Carolina Development
Annual Report

Fiscal Year 2016

Chancellor’s Message

Chancellor Folt

…it is particularly important to cite your important role in helping us make sure the best is yet to come…

Dear Carolina Supporters:

This time last year, we said, “The best is yet to come.” At this time of year, it is particularly important to cite your important role in helping us make sure the best is yet to come: We received a record $495.3 million in private commitments in fiscal year 2016, topping our previous record set in fiscal year 2015 by almost $50 million.

This is an extraordinary achievement. You and 68,000 donors like you can take credit and be proud.

You can also take pride in the many extraordinary achievements here at Carolina. An abbreviated sampling of these highlights over the past year includes:

  • Carolina’s unwavering commitment to making dreams come true by creating the opportunities that come from attending a leading university available to students without burdening them with excess debt after graduation. For the 16th consecutive time, we placed first in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s rankings for high-quality academics at an affordable price. We also placed first in U.S. News & World Report’s “Great Schools, Great Prices” list.
  • Our faculty continue to be recognized for their excellence. Aziz Sancar, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2015, received an O. Max Gardner Award, the oldest and most prestigious statewide honor, from the UNC Board of Governors this summer. Joseph DeSimone, Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry and innovator of one of the world’s most sophisticated 3-D printers, was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Barack Obama in May.
  • Our students continued their record of earning some of the world’s most prestigious scholarships, such as Yasmin Cole, a recipient of The Dean’s Master’s Scholarship at Imperial College London, and Blake Hauser, named a recipient of the Churchill Scholarship. The list of recent accomplishments also includes our first two Gates Cambridge Scholars in the same year: Larry Han and Matthew Leming.

This last point captures the very essence of Carolina and is at the heart of how you make a daily difference. Larry came here as a Morehead-Cain Scholar; Matthew as a Carolina Covenant Scholar. They embody our core commitment to student excellence and access.

These scholarship programs embody the power of private giving, as both rely on donor support. Fiscal year 2016 brought great news on this front, too. An anonymous donor pledged $10 million to each and also challenged us to raise another $20 million in matching funds by October 2017. (You can read more about the Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge.)

The challenge, along with our record fundraising year and many other successes, is generating tremendous momentum. And the timing couldn’t be better: We plan to publicly launch our comprehensive campaign in the fall of 2017.

Thanks to you, we continue to see that the best is yet to come.

Chancellor Folt Signature

Carol L. Folt

Special Feature


Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge enables students to break barriers

Gift from anonymous donor includes $20 million challenge for Carolina Covenant and Morehead-Cain Scholarships

On the heels of Carolina’s record-breaking fundraising year in fiscal 2016, the University accepted a $20 million match challenge in support of need- and merit-based scholarships. Running through October 2017, the Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge is structured as tandem $10 million matches—one benefiting the Carolina Covenant and the other Morehead-Cain Scholarships—to open the way to a world-class, Carolina education.

The match comes as part of a $40 million gift to the University from an anonymous donor. For one of the few remaining U.S. public universities that is truly need blind during the admissions process, the Give for Good challenge, if met, will fund more student scholarship opportunities that epitomize the University’s mission.

Chancellor Carol Folt announced the challenge on University Day, Oct. 11, 2016.

“This is a wonderful way to mark Carolina’s 223rd birthday with an incredibly generous gift and the match challenge, which will help us raise additional funds for need- and merit-based scholarships,” Folt said. “Carolina continues as a leader among public universities at meeting the full financial need of all undergraduate students who qualify for federal aid. We believe that all students should have the opportunity to go as far as their talents and hard work takes them. This initiative will help provide additional scholarship resources for our deserving students.”

“We believe that all students should have the opportunity to go as far as their talents and hard work takes them.”

Carol Folt

Since its founding in 1945, the Morehead-Cain Foundation—home of the first merit-based scholarship program in the country—has connected the world’s most talented, high-achieving young minds to a fully funded UNC undergraduate experience. More than 3,100 scholars have benefited from the program since its inception, channeling academic and leadership potential to positively and profoundly impact the lives of others, beginning on campus.

Launched in 2004, the Carolina Covenant scholarship program is a groundbreaking initiative that affords children of low-income families—many of whom are first-generation students—an opportunity to attend Carolina without borrowing a penny. The Covenant supports UNC’s mission of staying truly public and provides intellectually driven, hard-working young individuals from low-income backgrounds the chance to study at one of the most prestigious public universities in the country—and the freedom to pave a future unburdened by college debt. Since its beginning, the scholarship program has enabled more than 6,000 high-performing, low-income students to attend Carolina and graduate debt free.

To make a gift to the Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge, visit:

Chaitra Powell Matthew Leming and Larry Han

Taking two paths to excellence

The Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge will support outstanding students like Larry Han and Matthew Leming

UNC graduates Larry Han ’16 and Matthew Leming ’15, ’16 (M.S.) came to UNC via different paths, but both have made the most of their Carolina experience.

Han, a Morehead-Cain Scholar, and Leming, a Carolina Covenant Scholar, both received prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships in 2016 to pursue graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England. It was the first time Carolina had two Gates Cambridge Scholars in the same year; UNC’s total is now seven.

“Larry and Matt are those rare students who quietly and without fanfare change the landscape of their professions,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “They have already accomplished so much in their young careers in academia and are outstanding representatives for our campus and their community. But their skills extend far beyond their fields. They are also humanitarians whose strengths lie in their ability to connect on a human level. I am excited to see what they do with their bright futures.”

A Raleigh, North Carolina, native, Han earned a degree in biostatistics and a minor in chemistry. He was a nationally ranked teenage golfer and has worked in golf analytics. He hopes to use statistics to help people improve their health trajectory. He has already made notable contributions in the treatment of HIV infection in China and malaria vaccine research in Africa.

Han amassed a number of accolades at UNC. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was an Honors Carolina student. He received a Carolina Phillips Ambassador Scholarship for study abroad in Asia and a 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. He was awarded an inaugural Schwarzman Scholarship, an elite China-based scholarship modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship and founded by Blackstone co-founder and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman.

“Carolina is a special place, but the Morehead-Cain is a truly differentiating factor.”

Larry Han

Han is currently at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, with the Schwartzman Scholars. In 2017, he will head to Cambridge, where he will pursue a master’s degree of philosophy in strategy, marketing and operations, focusing his research toward understanding how health-care services and interventions can be modified to improve patient outcomes. He hopes to optimize regional hospital systems to reduce infection and mortality in acute-care settings, while improving the quality of patient-centered care.

“Carolina is a special place, but the Morehead-Cain is a truly differentiating factor,” he said. “It has given me the opportunity to explore my deepest passions, both professional and intellectual. In the words of our benefactor, John Motley Morehead: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected in return.’ Indeed, we believe in the mission of our great University, and hope to contribute to the University we love.”

Leming, of New Orleans, Louisiana, earned a master’s degree in computer science as part of a five-year computer science bachelor’s and master’s program. He earned his undergraduate degree and completed minors in mathematics and Russian language and literature in 2015. He was a former columnist and cartoonist for the Daily Tar Heel and an associate editor for Carolina Scientific, and was the lead developer of the CarolinaGO mobile app.

“To me, the Carolina Covenant symbolizes Carolina’s commitment to bringing educational opportunities to any student regardless of their socioeconomic background.”

Matthew Leming

Leming has worked at a distributed intelligence systems laboratory at St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University in Russia as well as neural imaging laboratories at University College London and at UNC’s School of Medicine.

He also has numerous recognitions, including induction into Phi Beta Kappa and participating in Honors Carolina. He received Carolina’s Class of 1938 Fellowship to support study abroad, as well as a 2014 Burch Fellowship to support an original project and conduct research in neuroscience in Britain. He also received a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

At Cambridge, Leming is pursuing a doctorate in psychiatry in Churchill College, focusing his research on analyzing the circuitous connections in the brain with diffusion and functional MRIs as a way to predict mental illness and neurological disorders in children.

