“I have been fortunate in my life and career to have incredible teachers, mentors and leaders who invested their time and energy in my success, not just in the business world, but in every facet of my life. So many of those seminal individuals were my professors here, and their impact on my life has not only been profound, but it continues even today. I want that for every student who comes to Carolina, because they deserve it and society needs their leadership for our future.”
Like so many Carolina alums, Greensboro native John Ellison ’69 ’72 (M.B.A.) can quickly recall the professors who shaped his life. James Godfrey, Joel Williamson, William S. Powell, J. Carlyle Sitterson. Lessons learned in the classroom have stayed with him across a successful 40-year business career.
Tenures on several advisory boards at Carolina — the Board of Trustees, the Board of Visitors and most recently, the Campaign Steering Committee, among others — have provided Ellison opportunities to make sure UNC-Chapel Hill students continue to receive the support and mentorship of the most distinguished educators. A game-changing gift from Ellison will ensure the best faculty members remain in Chapel Hill for years ahead.
This is story number 84 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.
With a $10 million gift in October 2017, Ellison launched a $10 million challenge to help retain and reward current outstanding faculty and attract extraordinary teachers, scholars and scientists to Carolina. The Faculty Excellence Challenge will support incentives such as salary supplements and research funds. Ellison also committed artwork valued at more than $11.5 million to the Ackland Art Museum.