“The Storms of Life”

From The Alumni Review’s first issue in October 1912 to the present, this magazine has sought to convey stories about our University and its present and former students, its faculty and its staff — stories that engage readers with each other and with Carolina. Over those years, Carolina Alumni members have expressed appreciation that the magazine is funded by and written for them. Our aspirations to engage and inform readers and our commitment to our readers as Carolina Alumni members have not been altered by this past year’s pandemic. With all the work by our talented and conscientious magazine staff being done remotely, the publication of each issue of the Review has remained on schedule.

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

On May 31, 1843, N.C. Gov. John Motley Morehead (class of 1817) and 30 of his fellow alumni met in Chapel Hill at Commencement to start an alumni association. Reunion gatherings at Commencement continued for decades, and in 1922 Daniel L. Grant (class of 1921) became the association’s first full-time alumni secretary and moved into his South Building office.

GAA leadership today is more complex. As a tax-exempt, not-for-profit association, the GAA is governed by a board of directors, which has fiduciary responsibility for the association and sets its policies. It was during Grant’s era that association members began annually electing board members. (From Jan. 1 through March 31, Carolina Alumni members are voting — digitally or by printed ballot — for new officers and board members. You, as a Carolina Alumni member, have a stake in this process. Please vote.)

A bit more about our volunteer leadership: The GAA board chair is elected by the GAA Board of Directors on the recommendation of the board’s Nominating Committee. The board’s two vice chairs are elected by Carolina Alumni members. Three officers — the treasurer, counsel and chair of the Tar Heel Network — are elected by the board on the Nominating Committee’s recommendation. Six directors-at-large are elected by the board, also on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee.

All candidates, whether elected by the board or by Carolina Alumni members, are put forth by the Nominating Committee.

When you vote your ballot, you see who the district candidates are each year. Ten individuals — all of whom are Carolina Alumni members themselves — are elected by Carolina Alumni members to represent 10 N.C. districts, each of which reflects roughly the same number of alumni. Carolina Alumni members also elect nine of their fellow members who live in districts outside of North Carolina — encompassing the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and foreign countries. Again, each district reflects roughly the same number of alumni.

Since the creation of the University’s Athletic Council in the 1930s, three members of any GAA board serve on the council; one of those members is elected each year by Carolina Alumni members.

Of the 146 voting GAA board members who have served over the past decade — those selected by Carolina Alumni members or by the GAA board and amounting to 36 individuals in any given year — one-third have been women and one-fifth have been Black. Twenty-three percent have been from undergraduate classes of the 1950s and ’60s, 54 percent from the ’70s and ’80s classes, and 23 percent from 1990 to the present. Board members have come from 26 N.C. counties and 21 states.

And throughout this pandemic year, the board has held its regular quarterly meetings — all virtually — conducted its business and maintained all its responsibilities.

Here’s another example of resilience that, one way or another, affects us all, in this pandemic year and always: In 1952, then-Alumni Secretary J. Maryon “Spike” Saunders (class of 1925) and GAA volunteer leaders joined with then-Chancellor Robert B. House (class of 1916) and UNC leaders to create something unusual — a joint association- and University-sponsored endeavor called Alumni Annual Giving. In that vein, Saunders had long maintained a relationship with Joseph E. Pogue Jr. (class of 1906). Pogue was “a geologist and mineralogist of international distinction,” as he was called in 1963 when he received an honorary degree from UNC. Former Chancellor J. Carlyle Sitterson ’31 wrote of Pogue in 1994: “He knew the petroleum field and the people in it as few men did; as one colleague put it: ‘He was an unreplaceable liaison between the oil industry and the financial community.’ ” But in 1956, four years after Alumni Annual Giving was created, Pogue did something powerful for Carolina. He wrote Saunders to let him know that he and his wife, Grace Needham Pogue, had made the University the “residual legatee” of their estate. Twenty years later, Saunders was elated when the Pogues’ decision resulted in what was then the largest gift ever made to Carolina: $11.5 million “for the unrestricted use of the University.” Then-Chancellor N. Ferebee Taylor ’42 directed that funds be used for University fundraising and to establish the Pogue Scholars. Those uses continue.

Joseph Pogue made a giant impact with his gift, and he was only one of thousands of informed and involved alumni who over the years, and every year, provide much-needed philanthropic support for Carolina. Carolina Alumni members account for — even in this pandemic year — about 85 percent of the financial contributions made each year by alumni.

The pandemic changed the GAA’s efforts in some ways, but it did not interrupt them — maintaining detailed records on all alumni; moving to virtual gatherings our longstanding and award-winning engagement events, including Think Fast forums, class and affinity reunions, and local Carolina Club activities; reporting each month in our “Out of the Blue” newsletter; and bringing you this magazine.

All that, and more that you can read about on pages 16 and 17, continue to underscore lines from the seldom-sung third verse of our favorite song:

Though the storms of life assail us

Still our hearts beat true

Naught can break the friendships formed at

Dear old N.C.U.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

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