“To me, the Carolina Covenant symbolizes Carolina’s commitment to bringing educational opportunities to any student regardless of their socioeconomic background,” he said.

Featured Profiles

Fred Roper

Fred Roper

Trading seats at the Dean Dome for impact at SILS

Seats 6 through 9 in Row F of Section 229 in the Dean Dome have always belonged to Dr. Fred W. Roper ’60, ’62, (M.S.L.S.). Back when he was associate dean in UNC’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS), he purchased lifetime rights in 1982 as part of the faculty/staff fundraising effort to construct the building.

Roper was there when the Dean Dome opened in 1986 with an epic battle between the top-ranked Tar Heels and Tobacco Road powerhouse and archrival Duke, ranked third. The top spot in the polls hung in the balance. Carolina came away with a 95-92 victory.

For the next three decades, Roper collected many more moments and memories from those seats. Even after becoming dean at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science in 1986, where he served for 17 years before retiring as distinguished dean emeritus, Roper came back often to get his Carolina fix.

His love of his alma mater extends beyond the hardwood, the gridiron or the classroom. He’s been involved in the life of the University and SILS, having served on SILS’s Board of Visitors as well as the UNC Board of Visitors. His achievements, scholarship and contributions to the field of librarianship earned him the SILS Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986. As a dual degree holder, former faculty member and administrator, Roper is a passionate supporter of Carolina’s best and brightest, and of SILS in particular.

Now, he’s giving back in a unique and special way—by giving the rights to his Dean Dome seats to SILS. It’s one of only a few gifts like this ever made to Carolina.

“We are so fortunate to have someone like Fred who is not just committed to making SILS and the University better, but who can also envision the significant impact this unique gift can have,” said Gary Marchionini, SILS dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor. “SILS will be able to engage current and potential scholars and students in the life of the University on a larger scale, and recognize their achievements in ways we haven’t been able to before. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

Roper’s motivation was simple: “I want to enhance the academic programs at SILS and UNC. These seats present tangible opportunities for the school to bring preeminent scholars and talented students here and give them a peek into life at Carolina as well as acknowledge the tremendous work already under way.”

A native of Hendersonville, North Carolina, Roper has witnessed the University's evolution over the past 60 years or so, having come to Chapel Hill as a freshman in 1956-57, the year of Carolina's first NCAA championship. He entered the master's program in 1960 (there was no Ph.D. program then) and his classes met on the fourth floor of Wilson Library.

“Throughout my 40-plus-year career, I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible people, explore innovative education development and watch SILS become a top school for library science. I am honored to have been a part of that in some way.”

Fred Roper

“UNC and SILS gave me a stellar education and opportunities to expand in ways that I hadn’t imagined,” he said. “Throughout my 40-plus-year career, I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible people, explore innovative education development and watch SILS become a top school for library science. I am honored to have been a part of that in some way.”

Roper said he’d had many significant people in his life who have encouraged and supported him, specifically his high school librarian, who introduced him to librarianship, and his mother and stepfather who supported and believed in him unconditionally. In 2012, Roper documented a bequest to UNC as part of his estate plan to honor the memory of his mother and stepfather and to acknowledge the educational experience he received at SILS. His gift will create the Mary Alice and George Jones Fund to support and advance SILS’s nationally recognized medical librarianship and health informatics programs. In U.S. News & World Report’s most recent review of library and information science programs, SILS was ranked No. 2 for health librarianship (and No. 2 for best school overall).

“I’ve had so many wonderful experiences on this campus, at SILS and in the Smith Center,” he said. “It brings me such joy to make these gifts, and to know that they will help create opportunities for future generations.”

Lisa and Frank Emory (Photo: Jeff Cravotta)

Lisa and Frank Emory

Sharing a love for education

Editor’s note: This story is based on a piece that originally appeared in the Spring-Summer 2016 issue of Carolina Law.

Lisa and Frank Emory believe in the transformative power of education, and they’re committed to putting their beliefs into action.

In 2015, they committed $120,000 to the UNC School of Law to create The Frank E. and Lisa L. Emory Family Scholarship. This award supports law students who have demonstrated academic achievement and are residents of eastern North Carolina—Frank is originally from Wilson—or Mecklenburg County, where the Emorys live.

A 1982 graduate of Carolina Law, Frank attended the school on a Morehead Law Fellowship after graduating from Duke University as an Angier B. Duke Scholar—Duke’s most prestigious academic scholarship.

For Frank and Lisa, this gift is a way to share their love of education. “Education was a really big deal in both of our families, something that we also instilled in our children,” Frank said. Their sons, Frank III and Ross Alexander, work as a mechanical engineer and an investment banker, respectively.

“Education is what propelled my parents from their start to a pretty good life,” Frank said.

With the scholarship, the Emorys want to help replicate the opportunities they have had for deserving students.

“Many times [Carolina Law] loses students with great potential—who would put roots down in our great state—because they don’t have the funds to attend,” Frank said. “This scholarship will give talented students the opportunity to go to our great law school.”

“Public service is the tithe you owe when you have been blessed to do well; I owe that to my community and my state to contribute where I can.”

Frank Emory

Frank credits Carolina Law for the career opportunities he has enjoyed. “Charles Becton, who served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, was my trial advocacy professor at UNC. I was lucky enough that he offered me a job as his law clerk coming out of law school.” Frank then went to work alongside Julius Chambers ’62 at the firm of Ferguson, Stein and Chambers before heading to Hunton & Williams LLP, a national law firm with more than 800 lawyers, where he is a partner and co-head of the litigation, intellectual property, competition and labor groups.

Frank knew from a young age that he wanted to be a trial lawyer. “Being a good courtroom advocate is one of the highest callings one can have. A sophisticated society needs a good and reliable way for people to resolve their disputes. When it works well, with good ethical people on both sides, it’s a beautiful thing. You might not always like the results, but the process works.”

Frank and Lisa, who is a real estate broker in Charlotte, give back to the community in a wide range of ways. Frank’s community involvement includes serving eight years on the North Carolina Board of Transportation, chairing the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and presiding over the Mecklenburg County Bar—which honored him as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in 2008—among many other activities.

In fact, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of his long career as a public servant. Humble about his contributions, he said, “Public service is the tithe you owe when you have been blessed to do well; I owe that to my community and my state to contribute where I can.”

Lisa’s passion for education is evidenced in the time that she gives to her community. She tutors elementary, middle and high school students. She helped raise money to start a Freedom School Partners program, which provides quality summer programming for students in grades K-8, at the church the family attends.

“Lisa believes that it’s important that someone reaches out to kids, particularly those who come from stressed backgrounds, to say, ‘You’re important to me,’” Frank said.

Lisa was the impetus behind the gift to the law school as well as the Emory Family Scholarship, which Frank and Lisa created for Duke undergraduates.

“Lisa and I decided that what we wanted to do with our lives now is to support financially our undergraduate and professional schools,” Frank said. “And with her time, she helps kids who are coming along in elementary, middle and high school. She feels strongly, and I agree, that providing educational opportunities to all students, and particularly those from at-risk communities, is something where it’s hard to have too many hands helping.”

Rothwells Sharon and Doug Rothwell, who left Carolina in 1980, enjoy their new home on Franklin Street, where they will live part time until they are fully retired. (Photo: Michael Zirkle)

Sharon and Doug Rothwell

Coming home, giving broadly

They say you can’t go home again, but dedicated Tar Heels Sharon and Doug Rothwell are proving that to be a false assumption.

Sharon, originally from Dunn, North Carolina, and Doug, originally from Philadelphia, met on the first day of orientation for the UNC Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program in 1978. In 1980, they left Carolina as newlyweds and M.P.A. graduates, moving first to Delaware and then to Michigan, where they have spent most of their careers.

