One of Gladys Coates’ wishes for the University was published biographies of all of its presidents and chancellors and of her husband Albert Coates ’18, who with her help founded and built the Institute of Government.
A gift of nearly $1 million from Gladys Hall Coates’ estate will establish the Albert and Gladys Coates Endowment Fund for the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library. The collection is the largest and most comprehensive repository of published materials relating to a single state in the country.
Once characterized by her husband as the institute’s “staff member without a portfolio,” Gladys Coates also conducted research, wrote and lectured on University-related topics, including the history of women at Carolina; the Dialectic and Philanthropic societies; and author and personal friend Thomas Wolfe ’20.
During her lifetime, Gladys Coates earned many of UNC’s top honors, including the William Richardson Davie Award, the highest honor bestowed by the UNC Board of Trustees; the Cornelia Phillips Spencer Bell Award for significant contributions to the University by a woman; the Distinguished Service Medal from the General Alumni Association; and an honorary doctor of laws degree given in 2001 when she was 99.
Following research, writing and publication of the biographies, interest earned from the endowment will be used to provide funds for research, exhibits, Web projects and speakers on state-related topics.
The campus building that first housed the Institute of Government, established in 1931, was named in honor of the Coateses, and they were the first couple to have separate endowed professorships established in their names at the University. A garden courtyard at the new School of Government was named in her memory following her death in September 2002.