Chansky’s Notebook: Amazing Support for Carolina

Another record-breaking year for Carolina.

In the wake of the NCAA investigation into UNC academics coming to an end, alumni and friends of the university have set new records for giving money to their school. Those two things might be unrelated, but I don’t think so. At a time when unbridled support for Carolina was necessary, individual, corporate and foundational donors stepped up big time on both sides of the plate.

UNC development under new director David Routh topped last year’s record $447 million by nearly 50 million to $495 million, thanks to nearly 60,000 donors and 12 who gave more than $5 million each for $139 million of the total. There were gifts of $12 million by a married couple and $7.5 million by an anonymous donor. Money was earmarked for Lineberger Cancer Center, Carolina Performing Arts, to starting community service scholarships and fellowships; to Arts and Sciences to create distinguished professorships in the communications and history departments.

Not be outdone, the Rams Club under John Montgomery and his staff was part of the record-setting fiscal 2015-16, raising the most money in its 38-year history, financing scholarships for more than 450 athletes and capital improvements to the tune of $62 million, topping its previous best year by more than 10 million bucks. Rams Club members provided $15 million for capital projects, or facilities, and 17 million for team support, which increases the budgets of individual programs.

Now you may say all this is just a coincidence, but I say it is Carolina alumni and supporters and fans reacting to five years of bad publicity stemming from the NCAA invasion that began back in 2010. For critics and foes with an ax to grind who predicted the demise of UNC athletics as well as damaging verdicts from the various accreditation bureaus, these numbers must be sobering news.

Yes, Lew Margolis, UNC’s mission is on the education and research side more than it is fielding winning teams. But whoever said a high profile athletic department is the front porch of its university was right in this case, as the support for UNC started there and went on inside the house that is now much stronger for such amazing generosity.

Date Set for Late Night with Roy

While the college football season is set to get underway for UNC next weekend, the official start date of the Carolina men’s basketball season has been announced.

UNC will host the annual Late Night with Roy event at the Dean Smith Center on October 14.

Late Night With Roy

ESPN’s Sage Steele: Photo via Smith Cameron Photography

Late Night with Roy is full of sketches all leading up to the first sanctioned practice the men’s basketball team is allowed to have, which is usually in the form of a light-hearted scrimmage more fit for an NBA All-Star Game environment than a Roy Williams-led practice.

Kenny Smith, former Tar Heel and current analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA, served as host last of Late Night in 2015. ESPN’s Sage Steele also made a special appearance at the festivities last season.

The 2015 event also included a tribute to UNC alumnus and famous ESPN personality Stuart Scott. Scott served as the energetic host of Late Night with Roy many times but passed away in 2015 from cancer.

There is no official word on who will host the event this fall.

Late Night With Roy

Stuart Scott’s family: Photo via Smith Cameron Photography

This year’s UNC team will be odd for Tar Heel fans with no Marcus Paige or Brice Johnson. But Carolina will return several key pieces to a team that lost on a buzzer beater in the National Championship game last season.

Marcus Paige Signs Contract with Utah Jazz

Former UNC guard Marcus Paige has signed a contract with the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz, the team announced on Monday.

The Jazz took the four-year Tar Heel in the second round of the NBA draft earlier this summer.

Paige averaged more than 13 points and four assists per game during his time in Chapel Hill, including leading UNC to the National Championship game as a senior.

Paige played for Utah’s summer league teams, where he averaged seven points an 1.6 assists while playing nearly 20 minutes a game over the nine-game stretch.

The signing doesn’t guarantee Paige a position on the full Jazz roster when the season starts, but it means he will have an opportunity to prove his worth as training camp approaches.

Paige will wear No. 16 for the Jazz.

Two Weekend Wins Get UNC Women’s Soccer Off to Undefeated Start

A pair of shutouts over the weekend vaulted the ninth-ranked UNC women’s soccer team to an undefeated start to the new season.

UNC took on the University of Central Florida in the season-opening match on Friday night as part of the 2016 Carolina Nike Classic at Fetzer Field.

Two second-half goals – one each from Sarah Ashley Firstenberg and Alex Kimball – gave the Tar Heels all the fire power they would need to get a 2-0 result and the team’s first win of the season.

UNC returned to Fetzer Field on Sunday for a matchup with UNC – Charlotte.

Carolina got off to a quick start in Sunday’s contest with a goal to put UNC up 1-0 in just the seventh minute of game action on the strength of a Hanna Gardner goal.

The game stayed at 1-0 throughout a majority of the game. With about 10 minutes left in the game, UNC put home an insurance goal off the foot of Zoe Redei. Less than three minutes later, the fate of the game was sealed when Cameron Castleberry put home a penalty kick for the Tar Heels to reach the final 3-0 scoring line.

Duke women’s soccer also won both of its games in the Classic over the weekend beating Wofford 9-1 and UCF 3-1.

UNC now travels to Florida for a pair of matchups in the Sunshine State, playing Florida Gulf Coast on Friday and Florida Atlantic on Sunday.

UNC No. 22 in Preseason AP Top 25

After spending much of the 2015 season waiting to crack the top 25 football rankings, the UNC Tar Heels have no such wait this year.