Sharon and Doug have both served four governors in two different states and held executive positions for Fortune 500 companies. They credit the UNC M.P.A. degree with allowing them to work across sectors navigating policy, politics and business.

Sharon was vice president, corporate affairs, for Masco Corporation until her retirement in 2015. Prior to joining Masco in 2003, she served as Michigan Gov. John Engler’s chief operating officer/chief of staff. She previously served as Michigan’s director of labor relations and Delaware’s state personnel director.

Doug is president and chief executive officer of Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, and is chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, an organization he founded. Formerly, he served as CAO at Bank of America’s credit card subsidiary, Delaware Gov. Michael Castle’s chief of staff and General Motors’ global real estate portfolio manager. Sharon and Doug both led current Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s transition team.

While living in other places, however, they remained connected to UNC through their love of basketball—attending games throughout the country, including in Maui—and their commitment to supporting public higher education and the arts. And in 2014, they moved “home” to Chapel Hill.

In 2005, they created the UNC School of Government M.P.A. program’s premier Rothwell Scholarship that provides funding to high-performing M.P.A. students. More recently, they established the Sharon and Doug Rothwell M.P.A. Endowment to support the program into the future.

“UNC and our M.P.A. degrees have opened doors throughout our careers and helped us succeed in life,” Doug said. “This is our way of thanking the University and helping more public service-minded men and women to have that experience.”

In 2010, they considered what would make the next phase of their lives enjoyable and meaningful in retirement. Sharon proposed moving to Chapel Hill. “That’s about all it took,” Doug said. They eventually bought a place on Franklin Street, where they are living part time now until Doug follows Sharon into retirement.

“We think you need to give now and you need to plan for the future in terms of giving back. With public funding for higher education decreasing across the country, planned giving is essential for the future of our University.”

Sharon Rothwell

For a couple who describe themselves as “rabid Tar Heel basketball fans,” athletics was certainly a draw, but so was Carolina Performing Arts.

“We both feel that the arts define the community in which you live,” Doug said, “and we believe that universities play a major role in exposing both communities and students to the arts. It is important to us to be in a community where you can have world-class opportunities in the performing arts. I don’t think Chapel Hill would be anything near what it is today without Carolina Performing Arts.”

The Rothwells are generous supporters of Carolina Performing Arts, contributing annually and to special initiatives such as the 100th anniversary celebration of The Rite of Spring. They are season ticket holders and recently created the Sharon and Doug Rothwell Endowment to support classical and jazz musical performances and the creation of new musical works.

In addition to recognizing their graduate school and performing arts, Sharon and Doug have established a women’s volleyball endowed scholarship and their planned giving will include a campus improvement project.

Both Sharon and Doug continue to serve UNC in various leadership capacities. Sharon is a member of the Carolina Performing Arts International Advisory Board and chairs the board’s marketing committee. Doug is vice chair of the UNC Board of Visitors and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Rams Club.

“We both feel strongly that one of the most significant ways you can help the future is by supporting higher education,” Sharon said. “We’ve endowed scholarships, are annual givers and are contributing as part of our estate planning. We think you need to give now and you need to plan for the future in terms of giving back. With public funding for higher education decreasing across the country, planned giving is essential for the future of our University.”

Williams with Folt L to R: Ken Williams, Chancellor Carol Folt, Cheryl Williams and Dr. Ned Sharpless celebrate the announcement of the Williamses’ $10 million gift to UNC Lineberger at the 2015 Blue Ribbon Gala. (Photo: Brian Strickland Photography)

Cheryl and Ken Williams

Supporting a world-class leader in cancer research

Editor’s note: This story is based on a piece that originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Cancer Lines.

Ken and Cheryl Williams moved to Chapel Hill in 1988, when their younger children were just in the second and fourth grades. Ken, who received his master’s degree from UNC’s School of Public Health (now the Gillings School of Global Public Health) in 1970 and his doctorate in 1976, was already a true-blue alum, but Cheryl got her first “taste of Carolina” at a UNC men’s basketball game. She and Ken soon became regulars at a variety of athletic events.

Through the years, the Williamses’ love for the University has grown, and so has their support for both academics and athletics. “We’ve given to the Educational Foundation for at least 20 years,” Cheryl said. “And Ken is on the Executive Board of the Rams Club, where he has served as chair and on numerous committees. We’ve always been proud of the endowed scholarships we fund and have enjoyed getting to know the student-athletes who have been supported by them.” The couple has also participated in a number of Rams Club capital projects.

As Ken and Cheryl were introduced to various members of the Carolina community, their connection to UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center evolved. Cheryl played a vital role in Lineberger’s Tickled Pink fundraising event, during which she became good friends with fellow volunteer Jean Durham and her husband, Woody, the legendary “Voice of the Tar Heels.” Soon after, Ken and Cheryl were asked to serve on the Board of Visitors. “I spent my professional career in pharmaceutical research,” said Ken, who retired as a senior vice president from Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services. “So I’ve always been interested in new, cutting-edge treatments and therapies. That’s one of the things UNC Lineberger is known for—being a world-class leader in cancer research—so Cheryl and I were very interested in finding a way we could support the cancer center’s mission. Also, we both have personally suffered loss due to cancer, so we’re passionate about the quest for cures.”

Cheryl’s mother died from breast cancer at the young age of 52, and Ken’s father died of mesothelioma. Then, in 2014, Ken’s mother was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). “We naturally brought her to Lineberger to be treated,” Ken said. “We were already impressed with UNC Lineberger from a philanthropic perspective, but when Cheryl and I experienced the organization from a caregiver’s viewpoint, we were sold.” His mother has since passed away, but Ken recalled that every person who played a role in her care was “so supportive and knowledgeable.”

“Their expertise, combined with the state-of-the-art facilities and technology, make UNC Lineberger a destination for cancer care,” he said.

Through the Ken and Cheryl Williams Fund for Venture Initiatives at UNC Lineberger, Ken and Cheryl decided to make the extraordinary gift of $10 million to fund cancer research initiatives that hold the greatest promise for cures. The gift is unrestricted, giving leaders of the cancer center the greatest flexibility to earmark the funds for emerging research opportunities that can make the greatest impact against cancer.

“We were already impressed with UNC Lineberger from a philanthropic perspective, but when Cheryl and I experienced the organization from a caregiver’s viewpoint, we were sold.”

Ken Williams

When Chancellor Carol Folt announced the gift at the UNC Lineberger Blue Ribbon Gala, she noted that this was the largest gift to date in the history of the cancer center. Ken was quick to remark that he hoped this particular record would not stand for long and challenged others to match and exceed it.

“Truthfully, the gift was a large part of our estate,” Ken said. “But after having made generous provisions for our loved ones, Cheryl and I felt strongly about putting the balance of our resources to work for a purpose that truly matters, and we can’t think of a better place to invest those resources than at UNC Lineberger. We have faith that researchers will eventually unlock the mysteries behind cancer, and there’s no reason those discoveries can’t be made right here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.”

Dr. Ned Sharpless, UNC Lineberger director, said the impact of the gift will be far-reaching. “This is a transformational gift for the cancer center. We are so proud to have Ken and Cheryl’s tremendous confidence and support in our fight to end cancer as we know it. The Williamses understand the urgency of our mission. This gift will save lives.”

Sean Kennedy Sean Kennedy at his graduation with Professor Nicholas Didow (Photo: Amanda Zaring)

Sean Kennedy

Making the grade and giving back

Carolina took a chance on Sean Kennedy ’16.

Before Carolina, Kennedy wore different hats. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where Friday nights were about football rivalries. During the summers, he worked for his family’s oil business as an oil filtration technician, helping recycle oil at a Ford Motor plant to decrease environmental impact and operating costs. But Kennedy didn’t see himself running the family business in the future and wanted to change his life trajectory, so he joined the Marine Corps.

