The new $39 million global education building under construction on the western edge of the campus will be named for FedEx Corp. in recognition of a $5 million gift from the company announced Tuesday. Its name will be the FedEx Global Education Center.
The facility – roughly the size of the Undergraduate Library – is designed to bring various international activities under one roof. Construction began in November 2004 on a lot at Pittsboro and McCauley streets near the School of Social Work. Plans for the building, which is scheduled to be dedicated in March 2007, were detailed in the November/December 2004 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review‘s Structures department; the article is available online.
The N.C. Higher Education Bond Referendum, approved in 2000, generated $22.5 million for the building. Private gifts, including the one from FedEx, are expected to total $7.5 million. University nonappropriated receipts also are being used toward project costs.
Chancellor James Moeser announced the gift with Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp., in Washington, D.C., at an event releasing a new study titled, “The Power of Access.” This study was conducted by SRI International, commissioned by FedEx and ranked 75 countries, based on their level of access to goods, services and information.
“As the most international of companies, FedEx is a strong strategic fit for UNC-Chapel Hill because we intend to be among the most international of universities,” Moeser said. “The new building FedEx is supporting gives Carolina a tremendous opportunity to showcase our international assets, advance our internationalization efforts and make a statement to the state, nation and world that we are seriously committed to global education and engagement.”
FedEx, which operates in more than 200 countries and territories, is planning to build a hub in Greensboro, representing a major investment in North Carolina.
“This gift is part of a broader commitment by FedEx to North Carolina, its people and its economy,” Smith said. “The building directly aligns with our interests in advancing education and academic programs in the international arena and will help the University in its efforts to enhance North Carolina’s ability to thrive in a global economy.”
The naming of the building for FedEx was approved by the Chancellor’s Committee on Naming University Facilities and Activities, whose members are faculty and staff, as well as the UNC Board of Trustees.
It will be the first to feature a corporate name prominently. The University’s Molecular Biology Research Laboratories building was built in 1988 at the initiation of the pharmaceutical company Glaxo, which wanted to have a relationship with international-stature molecular biologists at UNC. The company made plans to build a facility in the Research Triangle Park, and in the interim Glaxo would build a building on the campus that later would revert to UNC ownership. According to UNC facilities services records, the building was built primarily with state and campus money.
The Carolina Cardiovascular Biology Center’s Web site refers to the building as Glaxo Research Laboratories. It still often is called “the Glaxo building.”
The campus also is home to a large lab built in 1995 by the Environmental Protection Agency. All other campus buildings carry the names of individual poeople or geographic designations (such as South Building).
The FedEx gift counts toward the Carolina First Campaign, the private fundraising campaign under way that has a goal to raise $2 billion by Dec. 31, 2007, to support Carolina. The goal, which originally was $1.8 billion when the campaign began in July 1999, was revised last October. Officials at that time said the major thrusts of the higher goal would be faculty support, student merit-based scholarships and capital projects, areas that Moeser said ranked as Carolina’s most pressing priorities. They also represent the keys to keeping the University competitive with its peers, he said.
Moeser has designated 2007 as a year of international focus for UNC. The global education building dedication will launch a yearlong series of programs, conferences and activities that will emphasize the University’s increasing focus on internationalization.
Carolina is seen as a leader in students studying abroad. Other initiatives include collaborations with the National University of Singapore (NUS), which Moeser visited last year. The College of Arts and Sciences and NUS are developing an international joint undergraduate degree program that is believed to be among the first of its kind for UNC’s peer campuses.
“The global education building is where our students will learn that the world is as close as their doorstep,” said Peter Coclanis, associate provost for international affairs who was profiled in the Carolina Alumni Review in January/February 2004.
“What is exciting is how our new relationship with FedEx is about much more than bricks and mortar. It opens up all sorts of opportunities – opportunities to bring prominent world figures to Chapel Hill to engage in discussions with us on critical global issues and to create multidisciplinary programs, conferences and events focused on relevant global themes and key regions of the world.”
UNC’s plans are seen as unique among U.S. colleges and universities for bringing together in one facility the three major components of international education: student services, academic programs and faculty research.
The building will house in one place all international and area studies programs for the College of Arts and Sciences, including study abroad. It will be home to the University Center for International Studies, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services and a research center for visiting foreign and U.S. scholars, as well as graduate and professional students.
The global education building will include spaces for interaction among students, faculty and visiting scholars and provide classroom space and a videoconferencing center. It will be the home for several academic and student programs now spread across campus, including the Office of Study Abroad; the curriculum in international and area studies; the Carolina Asia Center; the University Center for International Studies; Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations; African Studies Center; Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies; Center for European Studies; Institute of Latin American Studies; and the Global Research Institute.
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