Dear Carolina alumni and friends:
This is a time of crisis and uncertainty
for our nation. The only thing we know for sure is that the world
changed on September 11. The wounds were inflicted in New York
City, Washington and Pennsylvania, but they cut deep into the
country and hurt us all in ways that seemed unimaginable before.
Yes, the world changed on September 11,
but what has not changed is the need for better understanding
among the people of the world. What has not changed is our responsibility
to go on doing all we can to promote that understanding.
Carolina First campaign showing early success
When I arrived as chancellor a little more
than a year ago I embraced the goal laid out by former Chancellor
Michael Hooker to make Carolina the leading public university
in the country. Even in these difficult times, we must not abandon
that goal or neglect the hard work required to fulfill it. We
had planned a gala and public kickoff of the Carolina First campaign,
our unprecedented effort to raise more than $1 billion in private
funds, on University Day, but felt it inappropriate to do so
in the somber aftermath of the national tragedies. Even so, we
announced on University Day that the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable
Trust has pledged a lead gift totaling $27 million to our seven-year
To be called the Eminent Professorships, these endowed chairs will become available at a time when a third of our faculty is expected to retire over the next decade. The gift will help us make progress toward our overall goal of securing 200 new professorships during the campaign. Reaching that goal will result in a 70 percent increase in the number of endowed professorships at Carolina.
The Trust also pledged $3 million to our science complex, a linchpin to our new campus master plan that will include new undergraduate classrooms and laboratories as well as research space for emerging areas such as genomics, bioinformatics, virtual reality and nanotechnology.
Our fund-raising goals are lofty, and already alumni have responded at a heartening level. On University Day, I had hoped to be able to say we had raised $600 million, our goal for that phase of the campaign. I am delighted to report that we exceeded that goal, raising $652 million.
Let me take this opportunity to thank those of you who helped make this important early success possible for your sustained support.
Private support remains critical
Private gifts created the Chapel Hill campus
in 1793 and largely sustained it for its first hundred years.
Large legislative appropriations began after World War I, but
philanthropy continues to be important. Even now, legislative
support comprises only 27 percent of the University's operating
budget - and it is not likely to go up any time soon.
These troubling developments make the need for strong private support more critical than ever. These kinds of reductions can quickly erode the years of progress that allowed Carolina to become a truly great public university. And that is why we need your support and assistance more than ever. The campaign will be reaching out to donors in a number of ways. Years ago, for example, the University established the Carolina Bell Ringers to acknowledge donors who gave consistently every year. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Carolina Annual Fund and the University has brought back the Bell Ringer tradition.
We welcome anyone to join, both alumni and other friends of Carolina. No minimum gift is required to join the Carolina Bell Ringers. Simply give, at any time and in any amount, to the Chancellor's University Fund (unrestricted) or to any school, academic program or department of the University of your choosing.
At the end of each academic year, all donors will receive a small gift, an acknowledgement of their important role in Carolina's annual giving efforts, and of the satisfaction of helping Carolina maintain its status as a premier public university.
Now I want to report to you some of our recent accomplishments and tell you about some of the important work that lies ahead:
Campus development moving ahead
In March, our trustees approved a new campus master plan that contains the sound principles that will guide the growth of the main campus for the next half century. Equally crucial, in October the Chapel Hill Town Council approved our plan to rezone the central campus. With its approval, we can proceed with critical projects funded by last year's North Carolina higher education bond referendum, essential new research buildings, major new cultural facilities, undergraduate residence halls, student family housing, and parking facilities. Ultimately, we aim to create a campus that is even more beautiful than the one we love today with a South Campus that is more welcoming to the students and families who live there as well as to patients traveling here from afar.
Finally, a planning process for the Horace Williams tract --the large undeveloped property owned by the University adjacent to the Horace Williams Airport -- is about to begin under the leadership of Tony Waldrop, our new vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, who returned to his alma mater in August to guide our research enterprise.
Oliver Smithies earns Lasker Award: 'America's Nobel'
Dr. Oliver Smithies, Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine, recently was recognized as being among the world's top scientists in his field. In September, Smithies' pioneering work in genetic research earned him a share of the 2001 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for the development of a powerful technology that led to the creation of animal models of human disease. The Lasker Awards often have been called "America's Nobel" because many of the recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. To learn more about this giant among the Carolina faculty, go to www.unc.edu/depts/design/smithies/.