After serving four years as a field radio operator at Camp Lejeune and a seven-month deployment to Kajaki, Afghanistan, he enrolled at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 2012.

When Kennedy arrived at Carolina in 2014, he didn’t expect what UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School had in store for him.

“At Carolina, they want you to know everything,” Kennedy said. He wasn’t used to the detailed assignments nor the heavy workload and expectations.

During his first five weeks in Chapel Hill he took an economics class in the summer. The routine was rigorous: wake up at 6 a.m., read in the Undergraduate Library before class, attend class, then back to Aycock Residence Hall to do homework until midnight. Even though he put in the time to study, his grades didn’t reflect it.

He hired a tutor who helped him to pass his class, although the C-plus he received set the tone of difficulty for the fall.

That fall, Kennedy took Professor Nicholas Didow’s marketing class in Kenan-Flagler Business School. When Kennedy failed two of the three exams in the course, he began to wonder if Carolina was for him.

“I want to set the example for other vets. We have the capacity, drive and determination to go into a four-year program and be successful. People want to see us succeed.”

Sean Kennedy

Maybe he could transfer, he thought.

Didow pulled him aside after the second exam.

“He said I could take a short-answer final test if that was the best way I could do well in the class,” Kennedy said.

On the day he took the final exam, his proctor handed him a multiple-choice test.

“I thought maybe [Didow] changed his mind,” Kennedy said.

After preparing for three days and staying up all night before, he received a B-minus on the final and passed the course. Interestingly, the proctor had given him the wrong exam. Support from mentors like Didow and Anna Millar, director of the business school’s undergraduate program, helped Kennedy decide to stay, ultimately changing his life forever.

Didow, a former Marine, helped Kennedy transition from military life to student life. He gave him the support and confidence to be successful at Carolina. Millar would bring Kennedy into her office to give him advice and recommendations for the future. She helped set the tone and introduced Kennedy to another veteran in the program at the time.

“The reason I give [back] is because I feel like Carolina took a chance on me. My grades weren’t typical of what they usually bring in. I was on the lower end, but I knew I could do it, and surely didn’t want to let down the people who took a chance on me,” Kennedy said.

He understands this wouldn’t have been possible without federal grants, G.I. benefits and the James McLean Scholarship from Kenan-Flagler, which helped him study abroad in Dubai for two weeks. These sources of financial aid compelled him to give back as a student and now, to Kenan-Flagler and the UNC College of Arts and Sciences.

“When you get out after being enlisted, it’s questionable as far as what to do [after that],” he said. “I want to set the example for other vets. We have the capacity, drive and determination to go into a four-year program and be successful. People want to see us succeed.”

Kennedy is now a consultant at Deloitte in Washington, D.C.

Impact Stories

Macdonald Scholars The first MacDonald Community Service Scholars: (L to R) Anish Bhatia, Maximiliano Flores-Palacios, Finn Loendorf and John Roberson (Photo: Contributed)

Rewarding an ethos of service

Inaugural MacDonald Community Service Scholars begin their work

Editor’s note: This story is based on a piece by Janell Smith

As the nation’s first public university, UNC embraces public service as central to its mission. A new scholarship is helping to make service an integral part of students’ academic experience, too.

Now in its second year, the MacDonald Community Service Scholarship provides tuition support to a select group of four students each year who have demonstrated a commitment to community service.

The scholarship, renewable for four years, also enables students to participate in a unique series of programs focused on increasing their knowledge and skills related to community service.

The inaugural scholars entered UNC in August 2015. They are: Anish Bhatia of New Hyde Park, New York; Maximiliano Flores-Palacios of Gastonia, North Carolina; Finn Loendorf of Stanley, North Carolina; and John Roberson of Durham, North Carolina.

“I never saw myself as someone who really went out of their way for community service,”  Leondorf said. “And I certainly never thought it could lead to something as exciting as the MacDonald Community Service Scholarship.”

Leondorf completed an APPLES service-learning internship with the Campus Y during summer 2016. Duties included recruiting efforts for Y programs during orientation sessions, and helping out with the Gap Year Fellows and CUBE Social Innovation programs.

Leondorf plans to lead an APPLES alternative winter break trip to Charlotte, to focus on violence prevention.

In addition to getting tuition support, MacDonald Scholars enroll in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program, which helps them develop their portfolios and skills related to community service. They join the First-Year Service Corps and complete 100 hours of service in their first year at Carolina alone.

All MacDonald Scholars will complete at least 1,000 hours of service during their four years at Carolina. They also will receive training, mentorship and support in pursuing their particular public service interests.

“Engaging in one’s community betters that community.”

Max Flores-Palacios

Anish Bhatia was recently accepted to the GLOBE (Global Learning Opportunities in Business Education) program through Kenan-Flagler Business School. He joins a cohort of 54 students from UNC, Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Copenhagen Business School to study in an integrated program that focuses on leadership and management.

“While I have always perceived public service as an external means of helping others in need,” Bhatia said, “I, too, have benefited from activity within the community.”

In their third year, Bhatia and the other three inaugural MacDonald Scholars will become MacDonald Community Fellows through the MacDonald Community Fellowship. They will create individual public service projects and receive funding to implement the project. Their unique service projects will be completed by the time they graduate.

Though this seems like a tall order, these students are not intimidated by the scholarship requirements.

“Ultimately, public service is an investment,” Max Flores-Palacios said. “Engaging in one’s community betters that community; not only for ourselves but also for future generations and I think that is what public service is about—building on our communities so that future generations can live in greater harmony.”

Dean Smith (Photo: Contributed)

Scott MacDonald: Donors ‘can make the world a better place in their name’

Scott MacDonald ’72 (M.R.P.) is blunt about his prospects as a young man.

“I came from a poor family, I worked my way through school, and was further helped by financial aid,” he said. “I was able to go to UNC-Chapel Hill, but I never had any money.”

His undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his master’s degree from Carolina have served him well. “If you are successful, you have an obligation to pay it back,” he said. “As I became successful and had funds that I didn’t need to live on, I wanted to pay it back and to help others. That’s my philosophy. When you can afford it, you pay it back. I wanted to give back to UNC.”

In this spirit, MacDonald created the MacDonald Community Service Scholarships at Carolina, as well as similar programs at Indiana University and at Davidson College, where his two sons earned their degrees. He wants to inspire a movement of students getting tuition assistance in exchange for performing community service work while working toward their degrees.

“My goal is to have every university in the United States incorporate some sort of community engagement scholarship—it may be called something different at each school,” he said. “The idea is, a student gets financial aid and engages in community service to help others in need. I think that should be a fundamental aspect of financial aid in American universities. I think donors should give money so that kids can make the world a better place in their name.

“UNC has always been a leader in community engagement and outreach. I hope there are over 100 community service scholars at UNC someday.”

If interested in creating a community service scholarship at UNC, contact Terri Hegeman at 919-962-4385 /

Sarah Long Sarah Long (Photo: Linda Kastleman)

Following her benefactors’ lead

Graduate fellowship in public health supports dreams to affect change

Chen-Yu Yen ’83 (Ph.D.) and his wife, Ray-Whay, left their native Taiwan for the Triangle in 1975 to pursue their educational dreams and to create a better world.

Then, as today, UNC and the surrounding area offered top-notch educational opportunities. A teaching assistantship gave Chen-Yu the chance to work with renowned chemists at Carolina; a research position at N.C. State enabled Ray-Whay to study in the genetics department.

Now, Chen-Yu serves as president and CEO of TerraSure, a company that remediates contaminated properties, and Ray-Whay is a researcher at Johns Hopkins University. They still share dreams to better the world.

