, host of NPR’s The Thistle & Shamrock weekly radio program.