Joseph Urgo has served as UNC Asheville’s Provost since 2014. This semester, Provost Urgo is serving as Interim Chancellor while the University conducts a search for a successor to Chancellor Mary Grant. While Chancellor Urgo serves in this capacity, Dr. Karin Peterson, Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department, is serving as Acting Provost.
Chancellor Urgo is a first-generation college student and the grandson of Italian immigrants. He graduated from Haverford College with a degree in Political Science, has a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University, and an M.A. and PhD in American Civilization from Brown University. Joe is a nationally known expert in twentieth-century American literature and culture, with particular expertise on authors William Faulkner and Willa Cather. He is the author of four books, numerous edited volumes, and dozens of essays and chapters. In recent years, he has published on the function and importance of the liberal arts as a national resource. Joe is a passionate advocate for inquiry-based education, where student participation and research are central experiences, and for universal access to higher education.
Before arriving in Asheville, Joe served as President of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College, and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Mississippi.