Their success and generosity will enable another generation to pursue dreams and affect change, to learn and succeed at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health through the Chen-Yu and Ray-Whay Yen Expendable Graduate Fellowship.

“We envision a world in which talented, educated people can become better stewards for our planet,” Chen-Yu said.

The inaugural recipient, Sarah Long, is following the Yens’ lead. She’s working toward a dual master’s degree in environmental sciences and engineering, and city and regional planning. For six years prior to enrolling at UNC, Long, a civil and environmental engineer, helped to build water treatment systems in Honduras and India.

“I’m really interested in combining my technical and engineering work with more planning and methodology in working with communities and strengthening them,” Long said.

With her research, she aims to improve water sanitation and hygiene policy and governance in low-income areas, thereby helping to create economic power and autonomy in those communities.

yens Chen-Yu and Ray-Whay Yen in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the 1970s (Photo: Contributed)

For the Yens, creating the fellowship was also about repaying the kindness of the many who made their educations possible. Financial aid is imperative for many graduate students. Without the fellowship, Sarah Long would have only enrolled in a year-long master’s program, but instead she’s pursuing a three-year dual degree. The Yens couldn’t have studied in the U.S. without financial help, and that help at times seemed like the least of their worries.

“I thought I knew English well until I was confronted with the Southern drawl,” said Chen-Yu, reflecting on his first days in North Carolina.

In addition to facing the cultural challenges of a new language, neither of the Yens had driven a car, and at the time, a car was the only way to get from his place in Chapel Hill to hers in Raleigh. But with the support of friends, they learned to drive, got driver’s licenses and bought a car. When their son was born in 1979, their friends helped again, enrolling them in the Women, Infants and Children program.

When Chen-Yu’s research interests changed to environmental sciences and engineering, an area in which he felt he could make a real difference, new challenges arose. A clerical error in the process of changing majors and his assistantship put his student work visa in jeopardy. And Carolina faculty researchers were there to find him a research position to keep him and his talent at UNC.

“We envision a world in which talented, educated people can become better stewards for our planet.”

Chen-Yu Yen

Long recognized that collaborative culture when she attended the Water Institute at UNC’s annual Water and Health Conference as a practitioner, and she is enjoying it as a student and as a research assistant. She is part of teams that are working to help communities, locally and abroad.

Forty years after the Yens first came to Chapel Hill, the UNC community is still collaborative, committed to nurturing future researchers and resolute in its work to better the world. And thanks to the Yens, that culture endures.

“It was our fortune to be on the receiving end in our early lives,” Chen-Yu said. “I believe we should give back when we have the resources to do so.”

Cristy First Program Dr. Cristen Page with FIRST Scholars Kyle Melvin, Thane Campbell and Thomas D’Angelo

Accelerating toward service

One-of-a-kind program prepares family physicians to practice in underserved communities

The inaugural class of the UNC School of Medicine’s Fully Integrated Readiness for Service Training (FIRST) Program began its training in April 2016.

The FIRST Program enables participants to complete their M.D. in three years and—subject to academic and performance standards—includes the opportunity for placement in the UNC Family Medicine Residency Program, which is ranked second nationally by U.S. News & World Report. After completing residency training, graduates commit to three years of practice in an underserved area of North Carolina.

“This opportunity is truly one-of-a-kind,” said Dr. Cristen Page, FIRST program director. “We know that other states have successfully used accelerated programs to address the critical shortage of primary care physicians, but none include the full pipeline from medical school to residency to primary care service in underserved communities.”

The first class of three students is comprised of Thane Campbell, Thomas D’Angelo and Kyle Melvin. They were chosen on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to family medicine, service to vulnerable populations in North Carolina, outstanding academic accomplishments and leadership skills.

“As someone who grew up in this state, I’m incredibly humbled by the opportunity to serve North Carolina in such a direct and meaningful way,” Melvin said.

Page emphasizes that the program will be tailored to meet the needs of FIRST Program scholars with a focus on primary care and care of the underserved. “I think of this as an enhanced medical school experience, not just accelerated,” said Page, who is also interim chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

As part of that enhanced experience, students will receive hands-on clinical training early in the program while also benefitting from mentorship opportunities and a close integration with the UNC Family Medicine Residency Program.

“As someone who grew up in this state, I’m incredibly humbled by the opportunity to serve North Carolina in such a direct and meaningful way.”

Kyle Melvin

Dr. Catherine Coe, a second-year family medicine resident, will serve as the program’s resident liaison.

“We hope to foster an environment that the students can call home for the duration of this program,” Coe said. “We are all looking forward to serving as mentors for this first class and hope we can inspire them. I’m sure we will also learn a lot from Thane, Thomas and Kyle.”

This program is a partnership between the UNC Department of Family Medicine, the N.C. Office of Rural Health and Community Care, North Carolina Area Health Education Centers, UNC Physicians Network, Piedmont Health Services and the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians. The program receives funding support from The Duke Endowment. In addition to Page and Coe, Dr. Beat Steiner, assistant dean for clinical education, serves as the FIRST Program’s associate director.

Discussions are already under way to expand the program in the coming years both to add more scholars and to collaborate with other campuses across North Carolina.

About the first FIRST Scholars

As an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, Thane Campbell volunteered at a health clinic in Nicaragua. After graduation, he spent two years working with families at a Latino community center in Winston-Salem. “The whole reason I want to go into medicine is to care for patients, and so the opportunity to make my early medical education more patient-oriented is extremely exciting.”

Thomas D’Angelo has experience with patient care in underserved communities from his years as a hospice nurse. He has also earned a master of fine arts in writing from the Art Institute of Chicago and has written two novels. “When I first heard about this program, I knew it was perfect for me. The chance to have a more apprentice-like experience will enhance my medical training and deepen my understanding of the nuances of patient care.”

Kyle Melvin is a graduate of UNC, where he received a bachelor’s degree in biology and another in religious studies with a minor in Spanish for health professions. He grew up in Beaver Dam, North Carolina, a small community near Fayetteville. “I’ve felt an immediate connection to everyone involved in the program. They all have such a passion for this work, and as a student, it’s extremely encouraging to know that everyone is supporting and cheering for us.”

BeAM Student telescope-makers were inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night but added the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower for a Tar Heel twist. (Photo: Kristen Chavez)

Making spaces for making stuff

Telescope-building class among ‘BeAM’ initiatives

To see the stars, sometimes you have to start in the basement.

About 20 Carolina students, with majors including biology, Russian languages and studio art, came together in fall 2015 to build a telescope in a “makerspace” in the basement of Hanes Art Center. They were there participating in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences’ Be a Maker (BeAM) initiative—thanks in part to a Carolina Parents Council grant.

The grant helped fund Maker-In-Residence Jim Pressley, an amateur astronomer with the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS), who guided the students through the telescope-building project.

Originally, the telescope was going to be painted a solid Carolina blue, but the designers were inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night and re-created his night sky. They added the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower for a Tar Heel twist.

The project culminated in a sky-watching party outside the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Makers joined CHAOS astronomers and invited the public to view the moon and stars. The telescope is now housed in the Kenan Science Library and available for other students to check out and use for their own stargazing.

“What’s new is to create a community of makers.”

Rich Superfine

The Hanes Art Center makerspace is one of three that comprise the campus BeAM network. The others are in Murray Hall and Kenan Science Library.

“We see making as a cross-cutting activity that has always happened across campus,” said Rich Superfine, the Taylor Williams Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. “What’s new is to create a community of makers.”

At 3,500 square feet, the Murray Hall makerspace is the network’s largest and serves as its central hub. It includes fully equipped rooms for woodworking, metalworking, digital fabrication and more.

In addition to holding workshops for students on topics such as 3-D design, laser cutting and wireless networking, the Murray Hall makerspace is being used by professors to teach specific lessons in classes ranging from biomedical engineering to sociology.

