Remaining Proudly Public

“It really goes to the state’s policy and approach to funding higher education. Certainly in North Carolina, they fund higher education better than they do in Virginia.”

— Colette Sheehy, UVA’s vice president for management and budget, to The Cavalier Daily on the most recent levels of state support for in-state students at Virginia, the University of Michigan and UNC. UVA received $9,518 per in-state student, Michigan received $13,887 and Carolina received $22,131.

GAA President Doug Dibbert ’70The longstanding relationship between our University and the people of North Carolina remains unique. All North Carolinians are served by Carolina’s faculty, students and staff who work in UNC’s departments, centers, institutes, clinics and hospitals. Many of North Carolina’s teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists, hygienists, pharmacists, city and county planners and managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, public health officials, journalists, business owners and entrepreneurs are Carolina alumni.

North Carolina taxpayers, reflected through their elected representatives in the N.C. General Assembly, have long been generous supporters of our nation’s oldest public university, although Carolina’s significant state appropriations did not begin until well into the 20th century. Preserving state appropriations and advocating on behalf of UNC to state senators and state representatives has been the mission of the GAA’s Tar Heel Network, long led by Tom Lambeth ’57, a former chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and a past volunteer leader of the GAA’s Board of Directors.

The network’s more than 1,000 members do no fundraising, hold no meetings and collect no dues. Members are asked only to read and interpret concise information and, when prompted, contact General Assembly members. The Tar Heel Network has worked with other Carolina supporters in support of two capital bond packages — voters passed one in 1993 for $300 million and a second in 2000 for $3.1 billion — to create the University Cancer Research Fund, construct the N.C. Cancer Hospital and retain all of our faculty’s hard-earned facilities and administrative funds.

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You can learn more online about the Tar Heel Network. (To join the Tar Heel Network, just email me.) At, you also can link to Higher Education Works, a bipartisan organization working on behalf of all North Carolina public institutions of higher education. From there, you can access information about how to contact your state senator and representative.

The N.C. General Assembly convenes on Jan. 14. If Carolina is to remain proudly public, those who care about higher education in North Carolina must remain active advocates. Preserving Carolina’s excellence is in the best interests of all North Carolinians — especially Carolina’s alumni.

Yours at Carolina,

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Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

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