An economic engine for the state
Carolina research is making its way directly
to the North Carolina economy at an accelerated pace through
the creation of taxpaying, for-profit spin-off companies, including
12 in the last year alone. These new companies create badly
needed jobs, not just in the Triangle, but also in parts of the
state where economic development has lagged and where good jobs
are hard to come by even in good times. Success stories abound
and one of them involves Holden Thorp, an award-winning chemistry
professor. Thorp's research led to the founding of Xanthon,
Inc., which is commercializing a patented technology to analyze
DNA, RNA and proteins. Now Thorp has turned his experiences in
growing that business into the topic of a new First Year Seminar.
A new School of Government for an old mission
Technology transfer to benefit the state may be a growing trend, but public service to the state has been a long-standing mission of Carolina. One of our most revered public service programs is the Institute of Government, and I am pleased to tell you that the institute has officially become the School of Government. Its new name and heightened status as a school reflects our recognition of its importance to the state.
Largest and most qualified freshman class
This year's freshman class of 3,687 is the largest entering class and the best-prepared class in Carolina's history. Thirty-six percent were among the top 10 students in their graduating class, and 336 were valedictorians and salutatorians of their high school class. The Class of 2005 also posted an average SAT score of 1,257, up six points from last year and 37 points since 1997. The freshmen also increased their Advanced Placement exam scores by 26 percent over last year, part of another steady positive trend over the past five years. The number of Asian, African American, Latino and Native American students also increased for the second consecutive year.
Gains in diversity
Carolina's success in attracting minority students is earning the University a strong reputation off campus and outside North Carolina. Last January, Carolina received the highest approval marks of any major public university from African American students as reported by Black Enterprise magazine. Earlier this fall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Carolina's success in attracting high-quality minority students when compared with other Southern universities.
The Journal-Constitution story featured our own Justin Young, who was described as exactly the kind of top-notch African American student that Georgia needs to attract and one that got away. We're so glad he chose Carolina. He is 22, a senior with a double major in biology and psychology who came to us with a 1,420 on the SAT and ranked 13th in his high school class in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Justin is now our student body president. Both his presence and his success here are emblematic of the commitment we have to diversity that enhances us all.
Nike contract a model for labor relations
Within the past month, Carolina entered into a third agreement with Nike. The new contract takes effect next July and will run for eight years at a combined monetary and product value of $28.34 million. Nearly 64 percent of that figure involves shoes, apparel and equipment. The contract provides important revenue to help offset the costs of operating one of the few self-supporting athletic departments in the country. A contract like this is a major reason why. In addition, an academic enhancement fund run by my office will receive $800,000 over the life of the contract that I intend to put toward support of excellent undergraduate teaching.
The contract sets a new standard within higher education for social responsibility because of its painstaking attention to issues of labor practices. The University will continue requiring full disclosure of all plants that make goods bearing the Carolina name and requiring outside independent monitoring of labor standards at those plants. We raised these labor code issues because they have been important to the campus community. Nike willingly agreed to accommodate our requests in this regard. In doing so, we believe the final contract reflects the University's continuing leadership at the national level with respect to labor code issues. We are proud of it and what it will mean for excellence in both athletics and academics in the years to come.
Looking behind -- and beyond -- the rankings
I feel obligated, if reluctant, to share with you that U.S. News & World Report magazine has named Carolina the nation's fifth best public university in its annual "America's Best Colleges" guidebook. Overall, among both public and private national universities, Carolina ranked 28th, tied with Tufts University.
In my "State of the University" speech -- a new tradition begun in September -- I urged the campus community to ignore journalistic rankings. "If you must, read what the magazine has to say about us, but let us not for a second be diverted by these arbitrary and artificial ratings from the substance of our vision for excellence." I meant what I said.
Our vision has nothing to do with journalistic rankings. The substance of our vision is excellence. When we achieve that vision -- of leading the way for America's great public universities -- those benefiting the most will be the people of North Carolina and the future generations of students from Manteo to Murphy, from all 50 states and from more than 100 nations around the world who come through Chapel Hill.
I hope that you feel good about the wonderful
things happening at Carolina. It is truly a university on the
rise. With your help, the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill will continue to lead the way into the future.