The art of “making” bridges interdisciplinary boundaries and champions the teamwork necessary for ambitious and complex projects.

Biologist Kriti Sharma researches soil microorganisms. The availability of the 3-D printers in the Kenan Science Library allowed the Ph.D. candidate to create a customized device to study bacteria in the soil and under microscopes.

Sharma agrees that making is nothing new—whether it’s to solve a problem or to create something beautiful. “It’s a fairly ordinary human activity. Long before I even entered science, I was already doing it.”

About the Carolina Parents Council

The Carolina Parents Council is the leadership arm of the Carolina Parents Association, representing the needs of undergraduate students and families. The council focuses on encouraging interaction between family members and the University by supporting programs offered by the Office of New Student & Carolina Parent Programs and Student Affairs. The council also provides grant funding for programs that directly benefit undergraduate students through its signature Carolina Parents Council Grant program.

Fearrington Florence Fearrington in Wilson Library’s grand reading room, which will be renamed in her honor (Photo: Mark B. Perry Jr.)

Gifts to UNC Libraries make history, preserve history

Historic amount, transformative impact

Florence Fearrington gives $5 million to Wilson Special Collections Library

Louis Round Wilson once wrote, “The library is not a side issue, but rather the pulsing heart of the University.” The heart of the UNC library bearing his name will beat strongly for generations to come, thanks to alumna Florence Fearrington.

A 1958 UNC graduate, Fearrington made the largest gift ever—$5 million—to Carolina’s libraries to support the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. In recognition, Wilson’s grand reading room will be renamed the Fearrington Reading Room.

Fearrington earmarked $1 million of her gift to help update the Fearrington Reading Room and adjacent exhibition areas. The remaining $4 million will create the Fearrington Special Collections Library Fund. The University librarian and the director of the Louis Round Wilson Library will use income from this endowment to meet emerging needs and pursue opportunities that will benefit Carolina students and enhance the work of researchers.

“Florence’s gift goes beyond merely sustaining the collections,” said University Librarian Sarah Michalak. “We use the word transformative quite a lot these days. Having the Fearrington Special Collections Library Fund will lead to transformative new directions in special collections and in the research they inspire. The director of Wilson Library will be able to fund new collections, drive their use, and innovate so that students and scholars well into the future can make new discoveries and build new understanding.”

The Fearrington gift will help lay the groundwork for the first major refurbishment of the grand reading room since a three-year renovation to Wilson Library in 1984-1987.

The Wilson Special Collections Library is home to the University Library’s five special collections: the North Carolina Collection, the Rare Book Collection, the Southern Folklife Collection, the Southern Historical Collection, and the University Archives and Records Management Services.

“Having the Fearrington Special Collections Library Fund will lead to transformative new directions in special collections and in the research they inspire.”

Sarah Michalak

Fearrington grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and graduated from UNC with a degree in mathematics. Unable to attend business school at the University, as the program did not yet admit women, she earned a certificate from the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business in 1961 and made her name in the male-dominated world of New York finance. In 1979, she established and ran Florence Fearrington Inc., a highly successful money management firm.

In 1997, Fearrington sold the company to U.S. Trust and, inspired by her husband’s passion for collecting rare books, she began collecting them as well. In 2012, she curated an exhibition of her books about “Wunderkammer” (cabinets of curiosity) at The Grolier Club in New York City. She later developed a version of the exhibition for Wilson Library in 2014.

In addition to her $5 million gift supporting the Wilson Special Collections Library, Fearrington has given to the Rare Book Collection and established the Joseph Peyton Fearrington and James Cornelius Pass Fearrington Fund at the Health Sciences Library to honor her grandfather and father. Both received certificate of medicine degrees from Carolina (in 1885 and 1927), and her father also received a bachelor’s degree in 1921.

She was honored in 2016 as a UNC Distinguished Alumna for her pioneering career in finance and her achievements as a collector of rare books.

Chaitra Powell Chaitra Powell in Southern Historical Collection reading room (Photo: Brian Johnson)

'I was here. Don’t forget me.'

Challenge grant supports UNC’s responsibility to an inclusive historical record

“I was here. Don’t forget me.”

Those six words distill the importance of archives. It’s a simple request from someone at a point in the past. It’s a request to be remembered, but more important, it’s a prayer for that person’s words to somehow benefit us in the present and future.

Chaitra Powell, the African American Collections and Outreach Archivist at the Southern Historical Collection (SHC) in the University Libraries, didn’t come up with those words when a conference moderator prompted attendees for a six-word response of why archives matter; she humbly gives credit to a friend and fellow archivist. But she carries those words with her every day.

“That’s the whole role of archives,” she said.

At Carolina, Powell has been charged with helping African Americans curate their own archives, empowering them to preserve their histories in their authentic voices.

Since its founding in 1930, the SHC has become one of the preeminent memory institutions for the American South, containing more than 20 million items in 5,000 distinct collections. But many archives haven’t always welcomed diverse perspectives. The African American experience is imperative to understanding the history of the American South.

“It’s great fun, as you can imagine, to think about better ways to serve people.”

Bryan Giemza

In recent years, Carolina has committed to building a more inclusive historical record. The SHC is home to important African American collections, which include the papers of former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt; the papers of Howard Lee, Chapel Hill mayor from 1969-1975 and the first African American mayor of a predominantly white Southern city; the poetry of George Moses Horton, an enslaved man and the first African American to be published in the South; the diary of UNC’s first African American female student, Karen Parker; and more.

And the work of the African American Collections and Outreach Archivist position seeks to include even more diverse voices.

That commitment led the National Endowment for the Humanities to issue a challenge grant in 2016. If Carolina raises $1.5 million by July 2020, the NEH will provide funding to create a $2 million endowment that will generate annual funds to sustain Powell’s work well into the future. To date, the Kenan Charitable Trust and Borden and Ann Hanes have made $400,000 and $100,000 commitments, respectively, to ensure this challenge grant succeeds and to preserve African American voices.

Already Powell and her colleagues are focused on outreach and what are known as “community-driven archives.” Community-driven archives rethink traditional, institution-based archives where an archivist decides what materials contain enough cultural and historical value to bring under the institution’s roof. They instead empower collectives of people—united by place or culture or religious affiliation or any number of attributes—to curate their own archives in their own voices.

The SHC has cultivated these kinds of archives in partnership with the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance (HBTSA), a collective of historically black towns in the South. They have helped HBTSA members to preserve manuscripts, photographs, oral histories and artifacts in independent, self-sustaining archives. And those towns’ citizens are beginning to understand the value of their archival materials. Ultimately, these archives will help publicly celebrate town histories and generate cultural tourism—while treating participants as partners as opposed to historical subjects.

“It’s great fun, as you can imagine, to think about better ways to serve people,” said SHC Director Bryan Giemza.

But creating a community-driven archive requires significant creativity and resources. Few people have ventured down this path, even fewer established institutions. But this is Carolina’s and Powell’s day-in-and-day-out charge. To lead this type of work. To include diverse voices, which are often hidden or absent, in archives.

“This is critical to our work,” said Giemza. “It’s critical to honoring the histories of the people we’ve pledged to serve.”

Contact Dwain Teague at 919-962-3437/ to learn about making a gift to help meet the National Endowment for the Humanities challenge.

WonderSphereKatie Stoudemire sits in the UNC Children’s Hospital atrium with the WonderSphere. (Photo: Alyssa LaFaro)

World of wonder

The NCBG’s Katie Stoudemire brings the outdoors inside, making nature safe for children with compromised immune systems

Editor’s note: This story is based on a piece that originally appeared in endeavors.

Hordes of butterflies dance around blooming flowers to the beat of the buzzing cicadas. A firefly lightshow floods the spaces between trees. An unlucky ant meanders into the jaws of a Venus fly trap. There’s nothing more beautiful, or alive, than the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) in summer—but not everyone gets to experience its wonders. Katie Stoudemire is changing that.

