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Carolina First Reaches $2 Billion on Landmark Public Health Gift

On the day that a weeks-long snap of frigid weather gave way to a sunny day suitable for an outdoor celebration, the people who helped Carolina to its $2 billion capital campaign goal 10 months ahead of schedule gathered in late February to toast their good fortune.

The gift that put the Carolina First drive over the top was $50 million from Quintiles Transnational Corp.’s Dennis Gillings and his wife Joan. It will put their names on the University’s School of Public Health.

The University considers the Gillings’ gift its largest ever because the Morehead-Cain Foundation, the recipient of a $100 million gift the previous week, is a private entity. The Dennis and Joan Gillings School of Global Public Health is just the second school on campus to bear the name of a donor, along with the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

“This is a special day for Carolina,” Chancellor James Moeser told some 200 people gathered on the veranda of the Graham Memorial. “We broke it with a bang,” he said of the campaign goal, quickly adding that the fundraising will continue as scheduled through the end of the year.

The Gillings’ pledge raised total Carolina First commitments to $2.05 billion. By comparison, the University raised $83 million in the final year of the Bicentennial Campaign in the 1990s. The campaign began with a three-year “silent” phase in July 1999, amassing $621 million in gifts before it was kicked off officially in 2002. The original goal was $1.8 billion, which was raised to $2 billion in October 2005.

Annual fund giving was applied to the campaign total. The average gift during Carolina First has been $11,407.08.

The University’s endowment grew from $1 billion in 2002 $1.68 billion last year.

Campaign co-chair Paul Fulton ’57 noted that several schools and units have not yet reached their Carolina First goals and urged volunteers and donors to make a “final push” to reach each and every goal on campus.

Heel prints everywhere

The campaign has left its marks on all corners of the campus, physically and programmatically.

The campaign has brought UNC 193 new endowed professorships and 670 new scholarships and fellowships. At the goal celebration, Fulton announced a new $100 million drive for recruitment and retention of faculty, raising that goal to $500 million. According to data from the Association of American Universities, the average faculty salary at UNC falls below the 50th percentile, compared to schools such as the University of California at Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University.

“This need, I want to assure you, is critical,” Fulton said. “We will never have a world class institution as long as we pay faculty less than 50 percent” of what UNC’s peers pay, he said, citing recent statistics.

Another co-chair, Charles Shaffer ’64, whose father Charles Milton Shaffer ’35 was the University’s first development director, pointed to the example of a student who had chosen Carolina over Princeton based on a merit scholarship funded through the campaign. Carolina First also is apparent in new bricks and mortar across the campus – Shaffer said a musician recently was heard to prefer Memorial Hall’s new acoustics to that of Carnegie Hall, and he cited a chemistry professor who had come to Carolina because he was impressed with the plans for the new science complex.

Gifts to Carolina First have rebuilt the Campus Y; funded all construction costs of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History; fueled expansions of the School of Government and the law, nursing, dental, medical and pharmacy schools; rebuilt everything within the outer walls of the Graham Memorial; and made possible athletics facilities such as the field hockey and women’s lacrosse stadium, the soccer center and the indoor track and football practice facility.

Campaign contributions figured in the construction of the Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital, which opened in 2002.

Lead gifts placed the names of donors Lowry ’79 and Susan Caudill ’80 and Max Chapman Jr. ’66 on the first two buildings in the physical sciences complex.

A different kind of name — that of corporate giant FedEx — will go on the new Global Studies Building as a result of a lead donation.

The campaign made the difference in a classy conversion of Memorial Hall into a modern performing arts center, and it created the basis for a $10 million endowment to support UNC’s performing arts program. It got a new music building off the ground.

Away from the main campus, the N.C. Botanical Garden pulled in almost $6.5 million in gifts and pledges for a new education center.

Among the works in progress, or soon to be, with help from campaign gifts, are the expansions of Boshamer Stadium and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center; major renovations of Gerrard Hall and Love House, the Franklin Street headquarters for Southern studies programs; a smaller-scale overhaul of Playmakers Theatre; and construction of the Rams Club’s first campus building.

Among other contributions:

  • Julian ’55 and Josie Robertson gave $24 million to create the UNC-Duke University collaborative Robertson Scholars Program, now in its sixth year.
  • $10 million was earmarked for the Carolina Covenant, a national model program that enables students from low-income families to graduate debt-free.
  • The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust pledged $27 million to challenge other donors to help create 10 eminent professorships priced at $3 million each.
  • Numerous individuals and companies found the Study Abroad Program attractive, funding upward of 100 scholarships.
  • The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation got Carolina started on a partnership to enhance student transfers from community colleges in its area.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation chipped in large grants for clinical trials for drugs to treat African sleeping sickness.
  • Barbara ’83 and Pitt Hyde ’65, whose donations built the building that houses the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, added a $5 million pledge to endow the institute’s Academic Leadership Program.
  • The largest-ever gift to the top-ranked School of Information and Library Science came from the estate of Louis Round Wilson, for whom UNC’s signature library was named in 1929.
  • The University even honored one of Duke University’s finest, naming a professorship for retired President Nan Keohane on a gift from the Kenan Trust and Julian and Josie Robertson.

A ‘transformative’ gift

Dennis Gillings is the chair and CEO of a pharmaceutical services company, based in Research Triangle Park. Joan Gillings has had careers in public health, including at the school that now bears her name, and commercial real estate.

Dennis Gillings was a professor in the School of Public Health’s biostatistics department from 1971 to 1988. While at the school, he and others applied the latest methodologies to analyze clinical trial data for pharmaceutical companies and others. He incorporated Quintiles in 1982. Quintiles Transnational is now the world’s leading pharmaceutical services company, with annual revenues of $2 billion.

Born in London, Gillings received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Exeter in 1966, a diploma in mathematical statistics from Cambridge University in 1967 and a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Exeter, England, in 1972, after which he joined the UNC faculty. By 1981, Gillings had become a full professor and was named director of UNC’s Biometric Consulting Laboratory.

As a result of the gift the public health school, currently top-ranked nationally among those at public universities by U.S. News & World Report, will create what it calls competitively selected Innovation Laboratories. Faculty may be from the School of Public Health but also from other schools at UNC and from the private sector as well. The laboratories also will provide support for selected students as they conduct research.

“Innovation Laboratories will focus concentrated efforts on solving big public health problems whose solutions can make a difference in the public’s health,” said Dean Barbara K. Rimer. “For example, if we could devise better ways to deliver safe, accessible water to a large proportion of the billion or so people who lack safe water, it could make an immense impact not only on public health but on the global economy.

“If we can refine methodologies that accelerate the speed with which clinical trials can be conducted and effective drugs approved, we can contribute to speeding pharmaceutical and other innovations to patients. These are the kinds of problems the Innovation Laboratories will address. This school always has solved problems, but now we will be able to do this on a much larger scale. . The Gillings’ gift will be transformative,” she said. “We at the school and the Gillingses share a commitment to solve public health problems in North Carolina and around the world. And we want these solutions to come faster and be more sustainable.”


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