The preseason Associated Press top 25 poll was released Sunday, and UNC checked in at No. 22.

Clemson is the top-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference team at second overall, following the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Following Clemson, Oklahoma is ranked third, Florida State fourth and LSU rounds out the top five.

Louisville (19) and UNC (22) are the other ACC representatives in the top 25.

UNC will open its season on Saturday, September 3, when the Tar Heels will take on No. 18 Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome.

UNC Sets Record Fundraising Total…Again

UNC received a record-breaking $495 million in commitments in fiscal year 2016.

This is the second consecutive year that UNC set a new fundraising record, eclipsing last year’s total by nearly $50 million.

“Today’s results – the highest level of fundraising support in the University’s 222-year history – is a proud moment for Carolina,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “To have achieved back-to-back record years speaks volumes about our donors’ incredible commitment. Their investment helps ensure that future generations of Tar Heels are equipped with the knowledge, resources and opportunities to leave their mark on North Carolina and the world.”

Last year’s record was aided by a $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman – whose name now appears on UNC’s School of Pharmacy, which was rated No. 1 in this past year’s News & World Report numbers. But UNC officials were always quick to point out that the university would have eclipsed its previous record, even without the Eshelman gift.

Now the fundraisers will have a new goal to shoot for.

Twelve donors contributed gifts of more than $5 million and totaled $139 million of the $495 million total.

“We are profoundly grateful to our donors, whose steadfast support of the University’s teaching, research and public service mission has helped us reach this fundraising hallmark,” said David Routh, vice chancellor for university development.

Chapel Hill Prepares for Population Spike with New UNC Students

With the start of classes at UNC set for next Tuesday, it is sure to be a busy weekend around Chapel Hill.

Students living on campus have been slowly moving in since the middle of the week, but the bulk will be moving in over the weekend.

Ahead of the expectedly packed roadways, the Town of Chapel Hill is asking for patience on roadways around the town from residents and those helping move in new students.

Chapel Hill Transit also instituted some schedule adjustments this week in anticipation of the growing town population.

The 13th year of the Good Neighbor Initiative is also working to acquaint year-round residents with their part-time neighbors with an event on Monday.

The university said previously it expected the class of first-year students to be around 4,000.

Find out more from the town here.

UNC 35th in New Academic Ranking of World Universities

UNC checks in at No. 35 in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities released this week by the Center for World Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Ton University.

While ranking at No. 35 in the world, UNC is at No. 25 among institutions in the United States.

UNC’s executive vice provost and chief international officer Ron Strauss said in a release that this shows the global impact of work being done on the Chapel Hill campus.

“UNC’s performance in this ranking is a reflection of the research being done by Carolina’s faculty and students on a global scale. We are proud to be considered a world-class institution.”

UNC is up from 39th in the rankings in 2015. Harvard University led the 2016 rankings, followed by Stanford University and the University of California – Berkley.

ARWU has released a ranking of the best 500 universities worldwide every year since 2003. The placement is determined by a method including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Field Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in nature and science, papers indexed in major citation indices and the per capita academic performance of an institution.

See the full rankings here.

UNC’s Jaycee Burn Center Awarded FEMA Research Grant

The North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center is receiving a federal grant.

The burn center in the UNC School of Medicine’s Surgery Department has been awarded the $295,298 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant was announced Wednesday by North Carolina’s Fourth District United States Congressman David Price, who is the former chairman and current senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee.

Price released a statement after announcing the award.

“I am thrilled that the Jaycee Burn Center has received this funding, which will help prevent dangerous house fires and ensure that first responders have the resources and training they need to effectively treat burn victims. The research conducted by the Jaycee Center – especially their work with low-income and other vulnerable populations – provides a great public health service to our state’s residents and can save lives.”

Chair of the UNC Medical Center’s Department of Surgery Dr. Melina Kibbe said the school was honored to receive the award.

“As Chair of a leading public academic department of surgery, I could not be more proud of the work of our people in the Burn Center. Burn prevention and education remains a critically important issue for our state and the nation and so I am very grateful and appreciative for this recognition and grant award from FEMA.”

The burn center is described as “the nation’s leading center for burn research,” in a release announcing the grant. The federal funding will go toward “identifying at-risk populations who could benefit from fire safety education and early warning devices and conducting first responder trainings to improve pre-hospital treatment of burn victims.”

Burn center medical director Dr. Bruce Cairs, who is also chair of the faculty at UNC, and burn outreach director Earnest Grant will direct that research.

UNC Pharmacy Dean Receives National Award

Dean of UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Robert Blouin received high honor for his work within the field.

Blouin was named the 2016 Parker Medalist presented as the College’s Paul F. Parker Medal for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Pharmacy.

Under Blouin’s leadership, the school has been recognized as the number one-rated pharmacy school in the country and as an international leader of clinical pharmacy practice, education and research.

The Parker Medal has recognized many professionals for their outstanding contributions to improve patient outcomes, advance innovative practices and much more.

Blouin has received many awards in addition to the Parker Medal, including the UNC General Alumni Association Faculty Service Award and the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy Hall of Distinguished Alumni Award, just to name a few.

Blouin will be presented the award during the Opening General Session at the 2016 ACCP Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida on October 23.