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News Release:  For immediate use


Commitment from John G. Ellison Jr. triggers drive for faculty recruitment and retention funds


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Oct. 9, 2017) – Triggered by a $10 million gift from alumnus John G. Ellison, Jr., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has accepted a $10 million challenge to help retain and reward current outstanding faculty and attract extraordinary teachers, scholars and scientists to Carolina. Announced by Chancellor Carol L. Folt at an Oct. 6 gala celebrating the launch of “For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina,” the Faculty Excellence Challenge will support incentives such as salary supplements and research funds.


Running through Oct. 8, 2018, the challenge will enable the University to sustain the faculty’s current excellence and strategically grow its professoriate in key areas to enhance overall academic quality, strengthen the research enterprise, broaden innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives and better serve a growing undergraduate, graduate and professional student body. If met, the challenge will provide at least an additional $10 million for similar support.


“John’s extraordinary pledge jumpstarts the Faculty Excellence Challenge and supports our mission to attract, reward and retain talented faculty who open minds and change the lives of our students,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “John has been a dedicated Tar Heel volunteer and contributor to our university for decades. Thanks to his wonderful new investment in Carolina, we have the opportunity to champion our faculty whose dedicated work helps create our understanding of science, medicine and the humanities.”


Carolina has been focused on increased faculty recruitment and retention efforts, which has yielded stunning results in the last several years including retaining 79% of faculty and recruiting 94 new faculty (18 tenured, 76 tenure-track) in academic year 2015-2016. Ellison’s gift will further bolster these efforts to keep top scholars and researchers in Chapel Hill and bring new talent to campus.


The Faculty Excellence Challenge supports a key priority in the Campaign for Carolina — Faculty & Scholarship: The 21st Century Professoriate — which aims to raise funds to help the University attract, reward and retain top faculty amidst stiff competition from other institutions. It also supports the core pillars of the University’s overarching Blueprint for Next — “Of the Public, for the Public” and “Innovation Made Fundamental” — which uphold Carolina’s commitment to grow and evolve while remaining rooted in its public service mission.


“I have been fortunate in my life and career to have incredible teachers, mentors and leaders who invested their time and energy in my success, not just in the business world, but in every facet of my life,” said Ellison. “So many of those seminal individuals were my professors here, and their impact on my life has not only been profound, but it continues even today. I want that for every student who comes to Carolina, because they deserve it and society needs their leadership for our future.”


Ellison, of Greensboro, who also committed artwork valued at more than $11.5 million to the Ackland Art Museum, is chairman of Ellison Co. Inc. A Campaign for Carolina Steering Committee co-chair, Ellison has served on multiple University boards, including the UNC Board of Visitors and the UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board. He concluded an eight-year tenure on the Board of Trustees in 2011.

The giving challenge and Ellison’s $21.5 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.




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, 110 master’s, 64 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.


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

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

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