Stoudemire leads the garden’s Wonder Connection program, which brings native North Carolina plants to kids at the UNC Children’s Hospital. She can often be found at the UNC Hospital School, which provides year-round PreK-12 educational services to school-age patients. While some young patients visit the school to conduct science experiments with Wonder Connection, others can’t even leave their rooms for fear of compromising their immune systems.

After observing the beds in the neonatal intensive care unit one day, Stoudemire wondered: “What if, instead of putting the kid in the bubble, we could put the plant in a bubble?” From that, she developed the concept for the WonderSphere—a sealed, mobile chamber with built-in gloves that enables hospitalized children to touch nature without danger of infection.

After receiving two $25,000 grants—one from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and another from the Institute of Museum and Library Science—Stoudemire worked with the Bresslergroup to build the WonderSphere. The result was a clear dome that rests on a base surrounded by clasps to keep it sealed. Three portals feature teal, built-in gloves (two for the child and one for a parent or sibling to assist the child).

“It’s great to have professional validation for the [WonderSphere], but really the biggest reward is watching a kid get to use it.”

Katie Stoudemire

“We set the dome on their hospital tray, and then they’re able to slip their hands in and interact with a variety of objects,” Stoudemire explained. “We give them a magnifying glass, and there’s also a little tray inside that rotates so they can move things around easily.” Kids have the option to observe Venus fly traps and caterpillars, dissect pitcher plants, and make flower arrangements.

In May 2016, the WonderSphere won Core77 Design’s Social Impact Award, given annually to projects that benefit social, humanitarian, community or environmental causes. “It’s great to have professional validation for the [WonderSphere],” Stoudemire said, “but really the biggest reward is watching a kid get to use it.”

The next iteration of the WonderSphere is Hippoie Creek—a miniature creek exhibit that sits atop a mobile hospital cart. The reproduction is layered with epoxy to prevent bacteria growth and uses recirculated water filtered to the specifications of the hospital’s epidemiology department. Kids can play with individual rocks within the creek to divert the flow of the water, as well as replicas of aquatic insects to learn about waterbody ecosystems.

“Magnets on the bottom of some of the rocks will hold the insects in place,” Stoudemire said. “We can use these tools to conduct a bioindicator stream study with middle- and high-school students. The bugs in a stream can tell scientists a lot about a creek’s ecological health.”

The creek inherited its name from a stuffed animal named “Hippoie,” which belonged to a former patient of Stoudemire’s. “Hippoie got lost in the hospital laundry—which is scary, because when toys get into the laundry here they rarely make it back to their owners,” she explained. “Well, Hippoie came back. I really like the concept of finding something you’ve lost. A lot of the kids here have lost touch with nature, and I want to help them find it again.”

For those interested in learning more about the Wonder Connection program and donations, contact Katie Stoudemire at or 919-914-0015.

Lenovo Ten students were the first UNC-Lenovo Tech World Global Interns. (Photo: Contributed)

Building buzz for Lenovo

UNC student interns contribute to company’s most successful social media engagement event

In the spring of 2016, 10 UNC students contributed to a record-breaking public relations and social media performance around Lenovo’s signature technology showcase event—Tech World—via internships with stops in San Francisco, Beijing and Lenovo’s U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The students were the first to participate in the innovative UNC-Lenovo Tech World Global Intern Program, a brand new initiative inspired by a dinner meeting in Beijing between Chancellor Carol Folt and Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yuanqing Yang in January 2016.

The program was quickly brought to life by Susan King, dean of the UNC School of Media and Journalism, and school alumnus Jeff Shafer, the vice president of global corporate communications for Lenovo, and their teams. It builds on the close working relationship between the school and Lenovo that has included student, faculty and staff visits to Beijing over the past several years. Five of the 10 inaugural interns came from the school.

Shafer, who serves on the school’s Board of Advisers, was instrumental in establishing the partnership and securing $50,000 to pay travel, lodging and stipends for the interns in addition to compensation from Lenovo for the paid internships. He called 2016 Tech World the single biggest and most successful event ever from a public relations and social media standpoint for Lenovo.

“[The interns] brought great energy and enthusiasm, but moreover, great work, performance, contributions and results.”

Jeff Shafer

“Our brilliant team of interns from UNC had a huge impact,” he said. “They brought great energy and enthusiasm, but moreover, great work, performance, contributions and results.”

Along with the School of Media and Journalism, students came from units across campus, including business, information and library science, computer science, and English. The students worked primarily on social media, video, logistics, data analytics, event management and press releases for the event. Each intern was assigned at least one dedicated mentor to guide them through the entire internship experience.

For his part, Will Schoeffler—a double major in advertising and media production in the School of Media and Journalism—worked with Lenovo’s global social media content manager on a “global road trip” pre-event campaign to build buzz. He and another intern, English/psychology major Bonnie Meyer, drove a Tech World-branded Jeep mounted with GoPro cameras from Raleigh to San Francisco, creating video content for social media during stops along the way.

“I learned a ton that will help my career, and I had some amazing life experiences,” he said.

The global road trip campaign generated 1.9 million social media engagements and 6.3 million video views via YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Interns also supported Lenovo’s first ever Snapchat campaign and generated nearly 40,000 views. The students were part of the effort that drew more than 10,000 pieces of press coverage and saw a Lenovo product, Moto Z, trend worldwide on Twitter. Overall, Tech World 2016 became Lenovo’s No. 1 all-time 30-day social media engagement event—topping last year’s Tech World event by 60 percent.

“The UNC interns had a tangible impact on our ability to deliver on all of this,” Shafer said.

The students also drew the attention of Lenovo CEO Yang, who gave them a shout-out on Twitter and complimented their work. “This was a great program,” he said. “We should do more with UNC. We should engage more. We should try to hire them.”



scholarship funds created


scholarship funds total


fellowship funds created


fellowship funds total


professorships created


professorships total

Distribution of professorships created in FY 2016

  • 1 College of Arts and Sciences
  • 1 Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • 4 School of Medicine

Commitments by Area*

  • academic affairs - $151.4 million (30%)
  • health affairs - $198.1 million (40%)
  • athletics - $62.8 million (13%)
  • other - $82.9 million (17%)

*Dollar amounts rounded to nearest $100,000

Commitments by Purpose*

  • research - $176.5 million (36%)
  • programming - $216.6 million (44%)
  • faculty support - $24.2 million (5%)
  • student support - $58 million (12%)
  • capital - $20 million (4%)

*Dollar amounts rounded to nearest $100,000

Commitments: Current, Endowment and Capital*

  • current - $281.6 million (57%)
  • endowment - $194 million (39%)
  • capital - $19.7 million (4%)

*Dollar amounts rounded to nearest $100,000


  • alumni - 39,166 (58%)
  • students - 401 (1%)
  • faculty/staff - 1,039 (2%)
  • friends - 22,683 (33%)
  • parents - 1,694 (3%)
  • corporations - 1,474 (2%)
  • foundations and trusts - 696 (1%)
  • other organizations - 596 (1%)

*Donors of cash gifts; does not include Educational Foundation donors

Sources of Revenue*

  • sales and services (30.6%)
  • government grants and contracts (25.3%)
  • gifts, private grants and investment income (8.6%)
  • state appropriations (18.1%)
  • tuition and fees (14.9%)
  • other (2.5%)

*Unaudited; percentages rounded to nearest 10th

Commitment Totals: FY 2007 - FY 2016

in millions



Fiscal Year 2016: July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016

  • UNC received $495.3 million in commitments in fiscal year 2016 (concluding June 30, 2016) from nearly 68,000 donors, marking the school’s best fundraising year in history and eclipsing fiscal year 2015’s previous record of $447 million by nearly $50 million. Commitments include pledges as well as gifts.
  • In gifts and grants, Carolina secured $312.5 million, also a record. This type of support is immediately available to the University.
  • Contributions from 12 donors of $5 million or more accounted for $139 million of the $495.3 million commitments total, with support ranging from student financial aid and merit scholarships to cancer care and library support.
  • Commitments helped the University create six endowed professorships, as well as 52 undergraduate scholarships and 32 graduate fellowship funds.

