UNC to raise money for scholarships in memory of Dean Smith

Dean Smith
Dean Smith

UNC-Chapel Hill has launched a fund raising campaign to establish scholarships honoring Dean Smith, the late men’s basketball coach.

The university announced the effort Tuesday and said the move was made in consultation with the family of Smith, who died Feb. 7.

The campaign will raise money for the Dean E. Smith Opening Doors Fund, which will create scholarships for low-income undergraduates, as well as professionals pursuing advanced degrees in education and social work.

Smith was the coach of the Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997, retiring as the winningest coach in college basketball. He also was a champion of civil rights.

The campaign will solicit endowment gifts to generate revenue in perpetuity. Based on current attendance costs at UNC, the fund will provide annual $5,000 need-based scholarships for undergraduate students; graduate awards will be up to $30,000 annually for a full scholarship. The campaign has no set goal or duration, but the first scholarships could be awarded this fall.

The university will match all gifts dollar for dollar with non-state funds that Chancellor Carol Folt can use at her discretion, leveraging the impact of donor contributions. The matching dollars will support the undergraduate scholarships.