Investing Resoundingly in Carolina’s Future

Remarkable, reassuring, and inspiring are just a few of the words that come to mind with the announcement that the Campaign for Carolina has topped $4 billion toward its Dec. 31, 2022, goal of $4.25 billion — greatly surpassing the record of $2.38 billion set by the Carolina First Campaign, which ran from 1999 to 2007. This milestone is a very tangible affirmation of Carolina from alumni, faculty, staff, friends, foundations and corporations. Those who know and care about our University the most are investing resoundingly in Carolina’s future.

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

We often have been reminded that what matters most is not any single number but the impact such inspiring philanthropic gifts are having and the impact they will enable in the years ahead. Students will continue to be educated and prepared for meaningful professional and personal lives by world-class faculty. Patients will be healed and given hope by the research discoveries that continue to transform health care.

This remarkable success is a reflection of the campaign leadership provided by chancellors Carol Folt and Kevin Guskiewicz, along with the deans, development officers and leaders of the College of Arts & Sciences, schools and units from all across campus. And, of course, the central development office has provided not only leadership and coordination but much-needed support in gift processing, events, estate planning, corporate and foundation gifts, and principal and major gifts.

As it has from its beginning in 1843, the General Alumni Association and Carolina Alumni members have been vital to the University’s fundraising success. In the 19th century, the GAA raised funds to recognize UNC’s first president, Joseph Caldwell, and later alumni raised funds toward the construction of the Edward Kidder Graham Student Union and the Alumni Building. In 1952, the GAA joined with the University to launch Alumni Annual Giving. One of my three predecessors, J. Maryon “Spike” Saunders (class of 1925), was instrumental in securing what was then UNC’s largest gift ever: $11.5 million “for the unrestricted use of the University” from Joseph E. Pogue Jr. (class of 1906) and his wife, Grace Needham Pogue. The gift established the Pogue Scholarship program, and earnings from it continue to provide important seven-figure annual funding to the central development office.

Moreover, the GAA has contributed directly to each of Carolina’s capital campaigns:

• Bicentennial Campaign: $12.5 million —George Watts Hill Alumni Center;

• Carolina First Campaign: $500,000 —General Alumni Association Scholars (with a $50,000 addition to establish the Douglas S. Dibbert Scholars); and

• Campaign for Carolina: $2 million — Lt. Col. Bernard W. Dibbert Carolina Covenant for Military Families Scholars. Former GAA Board Chair Vaughn Bryson ’60 and his wife, Nancy ’60, contributed an additional $1 million earlier this year.

The GAA continues to maintain detailed records on each of Carolina’s more than 349,000 living alumni — records accessed and used daily by our development colleagues. The GAA’s award-winning communications (Carolina Alumni Review, Out of the Blue monthly e-newsletter, website and social media postings) and award-winning programs (local Carolina Clubs, travel, enrichment, affinity and class reunions, career services, student organization sponsorship and programs, Tar Heel Network legislative advocacy, awards, etc.) remain critical to informing and involving alumni with each other and with Carolina. As reflected in the chart on page 7, annually more than 80 percent of the philanthropic gifts to Carolina from alumni come from Carolina Alumni members.

While it is appropriate that we take a moment to be thankful and celebrate this inspiring accomplishment, we must also recognize that not only has the overall goal not yet been met, there is over a year left in the campaign. Not all units have achieved their ambitious goals, and the goals of the campaign’s pillars have not each been met. As I wrote at the beginning of the campaign (“Carolina’s Edge,” January/February 2018 Review), the most ambitious campaign pillar is our $1 billion goal for scholarship support.

During this holiday season, may we each reflect on the remarkable, reassuring and inspiring success of the Campaign for Carolina — the most successful by any public university in the South. Carolina is now among only eight public universities to eclipse $4 billion in a single campaign. The campaign’s largest single gift, $100 million from Fred Eshelman ’72 to support the School of Pharmacy and launch the Eshelman Institute, accounts for about 2 percent of the total. That is truly remarkable and demonstrates that at Carolina every gift matters.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70


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