Carolina First Fundraising Goal Raised to $2 Billion

The University, which has been ahead of schedule in its goal in the Carolina First fundraising campaign, raised that goal on Oct. 1 to $2 billion.

The move places UNC among just eight American universities pursuing fund-raising goals of at least $2 billion. The previous goal had been $1.8 billion.

“Carolina will always be a good university, but private support has provided the margin of excellence that makes it a great one,” Chancellor James Moeser said. “By raising our goal to $2 billion, we will build on the tremendous success and momentum that the campaign has generated. Our aim is to be nothing less than the nation’s leading public university. The campaign has proven up to that challenge.”

The major thrusts of Carolina First’s higher goal will be faculty support, student merit-based scholarships and capital projects. These three areas rank as Carolina’s most pressing priorities at this point in the campaign, which began July 1, 1999, Moeser said. They also represent the keys to keeping the University competitive with its peers, he said.

By raising Carolina First’s goal to $2 billion, the University joins these seven institutions with current private fundraising drives of at least $2 billion: the universities of California-Los Angeles, Chicago, Michigan, Virginia and Washington, and Johns Hopkins and New York universities.

Institutions that have completed campaigns of $2 billion or more since 1999 are Columbia, Duke and Harvard universities, MIT and the University of Southern California.

Of the $200 million more being raised at UNC, $60 million will go toward creating an endowment for merit-based scholarships. That effort is under way with a $10 million gift from the estate of Col. John Harvey Robinson ’57 (MBA), a career Army officer who died in 2004.

Another $10 million will be raised to endow the Carolina Covenant, the initiative that enables students from low-income families to graduate from UNC debt-free.

Of the remaining $130 million, $100 million will target faculty support. The last $30 million will go to emerging initiatives at UNC such as the Renaissance Computing Institute, which aims to strengthen the North Carolina economy. Based at UNC, the interdisciplinary institute also is supported by Duke and N.C. State, and partners with business leaders to enhance the competitiveness of North Carolina industries.

Along with a higher goal, the Carolina First Campaign will now run through Dec. 31, 2007. To reach $2 billion by then, it will take an average of $15.85 million in commitments per month. Since starting, the campaign has brought in a monthly average commitment of nearly $21 million.

As of Sept. 26, Carolina First had brought in $1.56 billion, 78 percent of the new goal, while being about three-quarters complete.

UNC alumni had given more than $592 million, and corporations and foundations had contributed $604.6 million. The balance had come from friends of the University and other organizations.

The campaign had created 151 professorships and 523 scholarships and fellowships, as well as added more than $628 million to Carolina’s endowment. Overall, the drive has funded new research, spawned new programs and initiatives, and helped pay for the renovation and construction of campus facilities.

The Carolina Covenant is one of many initiatives supported by the campaign. Others include a clinical genetics research center that brings together researchers, physicians and medical faculty to explore the relationship between genetics and diseases and transfers promising new treatments from the laboratory to patient bedsides.

The 68-member Carolina First Campaign Steering Committee is led by co-chairs Paul Fulton ’57, former president and chief executive officer of Bassett Furniture Industries and past dean of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School; Charlie Shaffer ’64, president and chief executive officer of the Marcus Institute in Atlanta; and Mike Overlock ’68, who retired in 1996 from Goldman, Sachs and Co., where his career included heading mergers and acquisitions.

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