University Registrar Harold Pace to retire in fall 2020

Harold Pace

After leading the University Registrar’s Office for nearly a decade, Harold Pace will retire this coming fall.

Pace joined Wake Forest in July 2011 as University Registrar and Assistant Provost for Academic Administration. He will retire from that position on Oct. 1.  Said Provost Rogan Kersh, “Harold Pace has truly been Wake Forest’s indispensable figure–working closely with faculty, staff colleagues in seemingly every corner of our campus, and students to ensure not only that the vital operations of the Registrar’s Office are carried out expertly, but also that our university itself thrives.  From first-year students’ initial registration through our University Commencement, Harold has reshaped for the better every aspect of our students’ experience, across the College and our graduate/professional schools.  I’m still trying to imagine our community without him at the absolute center.”

Pace and his wife, Cathy, look forward to remaining in Winston-Salem after his retirement.

“Cathy and I plan to stay here in Winston Salem where our daughter, Leann, and our two grandkids live,” Pace said.  Leann Pace is an assistant teaching professor in the Department for the Study of Religions.

“Cathy and Leann tell me that just getting the grandkids to all of their school and after-school events will provide me with the necessary transition job,” he joked, but added, “I am still considering what I want to do in this upcoming life change.”

In his remaining months in the University Registrar’s Office, he will stay focused on the overarching priority he has held from the start—helping faculty and students administratively so that they can stay on track with their academic priorities.

“I have always held that administrative tasks required of students and faculty by the registrar, such as reporting grades, registering for classes, keeping up with degree progress, class lists and more should be easily accomplished, so that the core work of the University—learning, research, and teaching—is not shortchanged,” Pace said.

Pace arrived at Wake Forest with lengthy and wide-ranging experience as a registrar.  “I came to Wake in 2011 after being the University Registrar at two other institutions, Notre Dame and Louisiana Tech, for a total of 29 years,” Pace said.  Earlier in his career, he worked for ten years in registrar positions at Texas A&M and Lamar University.

He launched his career after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in student personnel and guidance.  As his career progressed, he received a doctorate in educational administration.

Looking back on his Wake Forest tenure, Pace said one of his primary jobs “has been to hire a talented academic services staff and work with them to improve academic services, the integrity and security of our records, and the efficiency of the faculty-approved processes.”

The achievements of the University Registrar’s Office during his near decade of leadership “can be directly attributed to these past and current staff members and our campus partners who have worked with us,” Pace said.

As he put it, “My practice is to hire people smarter than I am and then give them the room and support they need to move the University forward.”

Asked about the office’s most significant achievements during his leadership, Pace points to the relationships he and the office’s staff have established with faculty.  “Building these professional relationships with faculty leaders and academic administrators is a particular point of pride,” he said.

From his earliest days at Wake Forest, Pace and his staff established formal connections with faculty through memberships on key faculty committees and by working with faculty leaders on policy and projects.  Such connections enabled the University Registrar’s team “to stay current on faculty issues and needs and be informed of academic policy changes,” Pace explained.

Many major achievements by the University Registrar’s Office in the past several years reflect Pace’s strong professional background in introducing and adapting new technology to the critical functions of a registrar’s office. From his first years in registrar positions, he has focused closely on technology and how it may serve a registrar’s office in meeting its responsibilities.

Perhaps one of Pace’s least widely known responsibilities is his considerable annual involvement with University Commencement.  He and his staff work collaboratively with faculty marshals and the University Events team to stage the university-wide ceremony.  Pace developed expertise with commencements across his career, including at Notre Dame, before joining Wake Forest.

“We have worked collaboratively to improve the experience of our graduates and their guests at May commencement,” Pace said.

The Office of the Provost is taking initial steps to find Pace’s successor.  Provost Rogan Kersh has appointed a search committee to select the new University Registrar and Assistant Provost for Academic Administration.

Search committee members include:

  • Provost Rogan Kersh, Chair
  • Emily Austin, Associate Professor, Philosophy
  • Jane Caldwell, Senior Associate Athletic Director, Student-Athlete Services, and Assistant to the Dean of the College
  • Lisa Dragoni, Associate Professor, School of Business
  • Laura Giovanelli, Associate Dean of Learning Spaces, Assistant Teaching Professor, English
  • Ashley Hairston, Associate Dean for Academic Advising, College
  • Beth Hoagland, Assistant Provost for Budget and Planning
  • Lynn McGowan, Director of Client Services, Information Systems
  • Kevin Pittard, Associate Dean of Admissions (undergraduate)
  • Malika Roman-Isler, Assistant Vice President of Inclusive Practice, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Angela Culler, Consultant, Office of the Provost

For more information regarding the registrar search contact

Updates on the search process will be provided at a later time by the Office of the Provost.