In reading H.G. Jones’ provocative profile of Pete Murphy (page 14 of this Review) I was reminded that many valued contributions alumni make to Alma Mater go unrecorded and largely under-reported in our annual report of gifts.
Happily, Carolina has always encouraged this special giving that does not carry a dollar value. At too many campuses the relationship between alumni and their alma mater depends largely on their checkbooks or their support of athletic teams.
This is unfortunate. History teaches us that some of the most valuable contributions alumni make cannot be measured by the strength of their vocal cords or the generosity of their wallets. Over the years Chapel Hill has enjoyed a happy blending of private contributions and the equally important volunteer leadership, nourishment, and spontaneous support that only a loyal and loving alumni family gives.
In today’s environment where solicitations for money already crowd mailboxes and telephone lines, alumni will increasingly be called upon to support this first state university in many vital ways. By acting as a role model in your community, and encouraging bright and talented youngsters to apply to Carolina, you help assure that the tradition of excellence will be maintained in each freshman class. By staying alert and informed about the proposals that come before the North Carolina General Assembly and the U.S. Congress which affect Carolina, and by sharing your perspectives and concerns with your legislators, congressmen or senators, you are the vanguard for our university.
You can help assure that the University’s public mission is well known, understood and appreciated in your community. You can assist today’s students who face important career decisions by providing summer jobs or internships and career counseling. You can be a critical link between the academic world in Chapel Hill and the “real world ” that they will face. You can advise our faculty in designing courses that better prepare students fer that world.
These are only some of the important ways that our alumni give to Carolina. These are gifts of time, gifts of the heart, gifts of knowledge — a demonstration of unbounded devotion that is quite special and represents the best of Carolina.
Until the 20th century every building on our campus was initiated through private funding. I do net want to appear to discourage financial giving, for certainly if our margin of excellence is to be maintained, with a declining percentage of our budget provided by the state and with continuing cutbacks from the federal government, it is incumbent upon us to become mere creative in generating new revenues and to be aggressive in soliciting private financial support. None of us paid the full cost of our education. Our alumni and friends should provide the volunteer leadership so critical to an effective development effort.
However, I hope that we will never fall prey to that which often has captured ether universities when their relationships to their alumni become largely financial. For nearly 200 years we have been guided by presidents and chancellors who recognized the important contributions made by people such as Pete Murphy. These alumni are the University’s chief recruiters, defenders, advocates and protectors. This is our proudest tradition.
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70