Founders Day Convocation
Friday, March 9, 2018
Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center
Ronald G. Penny
Secretary of the North Carolina Dept. of Revenue
On January 3, 2017, Governor Roy Cooper named Ronald Penny Acting Secretary of the
NCDOR. He was unanimously confirmed as the Secretary of Revenue by the Senate in a
vote on Thursday, June 15.
Prior to joining the agency, Secretary Penny held numerous professional roles, including positions in state government, the North Carolina university system and the private sector. Penny served as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration, teaching courses in human resources, policy, government, law and leadership at North Carolina Central University. He served as Chair of the department for more than a decade. Under his leadership the university’s MPA program had a national impact. The program ranked as one of the most productive in the nation and students competed and won a number of prestigious fellowships.
Penny was the first Vice President for Human Resources for the University of North Carolina System, establishing policy for approximately 40,000 employees. Prior to that appointment, he served eight years as the Director of the NC Office of State Personnel (now NC Office of State Human Resources) and served as a member of the executive cabinet of former Governor James B. Hunt. In this position he established policy for 120,000 public employees and managed a $19 million public sector organization. Under his leadership, the NC human resource system was evaluated as one of the top 8 in the nation. In 1999, he served as President of the National Association of State Personnel Executives.
Other professional experiences include Senior Managing Partner in Penny & Barnes, a multi-state law firm in northeastern NC and Tidewater Virginia, General Counsel to the Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University and environmental attorney for E.I. DuPont Corporation in Delaware.
For a number of years he served as an Associate General Counsel for the North Carolina Conference of Branches of the NAACP. He was chief counsel in a number of voting rights cases in eastern North Carolina. His efforts to expand voting opportunity in Eastern NC and thereby change public policy were featured in the book, Quiet Revolution in the South, by Chandler Davidson and Bernard Grofman, Princeton University Press.
In 2015 and 2016, Penny was named a Hubert Fellow by the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. As a part of that fellowship, Penny authored two digital case studies published by the University, “Executive Director Compensation: How much pay is too much?” and “The Delmar Dilemma: Wrong If You Do, Wrong If You Don’t.” Penny currently is an Adjunct Professor in the MBA program at Campbell University.
His public service includes two terms as the chair of the Board of Directors for the United Way of North Carolina and a member of the Governor's Budget Reform and Accountability Commission. In 2012 he was appointed by Governor Beverly Perdue to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Penny holds a BS in Economics from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, summa cum laude, and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of the North Carolina Bar. He is married to the former Ms. Carolyn McKay, they have a son Ronald Penny and a granddaughter, Delanie Penny.