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News Release: For immediate use


Matching gift will add support to the Carolina Covenant


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Oct. 7, 2017) – With the launch of “For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina” on Oct. 6, 2017, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has announced a $20 million challenge in support of need-based aid for the children of service men and women. Running through October 2019, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will further open the door to a world-class, Carolina education for students from military families who qualify for the Carolina Covenant.


The challenge results from a gift commitment totaling $40 million from Steve and Debbie Vetter of Greensboro. $20 million will support the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, $10 million will support UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and $10 million will support Carolina Athletics.


If met by Oct. 7, 2019, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will provide $40 million in total to create scholarship opportunities for students from military families. Recipients of their gift will be recognized as Steve and Debbie Vetter Military Family Scholars.


“As we launch the Campaign for Carolina with a focus on people and innovation, this incredibly generous and thoughtful gift from the Vetters builds on our 224-year tradition of supporting America’s service people and their families,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Our veterans and military service members are the last to ask and the most grateful to receive. The Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge reaffirms our ongoing pledge to create future opportunities for the men and women who serve our nation and their families.”


Carolina remains one of the few U.S. public universities that is truly need blind during the admissions process. The challenge will help sustain that tradition by meeting the full financial need of Carolina Covenant-qualifying children of retired and active duty military personnel.

North Carolina ranks third in the nation with more than 96,000 active duty personnel stationed in the state as of December 2016. Each year, UNC-Chapel Hill enrolls hundreds of undergraduates affiliated with the military — many of whom have financial need. In the fall of 2016, the University enrolled 402 undergraduates with military ties; 55 qualified for the Carolina Covenant.


“As military dependents ourselves, we are excited to be able to honor our fathers and our families by establishing this program to benefit the children of military service members who wish to attend UNC and who qualify for the Carolina Covenant. Too often, we forget the many sacrifices made by the families of the military and we hope this program will, in some small way, say thank you to those families,” said Debbie Vetter.


UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to supporting veterans and military-affiliated students. In 2015, the University announced two initiatives to help service members and veterans succeed in the classroom — both on campus and online. UNC Core, a distance-learning program, provides active duty service members, veterans and National Guard and Reserve members with the opportunity to complete general education college courses on a flexible schedule. The full-time Student Veteran Assistance Program in the Office of the Dean of Students works across the University and state to help veterans navigate the higher education process. Programs in the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and the UNC School of Medicine help veterans to advance their careers after the military.


Launched in 2004, the Carolina Covenant scholarship program is a groundbreaking initiative that affords children of low-income families — many of whom are first-generation students — an opportunity to attend Carolina without borrowing a penny. The program supports UNC-Chapel Hill’s mission of staying truly public and provides intellectually driven, hard-working young individuals from low-income backgrounds the chance to study at one of the most prestigious public universities in the country – and the freedom to pave a future unburdened by college debt. Since its beginning, the scholarship program has enabled more than 6,000 high-performing, low-income students to attend Carolina and graduate debt-free.


The giving challenge and the Vetters’ $40 million total donation continue strong fundraising momentum for the Campaign for Carolina’s $4.25 billion fundraising goal, which seeks to foster an innovation generation prepared to lead the world to a better future through research and scholarship, example and ethos. This campaign is the largest in the Southeast and the second largest among public institutions in the nation.


“We are so grateful to the Vetters for a transformative gift that aligns with our core values, upholds Carolina’s commitment to excellence, accessibility and affordability, and also honors the men and women who bravely serve our country. With their gift and their challenge to the Carolina community, we will help enrich the lives of deserving students and their families,” said David Routh, vice chancellor for university development.




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.


Office of University Development: Kim Elenez, (919) 962-1628,

University Communications: Media Relations Office, (919) 445-8555,


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