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In the memorable words of Class of 1955 Carolina alumnus Charles Kuralt: “Our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the People.”From the beginning, the state of North Carolina made a commitment to higher education, to the University and to every citizen according to our charter:

“…it is the indispensable duty of every Legislature to consult the happiness of a rising generation, and endeavor to fit them for an honorable discharge of the social duties of life, by paying the strictest attention to their education: And whereas a university supported by permanent funds, and well endowed, would have the most direct tendency to answer the above purpose…”

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Act Establishing the University of North Carolina, 1789
North Carolina General Assembly

Carolina’s strong philanthropic tradition began with the gift of the land on which the campus sits. Visionary leaders galvanized support statewide for its growth, helping to establish leading schools of education, medicine, business and law, as well as bolster athletic programs. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the modern era of significant legislative appropriations began. University-wide fundraising for academics began in 1952 when the Office of University Development was created.

In the late 1970s, the University launched the Carolina Challenge Campaign, the first University-wide fundraising effort. In 1989, the Bicentennial Campaign for Carolina launched, at the time the largest University-wide campaign in Carolina’s history. The six-year effort was a tremendous success, surpassing the original goal of $320 million with $440.2 million raised, including $135 million added to the University’s endowment.

During the campaign, development combined centralized (Office of University Development) and decentralized (schools and units) organizational models. This hybrid design worked well and continued into the Carolina First Campaign, which finished as the fifth largest drive among completed campaigns at that time in the history of U.S. higher education. Running from July 1999 to December 2007, Carolina First raised $2.38 billion.

UNC’s vice chancellor for development oversees university-wide development efforts. The Office of University Development and individual schools and units on campus drive fundraising efforts and collaborate on pan-University projects and donors with multiple affinity areas. University Development provides a number of advancement services, including gift processing, donor research, gift planning, marketing and communications, corporate and foundation relations, talent acquisition and management, and special events.