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My main memories of Dick Spangler Jr. A taste for barbecue may have been the only simple thing about Mr. The son of a Charlotte contractor and real-estate investor, he attended Woodberry Forest School, an elite boarding school in Virginia. He ed the family business, expanded its real estate holdings and invested in the Jacksonville, N. While Spangler kept a low profile, his wife, Meredith, was a longtime bank director.
Long before private equity became dominant, he was part of an investor group that considered a bid for Winston-Salem-based RJR Nabisco Inc. The largest producer, USG Corp. His dealmaking during a time when his day job was perhaps the most important post in the state: He was president of the University of North Carolina System from The low-tuition strategy prompted campuses to rely more on state funding than parents and students.
Two decades later, UNC still ranks among the lowest-cost public university systems in the U. Serving on the city school board when white flight and fights over desegregation mounted, he helped engineer the surprise firing in of a superintendent who had lost his confidence. Church was also important to Spangler, a key lay member at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, long known for its progressive, outspoken pastors and community leadership.
With his blessing, the church welcomed lesbian and gay members long before most peers, according to a church history. As in business, Spangler moved decisively at his church: Inthe church irked some neighbors by tearing down an adjacent historic home — owned by the church — to make way for a recreation center. In the last decade, his construction company gave money almost exclusively to Republicans, according to Opensecrets.
As evidenced by his passion for fixing clocks and astronomy, his disinterest in golf and a general aversion to being in the headlines, Spangler was intensely private. Forgot your password?
Lost your password? You will receive mail with link to set new password. By David Mildenberg. In Blog. Share this story: Facebook 13 Twitter LinkedIn.
Harvard Business School. Spangler Jr. David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina.
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