May 2009

Go on dreaming, seek compassion, Tutu urges graduates

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa, urged Carolina's new graduates to go on dreaming and believing it's possible to end hunger and make the world more compassionate. Carolina awarded more than 5,680 degrees. For links to Tutu's speech, video highlights, a slideshow and more, see

UNC-BEST graduates

Graduates include new science and math teachers for N.C. schools

New graduates included the first eight students to complete the UNC-BEST – Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching – program, which allows students to earn North Carolina teaching licenses while majoring in science or math. The program is one way Carolina is helping address the state's shortage of science and math teachers.

Coach Williams and the team with President Obama

Tar Heels become White House VIPs

President Barack Obama celebrated Carolina's 2009 national championship on May 11 by hosting the Tar Heels at the White House. Coach Roy Williams presented the president with a Carolina jersey. And the entire team received a lifetime of memories.


$17.5 million stimulus grant to fund solar energy research

Professor Tom Meyer led a coalition of scientists securing a $17.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Nationwide, 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers aim to discover breakthroughs in energy technology. Carolina's center – the only one in North Carolina and among a handful intended to create jobs – will study low-cost and efficient solar fuels production by artificial photosynthesis.


Public Service Scholars program graduates 5th class

Carolina's graduating Class of 2009 included 171 Public Services Scholars. The program provides a way for students to learn new skills, strengthen their commitment to service and link their academics to making a difference. Learn more about the graduates and the program.

Carl Ernst

Ernst elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Carl Ernst, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's oldest honorary societies. He's Carolina's 37th academy member and directs the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations.

Elisabeth "Lisette" Yorke and Aisha Saad

Seniors make USA Today academic first team

Seniors Elisabeth "Lisette" Yorke of Hillside Boularderie, Nova Scotia, and Aisha Saad of Cary, N.C., both Morehead-Cain Scholars, were among 20 undergraduates who made USA Today's 2009 All-USA College Academic First Team. Yorke and Saad also became Rhodes Scholars this year.

Karen Gil

Gil tapped as next arts and sciences dean

Karen Gil, Lee G. Pedersen Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Carolina, has been recommended to become dean of the College of Arts and Sciences following a national search. She is a former psychology department chair and a two-time senior associate dean in the college.


Nanotech research ranks in top 5

Carolina's research in nano- and microtechnology ranks among the top five U.S. universities, according to Small Times magazine. The magazine's annual survey assesses universities' capabilities and strengths in research and commercialization, as well as their standing among others in a peer review category.

The Old Well

State budget cuts loom for 2009-2010

North Carolina faces a deficit for next year exceeding $4 billion. Carolina has already reverted $36 million in state funds (7 percent) to help with the deficit. No one knows how deep the permanent state cuts for next fiscal year will go. Chancellor Holden Thorp's administration is determined to do everything possible to preserve the quality of education available to students. For the latest, see the Carolina Budget Information Web page.