Bonita J. Hairston has been named chief of staff at UNCG, effective July 1. For the past four years, Hairston has served as chief of staff at the University of North Texas, the fourth largest university in Texas. She has also served as general counsel at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and assistant attorney for Winston-Salem State University.
She emerged from a national search that drew 87 candidates.
“I am delighted Bonita Hairston is joining UNCG as my chief of staff,” said Chancellor Linda P. Brady. “Her past experiences are in alignment with the goals for UNCG and I believe she possesses the leadership, administration and communication skills that are essential for this senior-level position. I look forward to working with her and to having her valuable input as a member of my Executive Staff.”
At UNCG, Hairston will be the principal aide and adviser to the chancellor, representing the chancellor with internal and external constituencies. She will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of university-wide initiatives. Hairston will manage the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Chancellor, and serve as the principal liaison with the UNCG Board of Trustees, which includes coordinating and staffing board meetings and retreats. As chief of staff, she will also oversee university policies and other special projects as they arise and serve on various internal and external committees and boards.
She succeeds Sharlene O’Neil, who received her master’s degree in May. O’Neil has been with UNCG since 1989, first in the Graduate School and then in the Chancellor’s Office. Said O’Neil, “Now that I have received my master’s degree, I am anxious to use my skills in a new position.”
“I am thrilled and honored to join the staff at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro,” says Hairston. “UNCG has made great strides under the leadership of Dr. Linda Brady and other colleagues at UNCG, and I look forward to the opportunity to bring my skills and enthusiasm for higher education to help further the image of UNCG as a strong learner-centered public research university.”
Hairston had a broad range of administrative duties during her four years at the University of North Texas. She served as a part of the Executive Cabinet as it made transformational changes throughout the university. She was the lead in restructuring UNT’s emergency preparedness operations and helped create and manage the university’s policy and compliance offices.
A native of Winston-Salem, she graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in history and earned her law degree there in 1997. She is a member of the bar in North Carolina, South Carolina and the District of Columbia. Previous employers include Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College and Stratos Mobile Networks, USA.
She has served as the secretary of the Texas Health Resources Denton Hospital Board of Trustees and on the United Way of Denton Board of Trustees. She has also been a member of the Wake Forest University Alumni Council.