Reflecting on a Year Just Past

As another calendar year arrives, Carolina remains proud of our achievements, aware of our challenges, saddened by the recent passing of those who so well served our University, inspired by the legacy of Carolina’s first 225 years, and excited about our future.

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

Among the many whose passing we mourned in the past year were:

• Former University first lady Barbara Byrd Fordham ’49;

• Woody L. Durham ’63, longtime “Voice of the Tar Heels”;

• Philanthropist Richard H. Jenrette ’51;

• Chapel Hill restauranteur Mildred “Mama Dip” Council;

• Award-winning author and playwright John Ehle ’49;

• Former UNC medical school dean Dr. Stuart O Bondurant Jr. ’50;

• Former UNC System President C. Dixon Spangler Jr. ’54; and

• Longtime curator of the N.C. Collection H.G. Jones.

Besides observing the University’s 225th anniversary, there were celebrations marking the chemistry department’s 200th year, the 175th anniversary of the GAA, the 60th anniversary of the Ackland Art Museum, the 50th anniversary of the House Undergraduate Library, the 40th anniversary of the Clef Hangers and the 25th anniversary of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center — to name only a few.

Winston Crisp ’92 (JD) stepped down in November as vice chancellor of student affairs. Steve Matson announced he was stepping down as dean of the Graduate School, and Dr. William Roper indicated he would be stepping down as dean of the medical school and CEO of UNC Health Care at the end of this academic year. After UNC System President Margaret Spellings’ announcement that she would be leaving, the UNC System’s Board of Governors elected Roper as interim president.

With the approval of the Board of Trustees, Horace Williams Airport closed its runways. The opening of Karen Shelton Field Hockey Stadium was followed by Carolina’s field hockey team going undefeated and winning its seventh NCAA national championship. The relocated outdoor track also opened while renovations continue on Fetzer Field and its stadium along with construction of the new indoor football practice facility. With the installation of individual seats, Kenan Stadium’s capacity decreased to 51,000 from 63,000, and as the football season ended, head coach Larry Fedora was dismissed after seven years and former head coach Mack Brown was rehired.

Undergraduate applications again increased to the largest ever — to 46,967 — and Carolina welcomed 5,121 new undergraduates (4,326 first-years and 795 transfers).

“For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina” continues to enjoy inspiring success — $617 million in 2017-18 — now totaling $2.386 billion and surpassing the halfway mark of its $4.25 billion goal and eclipsing the $2.384 billion raised from 1999 to 2007 in the Carolina First Campaign.

Among the many high-impact gifts in the past year were:

• $21.27 million from the Curtis Foundation — led by Don Curtis ’63, Barbara Curtis and Donna Curtis McClatchey ’93 — to support the School of Media and Journalism, the School of Medicine and the athletics department;

• $10 million from “ET” and “Champ” Mitchell ’69 (’75 JD) to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center for research in blood cancer;

• $10 million from Bill ’69 and Anne Harrison ’75 to support UNC Global; and

• $5 million from former UNC System President Erskine Bowles ’67 toward a $20 million Blue Sky Scholars Fund for middle-income students.

Other milestones in 2018 included:

• We learned that UNC had moved from sixth to fifth nationally in federal research funding in the most recent year measured, fiscal 2017.

• Leah Everist ’18 was selected as a Luce Scholar — Carolina’s 39th and 13th in the past decade. (UNC has had more Luce Scholars than any other U.S. university or college.)

• Nineteen need-based scholarships were named for “Bridge Builders” whose advocacy and personal example have helped forge a more inclusive, unified and aspirational Carolina community.

• The N.C. General Assembly adopted legislation addressing HB 2, prompting the NCAA to return championship events to North Carolina. Limited by 2015 legislation adopted by the General Assembly, with the Aug. 20 toppling by outside demonstrators of the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam, Chancellor Carol L. Folt and the trustees recommended establishing a University History and Education Center in Odum Village in response to a directive from the UNC System’s Board of Governors and President Spellings for the “lawful and lasting” disposition and preservation of the monument. Citing financial and security concerns, the BOG rejected that proposal and set up a five-member task force of its members to work with the Board of Trustees, the chancellor and top administrative staff to come up with another plan for Silent Sam by March 15.

And, as we look into the opening weeks of 2019, the General Assembly convenes soon — with its same leadership as before the November elections but now without its veto-proof majority.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

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