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Signature Initiatives

From left: Cal Cunningham ’96 ’99 (Law), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and moderator and Program for Public Discourse faculty director Sarah Treul, a Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Political Science, during the Abbey Speaker Series event on Nov. 10. (Cammel Hurse)

A Healthy Culture of Discourse

The UNC Program for Public Discourse supports a culture of debate and deliberation through curricular and extracurricular programs, enabling Carolina students to be better citizens, leaders and stewards of our democracy. A signature feature of the program is the popular Abbey Speaker Series.
Lesley Estrada

Fostering a Global Mindset

“Carolina is a microcosm of the world, and it is important for students to seek out and access as many different backgrounds and cultures as they can,” Michael-Bryant Hicks ’96 said. “I want to take away any number of fears that may prevent a student — who grew up like me — from studying abroad.”
Theo Dingemans, principal investigator for the Sustainable Access to Clean Water Creativity Hub, works alongside Anna Fraser, a PhD candidate in the chemistry department on November 6, 2019 on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The project aims to use the convergent science approach to bring different groups across campus together to tackle large, global issues (Photo By Jeyhoun Allebaugh).

Institute for Convergent Science. Ready. Set. Go.

The Edwards Family Fund for Excellence in Convergent Science was created by Rob ’89 and his wife, Leigh Edwards ’90, to help provide valuable startup resources for the Institute for Convergent Science. This funding helps to move ideas from basic research into transformative applications for society.
Agustin Orozco (photo by Donn Young)

Southern Voices, Future Leaders

“Undergraduate students are walking onto our campus with a voice, with ideas, with a set of commitments to their communities,” said Elizabeth Engelhardt. “During the time that they’re here, our job is to help them focus their voice to become that future leader in the South.”
Paloma Ruiz

Preparing the Future Scientists of Tomorrow

“A lot of students of color and minorities in STEM can slip through the cracks,” Paloma Ruiz ’22 said. “More than anything, I think the Chancellor’s Science Scholars shows students like me that we belong in science, and we deserve to be here.”

Pillar of Chapel Hill Community Leaves Gift to College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

Robert E. Seymour Jr. was a champion of social justice who led a congregation that challenged racial segregation and advocated on behalf of the aged and poor. Seymour died in 2020 at age 95, leaving a gift in his estate to the College of Arts and Sciences.
Katherine, Rebecca and Robert (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Balter)

Gift to Honor a Husband and Father’s Legacy

A desire to support and value the pursuit of equity in the liberal arts inspired a gift to encourage diversity in the field of philosophy, on campus and beyond.
Students in the Summer Bridge program pose for a portrait with Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz on July 25, 2022, at the Old Well on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Building a Bridge to Success at Carolina

Summer Bridge is a six-week transition program that is designed to ease participants’ personal and academic transition from high school to Carolina. The program is open to all admitted incoming first-year students from North Carolina.
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, then dean of the College (left), celebrated Alex Yong and Wendi Sturgis’ gift at Carolina’s campaign kickoff in October 2018. The couple’s support benefits scholarships, the Writing and Learning Center and diversity initiatives in the department of computer science. (photo by Jafar Fallahi)

Paying It Forward

“We believe strongly that all college students, no matter their background, should have every resource available to ensure their ultimate success,” said Alex Yong ’90
“I took two classes in San Cristóbal, one on immigration to the United States from Latin America and one on Latin American literature. We traveled to various beaches on the island, several giant tortoise reservations and to Santa Cruz, another island in the archipelago. I told my friends and family that there were so many ‘best parts’ of the trip — the food, the friends I made, the immigration course, the amazing views and weather, my super sweet host family, the friendly citizens of Puerto Baquerizo — I could go on. “The experience opened my eyes to a completely different way of life, while simultaneously making me appreciate the culture and living conditions of the United States. The course on immigration taught me a lot about the violent and desperate conditions that cause Latin Americans to immigrate to the United States. Additionally, it showed me how complex the process of legal immigration is and the various ways in which Latino immigrants are exploited in the United States. Still, despite all these barriers and threats, many choose to immigrate. Learning this from a perspective outside of the U.S. really brought home this idea to me because I was separated from many things that I take for granted in the U.S. I did not expect that through study abroad, I would gain an appreciation for my home country.” - Trevor Pharr ’23, a music and chemistry double major

A Plan and a Partnership

John and Marree Townsend’s commitments to UNC-Chapel Hill over the years have been both plentiful and purposeful — and none more so than their gift to the College of Arts and Sciences to establish the Townsend Family Strategic Initiatives Fund.