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Vetter gift leads the way for students

Steve and Debbie Vetter stand with Chancellor Folt celebrating their 40 million dollar campaign gift to UNC

Steve Vetter (BSBA ’78) and Debbie Vetter (ABED ’78) of Greensboro, North Carolina, made a gift commitment totaling $40 million to the University of North Carolina. Their gift was announced at the launch of “For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina.”

The Vetters’ gift includes $10 million to support UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. It also includes $20 million to support the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, and $10 million to support Carolina Athletics.

At UNC Kenan-Flagler, the Vetters’ gift will go toward the Dean’s Fellows Program, which focuses on attracting and nurturing an engaged community of leaders dedicated to the success of the Business School and each other. About 25-35 of the very top students receive the Dean’s Fellows designation each year, including many who have been admitted to other highly ranked schools.

Their gift will name the program and support several of its key initiatives, including experiential leadership training, a Leadership Workshop Series that develops consulting and project management skills, and a mentoring program connecting incoming Dean’s Fellows with young alumni.

“The Steve and Debbie Vetter Dean’s Fellows program is our way of showing gratitude to UNC Kenan-Flagler for contributing to and ultimately enabling our career success,” said Steve Vetter, CEO and chairman of the board of Ennis-Flint, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of road marking materials for the highway safety industry.

“Inevitably, Dean’s Fellows recipients will graduate from UNC Kenan-Flagler and take their position as leaders in the world,” said Vetter.  “My hope is they remember the role the Dean’s Fellows program played in their success and someday, take steps to contribute to enabling others to follow in their footsteps.”

“We are so grateful to the Vetters for their transformational gift in support of our Leadership campaign priority,” said Doug Shackelford (BSBA ’80), dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “Our Dean’s Fellows Program helps us attract and support the very best students by offering a substantive and enriching program to accompany fellowship awards.”

The Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will support need-based aid for the children of service men and women. Running through October 2019, the challenge will further open the door to a world-class, Carolina education for students from military families who qualify for the Carolina Covenant.

If met by Oct. 7, 2019, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will provide $40 million in total to create scholarship opportunities for students from military families. Recipients of their gift will be recognized as Steve and Debbie Vetter Military Family Scholars.

 “As military dependents ourselves, we are excited to be able to honor our fathers and our families by establishing this program to benefit the children of military service members who wish to attend UNC and who qualify for the Carolina Covenant. Too often, we forget the many sacrifices made by the families of the military and we hope this program will, in some small way, say thank you to those families,” said Debbie Vetter.

UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to supporting veterans and military-affiliated students. Programs at UNC Kenan-Flagler and the UNC School of Medicine help veterans advance their careers after the military.

The Vetters’ $40 million total donation continues strong fundraising momentum for the Campaign for Carolina’s $4.25 billion fundraising goal, which seeks to foster an innovation generation prepared to lead the world to a better future through research and scholarship, example and ethos. This campaign is the largest in the Southeast and the second largest among public institutions in the nation.