News & Messages

Message from Chancellor Folt on accolades, updates and activities

Dear Campus Community:

I wanted to share some accolades and important updates about activities taking place around our campus.

I am always delighted when there is news about recognition for the University.

Just last week, many of our graduate programs earned recognition in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools. I’m so proud that our Eshelman School of Pharmacy earned the top spot in Doctor of Pharmacy programs.

Every day, we continue to announce breakthrough research that has the potential to save countless lives. In a first for medical science, Carolina pharmacy researchers turned skin cells into cancer-hunting stem cells that destroy deadly remnants of brain tumors that may be left behind when the tumor is removed. This groundbreaking discovery is one of the most recent innovations to come from our labs.

For the first time, Carolina has two students who were awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships in the same year. Larry Han and Matthew Leming earned the scholarships, which provide full support for graduate study at the University of Cambridge. Another Carolina student will also study at Cambridge. Blake Hauser has been named a recipient of the Churchill Scholarships, a research-focused award that provides funding to American students for a year of master’s study in science, mathematics and engineering at Churchill College, based at the University of Cambridge.

Three Carolina faculty members — Zhen Gu, Jillian Dempsey and Alexander Miller — have received a 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a two-year grant given to early-career scientists and scholars whose distinguished performance and unique potential identifies them as rising stars and the next generation of scientific leaders.

In February, the men’s tennis team won its first ITA National Team Indoor Championship, defeating top-ranked Virginia. And in March, the men’s basketball team won the ACC Championship.

These examples are just a few of the many ways that Carolina continues to earn important recognition for accomplishments across all parts of our University community.

The key initiatives from the town hall on race and inclusion are still on my mind, and our working groups are making steady progress. Two advisory committees appointed by the History Task Force are considering concepts for an exhibit at Carolina Hall and developing ways to use McCorkle Place as an educational resource.

To help us understand how the campus community experiences diversity and inclusion, a climate survey is set to open on March 29. The survey will first be offered for students and staff, and a faculty assessment will occur in the next academic year. Watch for more details and please let your voice be heard by responding to the survey.

Margaret Spellings began her role as President of the UNC System and she has embarked on a listening tour across the UNC System. I am looking forward to her visit and the opportunity for her to learn more about Carolina, our dedicated people and our mission.

Last week, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly said yes to the $2 billion bond initiative that will support a number of building projects across the UNC system, including $68 million for a new medical education building here at Carolina. I am so grateful to the voters for supporting higher education, and helping us to be able to train more doctors for our state.

March brings Women’s History Month. I have been very fortunate in my career to encounter so many successful women across higher education, public service and business, and I have learned important lessons from all of them. One example is Anne-Marie Slaughter, a critically acclaimed author and trailblazing public leader, who will deliver the Commencement address here at Carolina on May 8. Head of a non-partisan think tank, she is an exceptional thinker and leader who is devoted to solving real life challenges related to work, family and leadership. She has inspired me and I know that students, too, will find her motivating.

To our seniors, you are almost done with your undergraduate work. I think this is the most beautiful time of year in Chapel Hill and hope you will take time to enjoy our campus and your friends here as you prepare to take the next steps in your journey, whether you enter the job market, further your education or embark on public service.

I look forward to sharing more updates with everyone later in the semester.