At Year End

Many years ago, my mother gave me one of my father’s diaries, which I recently reread. For each day my father reflected on what was happening in our family (only two of our parents’ five sons had been born), what he was experiencing as a student at the University of Washington (attending on an Army ROTC scholarship and majoring in business) and what was happening in national and world affairs.

GAA President Doug Dibbert ’70

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

Since our more than 317,000 living alumni don’t all think alike, I won’t venture into a perspective on national and world affairs other than to observe the obvious — we live in challenging, interesting and uncertain times, which prompt some to say that “you cannot make this up” and “there is no longer a need to read fiction.”

I will comment on this past year at our University.

We have much to celebrate:

U.S. News & World Report again ranks Carolina No. 5 among public research universities, and Kiplinger’s again ranks Carolina as “Best Buy.”

■ The Eshelman School of Pharmacy is ranked No. 1 among all U.S. schools of pharmacy.

■ For the 12th straight year, Carolina received a record number of undergraduate applications — 35,875.

■ Carolina exceeded the previous year’s all-time fundraising record by nearly $50 million, bringing in a new record — $495 million.

■ SACS restored the University to full accreditation.

■ For the first time, two Carolina undergraduates have been selected as Gates Cambridge Scholars.

■ North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a bond package, which includes $68 million for a new Medical Education Building for Carolina.

■ Chemistry Professor Joe DeSimone receives the National Medal of  Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama.

■ Women’s and men’s lacrosse and men’s tennis won national championships.

■ Twenty-five of 28 sports competed for NCAA championships, and in the spring, Carolina’s 800 student-athletes earned an overall 3.0 GPA — best ever.

We are concerned or troubled about:

■ The awaited response from the NCAA.

■ Uncertainty about the effects of House Bill 2.

■ The progressive aphasia that afflicts Woody Durham ’63, affecting his language expression and ending his public speaking engagements.

■ Unsettled racial tensions across the country and on college campuses.

We have had leadership changes:

Margaret Spellings began her presidency of the UNC System on March 1.

■ Assuming their respective deanships at our university are Gary Bowen ’76 at social work and Fouad Abd-El-Khalick at education. Nilda “Nena” Peragallo Montano is selected as nursing’s dean, and Dr. Scott De Rossi is chosen as dean of the dental school; both plan to start work at Carolina in January.

■ The founding chair of our medical school’s genetics department, Terry Magnuson, is the new vice chancellor for research while Morehead Scholar Mark Merritt ’79 is the new vice chancellor and general counsel.

■ Rachele Feldman is the new director of UNC’s Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, and Morehead Scholar Katie Ziglar ’79 is the new Ackland Art Museum director.

■ Anthropology Professor Vince Steponaitis is the new secretary of the faculty.

And we mourned the passing of Burlington philanthropist and former UNC Board of  Trustees member Maurice Koury ’48; former Alumni Center campaign chair and former Board of  Trustees member Ralph Strayhorn ’47 (’50 LLBJD); former vice chancellor and dean of the graduate school Lyle Jones; revered chemistry Professor Richard Hiskey; and Bill Dooley — Carolina’s longest-serving head football coach (1967-77).

The Dibbert family remains dispersed among Chapel Hill, Chicago and Attleboro, Mass. Our younger son, Brian ’05, is in his sixth year as a community marketing manager with Dick’s Sporting Goods in Chicago. His older brother, Michael ’03, is headmaster of St. John’s School in Wellesley, Mass., and lives in Attleboro with his wife, Carolyn, who is an attorney, and their three children, Cassidy (5¾), Jamison (4), and Teddy (1⅓). After a dozen years as the director of development and public relations at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, my wife, Debbie, is in her third year as chief of staff to Chancellor Carol L. Folt.

All the Dibberts wish you and yours joyous holidays and a happy and healthy new year — one full of celebrations.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

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