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Feb. 21, 2007
Carolina First Campaign exceeds $2 billion goal early
with $50 million gift from Dennis and Joan Gillings
CHAPEL HILL – More than $2 billion and counting.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill today (Feb. 21) surged past its $2 billion goal for the Carolina First Campaign – with more than 10 months to spare and the single largest commitment in university history pushing the drive into its closing months.
A $50 million commitment from Dennis and Joan Gillings to support the School of Public Health put Carolina First over the $2 billion mark.
Dennis Gillings, a former UNC professor of biostatistics, is the chairman and chief executive officer of Quintiles Transnational Corp., a Research Triangle Park- pharmaceutical services company. Joan Gillings has had careers in public health, including at the UNC School of Public Health, and commercial real estate.
“This history-making commitment exemplifies what we aim to achieve with Carolina First,” Chancellor James Moeser said. “It will greatly extend the university’s ability to innovate public health solutions across North Carolina and around the world. UNC is committed to global education, and our School of Public Health is one of the best in the world.”
UNC will recognize the Gillings’ contribution by renaming the School of Public Health as the Dennis and Joan Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The Gillings’ pledge raised total Carolina First commitments to $2.05 billion. The campaign, which supports UNC’s vision to become the nation’s leading public university, began July 1, 1999, and will end Dec. 31. Its public launch came in October 2002 with a $1.8 billion goal. That mark was raised to $2 billion in October 2005.
“This is an extraordinary achievement, and a tremendous testament to the generosity of our supporters and their belief in what this university is all about,” Moeser said. “In every way, we’re a stronger institution thanks to Carolina First, and the campaign will continue to pay dividends in its final months.
“Our deepest gratitude goes out to the thousands of loyal supporters who’ve brought us to this point.”
But Carolina will not relax, said Paul Fulton, Carolina First Campaign Steering Committee co-chair. To coincide with breaking $2 billion, the university will launch a special $100 million drive for faculty support. That will add $100 million to Carolina First’s goal for this area, raising it to $500 million.
“Faculty set the tone for the experience on campus, in our classrooms and clinics, in our laboratories and libraries,” said Fulton, former president and chief executive officer of Bassett Furniture Industries and past dean of Kenan-Flagler Business School. “And so having the resources to retain and recruit outstanding faculty remains our highest priority. We aim to capitalize on the campaign’s momentum to achieve even greater returns.”
Fulton said that several schools and units have not yet reached their Carolina First goals and urged volunteers and donors to make a “final push” to reach each and every goal on campus.
Carolina First’s $100 million drive for faculty will build on the $335.4 million that the campaign has raised so far for this area. That total includes funds for 193 endowed professorships toward a goal of 200. Major support has come from part of a $27 million gift from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.
Mike Overlock, Carolina First co-chair and senior director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said faculty support is particularly critical in light of UNC’s standing among peer universities. According to data from the Association of American Universities, the average faculty salary at UNC falls below the 50th percentile, compared to schools such as the University of California at Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University.
“Carolina First isn’t over, and the need to raise more funds to support our faculty isn’t over, either,” Overlock said. “The campaign has accomplished a great deal, but other universities want the best faculty, too, and they’re not shy about going after them. We must have the resources to compete.”
Along with the $100 million drive for faculty, Carolina First’s final months will focus on meeting individual campaign goals that have not yet been reached. These include goals for some building projects and schools and units.
“Our donors have already proven that they’re up to the challenge of doing great things for this university. I have no doubt that they will continue that record,” said Carolina First co-chair Charlie Shaffer, president and chief executive officer of the Marcus Institute in Atlanta.
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