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Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge raises funds for Morehead-Cain and Carolina Covenant

A $40 million commitment from an anonymous donor, which included $20 million for two of Carolina’s signature scholarship programs—the Morehead-Cain and the Carolina Covenant.

The gift is designed as a $20 million match challenge to raise additional funds for merit and need-based scholarships. Running through October 2017, the Give for Good: Scholarship Challenge is structured as tandem $10 million matches—one benefitting the Covenant and the other Morehead-Cain Scholarships—to remove barriers to a world-class Carolina education. (Learn more.)

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Couple supports leading-edge research at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

A $10 million commitment from Ken and Cheryl Williams to create the Ken and Cheryl Williams Fund for Venture Initiatives at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the state’s only public comprehensive cancer center.

The commitment will support promising, leading-edge cancer research and enable the center’s leadership to make timely investments in emerging, high-impact areas of cancer research. The couple have been longtime supporters of the University. Ken received his master’s degree from what is now the Gillings School of Global Public Health in 1970, and his doctorate in 1976. He served as senior vice president of Quintiles, a contract research company headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, before retiring. Both have been active donors and volunteers with the Educational Foundation and Lineberger Board of Visitors. (Learn more.)

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School of Information and Library Science receives largest commitment in school history

A commitment from Charles B. Lowry (M.S.L.S. ’74) and Marcia Duncan Lowry to establish the Duncan-Lowry Deanship at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS).

This latest commitment, an addition to a documented planned gift in 2012, is the largest in the school’s history and the first at Carolina to be designated for a deanship. Charles Lowry, a SILS Distinguished Alumnus and Board of Visitors member, was inspired to make the gift by his friend and mentor, former SILS Dean Edward Holley, who advocated the philosophy of doing things “for the good of the order.” He also cited his and Marcia’s experiences as fundraisers for the academic institutions where Charles previously held leadership roles.

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Grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. helps under-resourced communities

A $1.05 million grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., to the Center for Community Capital (CCC) to support the development of innovative strategies and solutions to help under-resourced communities become more vibrant and economically inclusive across the nation.

CCC researchers will create an “Opportunity Index,” and develop new models for increasing financial capability and innovative technologies to deliver financial services.

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School of Media and Journalism launches research center funded by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

A $3 million commitment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to the School of Media and Journalism to launch a research center to explore new models for community news and support the testing and development of innovative digital media products for local news sites.

The school’s Knight Chairs, Penny Abernathy and JoAnn Sciarrino, will expand their digital media economics and marketing research, which focuses on finding patterns and strategies to better sustain legacy news organizations and digital startups in the 21st century. The research center will further allow the school to build upon its work developing new digital tools and products that can help reporters and editors be more effective and nimble in the newsroom.

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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports arts, diversity in humanities doctoral degrees

A four-year, $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Carolina Performing Arts to launch and develop the DisTIL (Discovery Through Iterative Learning) Fellowship program.

The grant builds on the success of the Mellon Foundation-funded Arts@TheCore initiative from 2012, which emphasized the role of faculty in a university-based performing arts presenting program. The fellowship will support four artists who are active thought leaders in their fields and who aim to work across disciplines in a university setting. Fellows will be embedded in an academic unit to experiment and evolve in new directions.

A second Mellon grant of $1 million will support the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP), a national program that aims to diversify the pool of students pursuing doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts. The grant builds on previous Mellon Foundation support for the program and will fund MURAP through September 2019.

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Gift to School of Social Work boosts student aid, junior faculty and innovation

A $1 million gift from Prudence F. and Peter J. Meehan to the School of Social Work to support student scholarships, assist in the recruitment and retention of promising junior faculty, and fund new innovation initiatives to meet emerging needs in the field.

The gift, among the largest in the school’s history, will enable Carolina to advance its efforts to address pressing problems among some of society’s most vulnerable, starting in North Carolina. At least $150,000 of the gift will expand scholarships for master of social work students as part of an existing Meehan Scholarship Endowment. Another $500,000 will endow the Prudence F. and Peter J. Meehan Early Career Professorship to support assistant and associate professors. The remaining $350,000 will fund innovative projects or partnerships that align with the school’s strategic goals.

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New undergraduate scholarship/fellowship enables students to pursue public service

A commitment from alumnus Scott D. MacDonald to support undergraduate students dedicated to public service.

His gift has a dual purpose, creating the Scott D. MacDonald Community Service Scholarships in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid as well as the Scott D. MacDonald Community Service Fellowship Program in the Carolina Center for Public Service. MacDonald Community Service Scholarships will provide tuition support to select students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service. The awards also provide resources to increase the students’ related knowledge and skills. As third-year students, MacDonald Scholars and potentially other community service scholars will become eligible for Scott D. MacDonald Community Fellowships. The fellowship program will provide monetary support enabling students to work with faculty and staff to identify and implement a signature, experience-based public service project. (Learn more.)

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Bequest establishes distinguished professorships in College of Arts and Sciences

A bequest estimated at $7.5 million from an anonymous donor to establish three or more distinguished professorships in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The donor, a longtime supporter of the college, directed his gift to create professorships in the departments of communications and history, two of the largest academic departments at Carolina. Endowed professorships help recruit or retain outstanding faculty by providing salary support and research funding. Professorships funded at $2 million or more provide the most flexibility and are especially needed as competition increases nationwide for top faculty.

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Historic gift names grand reading room in Wilson Library

A $5 million gift from alumna Florence Fearrington to the University Libraries in support of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library.

The gift is the largest ever made to Carolina’s libraries. In recognition, the grand reading room in Wilson Library will be renamed the Fearrington Reading Room. Fearrington was honored as a Distinguished Alumna at the 2016 University Day convocation on Oct. 11, for her pioneering career in finance and her achievements as a collector of rare books. $1 million of the gift is earmarked to help update the Fearrington Reading Room and adjacent exhibition areas. The remaining $4 million will create the Fearrington Special Collections Library Fund to help meet emerging needs and pursue opportunities that will benefit Carolina students and enhance the work of researchers. (Learn more.)

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State’s Native communities, counties benefit from Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust grants

A $386,082 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to the American Indian Center to strengthen programming aimed at preventing obesity and chronic disease among the state’s Native communities.

The grant will support the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network (HNNC), a center initiative that leverages common goals and resources to promote “Healthy Eating and Active Living” practices in North Carolina’s tribes and urban Indian organizations. The grant builds on previous support from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust for HNNC, which launched in 2011. The funding will enable HNNC to reach 65,000 Native people.

A second Reynolds grant of $192,265 to the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH)—the service and outreach arm of the Gillings School of Global Public Health—will help neighboring Edgecombe and Nash counties in eastern North Carolina use data analysis and visualization to enhance public health programs, reduce duplicate efforts and more efficiently serve their populations. NCIPH will gather community-level data and develop easy-to-understand data products to improve community health.

Board of Trustees

The following is a list of UNC Board of Trustees members who served during fiscal year 2016.

  • Dwight D. Stone (Chair)
  • Haywood D. Cochrane (Vice Chair)
  • Charles G. Duckett (Secretary)
  • Jefferson W. Brown
  • PW. Lowry Caudill
  • Donald Williams Curtis
  • Julia Sprunt Grumbles
  • Kelly Matthews Hopkins
  • William A. Keyes IV
  • Allie Ray McCullen
  • William E. McMahan
  • Hari H. Nath
  • Houston Summers (Student Body President)