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News Release


September 2006

$5 million Hyde gift will support academic leadership;
program to be named for Ruel W. Tyson

Barbara and Pitt Hyde, alumni of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have pledged $5 million to endow the Academic Leadership Program in the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and to name the program for Ruel W. Tyson.

Tyson, long-time director of the institute in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, stepped down in June after being at the helm for nearly 20 years. A religious studies professor, Tyson will continue to teach at the university, following a one-year research leave. He was appointed by Dr. Gillian Cell, then-dean of the College, to serve as the institute's first director.

Barbara Hyde, a 1983 alumna, is president of the J.R. Hyde III Family Foundation and director of the J.R. Hyde Sr. Foundation of Memphis, Tenn. She also chairs the institute's advisory board and serves on UNC's board of trustees. Pitt Hyde graduated from UNC in 1965. The Hyde family gave the lead gift to build the institute a new home in 2002 - in Hyde Hall on McCorkle Place.

The Hydes' new $5 million gift will allow for expansion of the institute's Academic Leadership Program. It is the largest single gift to the institute. The leadership program prepares faculty for academic, intellectual and institutional leadership roles at the university and provides ongoing support for faculty who have assumed such positions.

"In my year on the board of trustees, I've come to understand how important faculty retention is to the future of the university. It's a top priority," Barbara Hyde said. "As we thought about what makes a faculty member want to stay at Carolina, a big piece of that is having faculty leaders and mentors and administrators who understand the life of a faculty member and who are committed to supporting that in meaningful ways."

"The Hyde family has a deep and abiding commitment to education, but it's not just money that the Hydes give," said Dr. Madeline G. Levine, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "They give of their time, energy and ideas and share their experiences in retention and training of leaders through their own family business. We are grateful to the Hydes for this gift and for the real partnership that exists between them and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities."

Since the Academic Leadership Program's inception in 2002, 42 leadership fellows from the College of Arts and Sciences and other parts of the university have benefited from the program. Eight to 10 leadership fellows are chosen annually.

Fellows participate in a semester-long seminar where they discuss critical issues facing the university and faculty members' participation in university life. They undergo a week of leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro and participate in two overnight retreats focused on career development, leadership skills assessment and personal vision. They continue to meet as an ongoing forum of fellows, offering mutual support to each other.

The Ruel W. Tyson Academic Leadership Program will offer expanded opportunities for faculty career development as well as new programs designed for university administrators, department chairs and new faculty.

Dr. John McGowan, the new director of the institute, is particularly excited about the new programs. He said there are specific leadership goals associated with being a department chair, for instance.

"It's a complex job," said McGowan, an English scholar and the Ruel W. Tyson Jr. Distinguished Professor. "We want to help make chairs aware of the fact that there are different needs in the different career stages for their faculty."

The Hydes' gift counts toward the Carolina First Campaign, a comprehensive, multi-year, private fund-raising campaign with a goal of $2 billion to support Carolina's vision of becoming the nation's leading public university.

For more information on the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, visit

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