Chancellor's Spotlight

Unprecedented Academic Year

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz shares a few updates about the extraordinary work being accomplished at Carolina during these unprecedented times.

Kevin guskiewicz

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz shares a few updates about the extraordinary work being accomplished at Carolina during these unprecedented times.

April 13, 2020

Fellow Tar Heels,

As we near the end of an unprecedented academic year, I am reminded each day of how grateful I am to be a Tar Heel and the chancellor of this incredible university. The Carolina community is stepping up to the challenge of these difficult times, and I want to share a few updates about the extraordinary work being accomplished and highlight ways you can support it.

Health care workers — across our state, nation and world — are serving on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19. They are doing heroic work and will face severe tests in the coming weeks and months. I encourage you to support the life-saving mission of those working in the UNC Health system by giving to UNC Health’s COVID-19 Response FundOpens in new window. The fund targets a range of needs, from personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses on the frontlines to care for their families at home.

The fund will also provide laboratory equipment and other critical materials to support our researchers working around the clock to develop new tests and treatments — researchers like Dr. Melissa Miller, director of the Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology Labs at the UNC Medical Center. She and her team created a COVID-19 diagnostic test now being used to diagnose UNC Health patients across the state. Most crucially, the test returns results in a matter of hours, enabling us to move quickly to treat patients who have the disease and reassure those who test negative.

Carolina’s more than $1.1 billion research enterprise has made us one of the most innovative universities in the world. While focused on the current challenge, we continue to look ahead: Our schools of pharmacy, medicine and public health, as well as the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, have partnered with the Structural Genomics Consortium to launch the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative, or READDI, which aims to invest $125 million to prevent future pandemics. Efforts like this attest to why a Microsoft Academic rating system recently ranked Carolina as the No. 1 university in the U.S. for coronavirus research.

While work in our laboratories doubles down, the academic side of campus has transitioned to remote instruction with 97% of our spring courses being offered online. Not only have our faculty accepted the challenge, they have seized it as an opportunity to respondOpens in new window to the even greater challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic itself. At the same time, the pandemic has created financial hardships for many of our students and their families. We launched the Carolina Student Impact Fund to help students like Michaela Barnette get through these difficult days and focus on their future. The fund has benefitted more than 600 students as of April 14, with more than $507,000 disbursed. I hope you will consider donating. If you know a Carolina student — undergraduate, graduate or professional — who needs help, direct them to this online applicationOpens in new window.

Charles Kuralt ’55 once called Carolina a “conspiracy of good people,” and that has never been more true. Know that Carolina is here for you. We are in this together.


Kevin M. Guskiewicz, Chancellor

Campaign for Carolina Priorities