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For immediate use

Oct. 12, 2001 -- No. 510

Kenan Charitable Trust to establish new professorships as part of $27 million gift

By KRISTINA CASTO
Office of University Development

CHAPEL HILL -- The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust has pledged a challenge gift to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which, if met by other donors, will result in 10 $3 million professorships -- called Eminent Professorships -- the largest endowed professorships in university history.

The challenge grant is part of a $27 million lead gift from the Kenan Trust, the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund and the Kenan family to UNCís seven-year Carolina First Campaign. Chancellor James Moeser announced the gift today (Oct. 12) at UNCís annual University Day convocation.

Under the terms of the pledge, the trust will match, on a one-to-one basis, up to five Eminent Professorships established and named by other donors, creating up to 10 new professorships.

Each time a donor gives $2.5 million for a professorship, the trust will provide a $200,000 matching grant. The university will also apply for a $334,000 matching grant from the stateís Distinguished Professorship Endowment Trust Fund, bringing the total endowment for each professorship to more than $3 million.

The trust is also pledging $3 million to the universityís science complex, a major component of the campus master plan. New undergraduate classrooms and laboratories as well as facilities for emerging areas such as genomics, bioinformatics, virtual reality and nanotechnology will be housed in the complex. Construction is expected to begin in 2003 and end in 2008.

"Higher education, and particularly the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has always been a priority for the Kenan Trust. In recognition of the importance of the Carolina First Campaign to the university, the trust wanted to give a gift that builds on the precedent set by generations of members of the Kenan family," said Dr. Richard M. Krasno, executive director of the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. "The gift to the university is more than a donation, it is a continuation of a tradition that is more than 200 years old."

Moeser said, "Carolina has had the good fortune to count members of the Kenan family among its alumni, friends and benefactors. This is one of the oldest philanthropic partnerships in American higher education. Today the Kenan Trust is joining with Carolina to address one of the universityís highest priorities and greatest needs. This generous gift gives us tremendous momentum in our drive to create 200 new endowed professorships through Carolina First."

Endowed professorships are important, Moeser said, because a third of Carolinaís faculty will retire in the next decade, placing the university in intense competition for the nationís best faculty. The university will recruit world-class teachers and scholars in all fields, from the ranks of current faculty as well as from elsewhere, for the new professorships, Moeser said.

The Kenan family has been linked to the chemistry department since 1893 when chemistry professor Francis Preston Venable, undergraduate William Rand Kenan Jr. and alumnus John Motley Morehead collaborated on the discovery of calcium carbide. The discovery made possible the production of acetylene gas and led to the formation of Union Carbide Co. The departmentís Kenan Chemistry Library, housed in Venable Hall, was named in honor of William R. Kenan Jr. in 1953. A chemistry laboratory building was also named for Kenan in 1971.

During UNCís Bicentennial Campaign (1989-1995) the Kenan family, the Kenan Fund and the Kenan Trust gave nearly $31 million to the university, including $10 million earmarked for the business schoolís new building. The business school was named for the late Mary Lily Kenan Flagler and her husband, Henry Morrison Flagler, in recognition of the Kenan familyís longtime commitment to the university. An additional $10 million went to the school to build a new executive education facility and to establish a center for entreprenuership.

In 1985, under the leadership of Frank Hawkins Kenan, a 1935 UNC graduate, the Kenan Trust established the William R. Kenan Fund with a $20 million gift. The fund has provided support for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and the Kenan Center, which houses the institute.

Besides the professorship and science complex pledges, the Kenan Trust, Kenan Fund and members of the Kenan family have given $8 million to the university to date in the Carolina First Campaign.

The Kenan Trust, the Kenan Fund and the Kenan family have given nearly $100 million to the university since its founding in 1793.

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Kenan Trust contact: Dr. Richard Krasno, 962-8150

UNC development office contact: Speed Hallman, 962-0027

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