Nearly $22M gift to UNC will help fund jour­nal­ism, medicine, sports

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY JANE STAN­CILL js­tan­[email protected]­sob­server.com Jane Stan­cill: 919- 829- 4559; @janes­tancill

The Cur­tis Foun­da­tion of Raleigh has given $21.75 mil­lion to UNCChapel Hill, in­clud­ing $10 mil­lion to the UNC School of Me­dia and Jour­nal­ism, its largest ever gift, the uni­ver­sity an­nounced Fri­day.

The foun­da­tion is headed by broad­cast ex­ec­u­tive and UNC 1963 alum­nus Don Cur­tis of Raleigh. Cur­tis and his wife, Bar­bara, de­cided to make the do­na­tion to the uni­ver­sity to sup­port jour­nal­ism, med­i­cal re­search and ath­let­ics.

Of the to­tal, $8 mil­lion will go to­ward a new build­ing, the Cur­tis Me­dia Cen­ter, that will fea­ture new tech­nol­ogy and a flex­i­ble space for pro­duc­tion, team projects and other uses. It can be used by stu­dents in other pro­grams, as well as those in the me­dia and jour­nal­ism school. An­other $2 mil­lion will go to a fund to sup­port ca­reer and ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties for stu­dents.

Dean Su­san King said the fa­cil­ity will be a glass struc­ture so that stu­dents pass­ing by can see the work go­ing on in­side. Plans have not been fi­nal­ized but the build­ing is ex­pected to be lo­cated near the jour­nal­ism school.

“It couldn’t be a bet­ter time to have such a boost,” King said in an in­ter­view, ref­er­enc­ing a time of duress in the jour­nal­ism in­dus­try. “This is some­one who is say­ing, ‘Me­dia is alive and well, jour­nal­ism is im­por­tant to the civic di­a­logue,’ and every stu­dent on this cam­pus will be able to see that we are a cen­ter­piece of this in­dus­try.”

Cur­tis is chair­man and CEO of the Cur­tis Me­dia Group, which owns dozens of ra­dio sta­tions around the state. He is a for­mer mem­ber of the UNC Board of Trus­tees and chaired the UNC Gen­eral Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion from 2011 to 2012, ac­cord­ing to the uni­versi- ty.

Bar­bara Cur­tis is a mem­ber of the UNC Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Board of Ad­vi­sors and the board of the Med­i­cal Foun­da­tion of North Carolina. Their daugh­ter, Donna McClatchey, is a 1993 grad­u­ate of the UNC School of Me­dia and Jour­nal­ism.

In an in­ter­view, Don Cur­tis said he viewed the do­na­tion as a pay­back to the uni­ver­sity, and to the state.

“The role of the jour­nal­ism school and me­dia and jour­nal­ism in Chapel Hill is go­ing to be re­ally im­por­tant as we have this age of con­ver­gence and learn how to use all the tools at our dis­posal to get sto­ries out, to get in­for­ma­tion out,” he said.

“I just feel like it’s time to give back,” he added.

In a state­ment, UNC Chan­cel­lor Carol Folt said the Cur­tis gift would keep the jour­nal­ism school on the cut­ting edge.

“With the largest gift in the School of Me­dia and Jour­nal­ism’s his­tory, the Cur­tis fam­ily is pass­ing on his legacy to the next gen­er­a­tion of jour­nal­ists, cre­at­ing spa­ces for in­no­va­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion among our stu­dents and fac­ulty,” Folt’s state­ment said. “Their gen­eros­ity and com­mit­ment to Carolina, from ath­let­ics fields to the hos­pi­tal and class­rooms, is re­mark­able.”

Other gifts from the Cur­tis Foun­da­tion in­clude:

$3 mil­lion for the UNC

School of Medicine and UNC Hos­pi­tals for pa­tient care and re­search.

$3 mil­lion for UNC

ath­let­ics.

$5.275 mil­lion for the

uni­ver­sity for uses to be de­ter­mined later.

The do­na­tions from the Cur­tis fam­ily are part of the uni­ver­sity’s mul­ti­year $4.25 bil­lion fund-rais­ing cam­paign.

UNC-Chapel Hill

Don Cur­tis, Dean Su­san King of the UNC School of Me­dia and Jour­nal­ism and Chan­cel­lor Carol Folt sign doc­u­ments re­lated to the Cur­tis Foun­da­tion gift of $21.75 mil­lion.

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