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In an effort to catch up on numerous professorships awaiting a state match, the N.C. General Assembly recently earmarked $10 million for the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund. The money will go to all UNC System institutions with endowed professorships for which the state matches private donations.
Chapel Hill is getting $7.5 million of it.
The money will enable the University to fully endow 26 scholarships that had been waiting for the state match. “We had gotten to the point where we were at a critical stage with professorships [waiting] in the queue,” said Roy Carroll, retired vice president for academic affairs with the UNC System and now a consultant. “It was getting embarrassing with the donors.”
The other good news, Carroll said, is that the Legislature has set aside $8 million a year for the 16 UNC System campuses in recurring funds for future matches. That fund is up from $2 million.
The Carolina professorships now fully funded run the gamut from the College of Arts and Sciences to the business and pharmacy schools. The University still has some professorships waiting state matches, but Carroll said those had not yet received the full portion pledged by the donors.
The fund was created in 1985 to help attract and retain top faculty members. Gifts of $333,000 and up qualify for matching grants of $167,000 to establish endowments of at least $500,000; gifts of $666,000 and up qualify for matching grants of $334,000 to create endowments of at least $1 million.
Elizabeth Dunn, UNC’s senior associate vice chancellor for development, said she was thrilled to learn the state is going to provide a push over the finish line for the 26 Carolina professorships in waiting.
“Imagine an airport and planes are just kind of lined up on the runway to take off,” she said. “It’s not a stagnant thing – the engines are revving.”
UNC has created more than 450 professorships, of which 80 have qualified for state matching funds. One of the key goals of the Carolina First capital campaign is to establish 200 new professorships; that figure now stands at 126.