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Time of the Signs?

With athletics scholarship costs rising 100 percent over the past five years, investment returns and private donations to the Rams Club have not been able to compensate for these increases. Because athletics receives no direct financial support from the University, the Board of Trustees encouraged a task force — composed of faculty, staff, students, trustees and representatives of the Rams Club, the GAA and others — to examine the need for and advisability of permanent commercial signage in the Smith Center and Kenan Stadium.

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

The task force’s joyless but unanimous conclusion was that Chancellor James Moeser and the Board of Trustees should consider “limited and tasteful” signage provided that this signage “makes a significant financial impact” on the budget of the athletics department. As one task force member affirmed, “We want the most amount of money for the least amount of signage.”

Should Carolina implement permanent commercial signage in these hallowed venues, it is important to assure all that our motivation and commitment are to retain our scholarship support for student-athletes in all of Carolina’s 28 varsity sports. Further, if we can, we should address funding for our Olympic sports programs and compensation for their coaches, which today rank in the bottom third in the ACC. At the same time, Carolina fans likely will be troubled if signage revenue is redirected toward the relentlessly advancing arms race in the revenue sports.

By the time I attended my first meeting with the Knight Commission in 1989, I long had believed that decisions regarding intercollegiate athletics should be made based upon what is in the best interests of the student-athletes.What is crystal clear is that for all but 1 to 2 percent of all athletes in college, they’ll never earn a salary playing their sport professionally. Therefore, our resources need to be marshaled to ensure that they earn their diploma, with which, along with hard work and determination, they can earn a living.

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A courageous young alumna — and a special friend

Susan Greenwald’s ’91 first visit to Chapel Hill included a Carolina basketball game, but it was not the magic of the Smth Center that attracted her to Chapel Hill. As a teenager, Susan suffered a sudden, acute case oflupus that almost took her life. Under the care of skilled doctors at the National Institute of Health, Susan bravely regained her sU’ength and completed high school. When Susan and her parents began searching for campuses that had a record and reputation for accommodating students with physical challenges, they found Carolina at the top of almost everyone’s list.

My wife, Debbie, and I knew Susan and her parents from our days on Capitol Hill, and we happily served as their hosts for that first visit in the spring of 1987. The Greenwalds became convinced that beyond UNC’s academic excellence and our unparalleled commitment to undergraduate teaching, Carolina would be a welcoming environment for people like their daughter who have to rely on wheelchair .

After Susan was admitted to UNC, her father was struck and killed one morning while jogging. Courageously, Susan came to Carolina, where she excelled in and out of the classroom. A journalism major, she was actively involved in Brien Lewis’ ’90 successful campaign for student body president. She also was elected president of Carmichael Dormitory. When necessary, she urged the late Laura Thomas ’79 and other in our Disability Services office to address any impediments to access to University facilities. Along the way, Susan became a very special friend to our family.

Among Susan’s enduring passions was Carolina men’s basketball, and she shared this passion with everyone she could. She attended many basketball TV-viewing parties sponsored by the GAA’s Washington, D.C., Carolina Club.

Susan’s mother, Shelia, also was an enthusiastic college basketball fan. An avid University of Michigan alumna, she found creative ways to attend many NCAA men’s basketball Final Fours. Susan was especially delighted by the irony that her alma mater defeated her mother’s for the 1993 national championship. When Shelia Greenwald passed away after a decade-long battle against cancer, Susan fondly recalled the many joyous occasions they shared watching or attending college basketball games.

In late April, Susan suffered a fatal stroke. At her memorial service, references were made to her passion for Carolina basketball. However, in her will she made a significant bequest to the Laura Thomas Fund for Disability Services at Carolina. Even in death, Susan was looking out for those students who might not be able to look out for themselves. Her parting gift to Carolina was a generous statement of her appreciation and hope that a complete and accessible Carolina education be available to all students.

 

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature

 

 

 

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

doug_dibbert@unc.edu

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