Quintiles Exec Donates $50 Million to UNC

Posted February 21, 2007
Updated February 22, 2007

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— The founder of pharmaceutical services company Quintiles Transnational Corp. have agreed to donate $50 million to the University of North Carolina.

Dennis Gillings and his wife, Joan Gillings, have pledged the money to UNC's School of Public Health, Chancellor James Moeser announced Wednesday. The gift is the largest donation in UNC's history, and the university will rename the school the Dennis and Joan Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dennis Gillings is a former UNC biostatistics professor and a current member of the school's Advisory Council. He serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of Durham-based Quintiles.

"The Gillings' gift will be transformative," School of Public Health Dean Barbara K. Rimer said in a statement. "We at the school and the Gillingses share a commitment to solve public health problems in North Carolina and around the world, and we want these solutions to come faster and be more sustainable."

The donation will allow the school to create Innovation Laboratories, which will focus on solving major public health problems, such as delivering clean water to many people in developing countries,  Rimer said.

The pledge put UNC over its $2 billion goal for the Carolina First Campaign. The drive, which will end Dec. 31, supports UNC's effort to become the nation's leading public university.

"This history-making commitment exemplifies what we aim to achieve with Carolina First," Moeser said in the statement. "It will greatly extend the university's ability to innovate public health solutions across North Carolina and around the world. UNC is committed to global education, and our School of Public Health is one of the best in the world."

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  • Rumpole Feb 25, 2007

    After all, what will be next? Will African tribes be called "Dennis & Joan Gillings" if they receive "gifts" enabling them to have clean water? Will an entire country have to be renamed "Bob & Betty Jones" in return for help? It used to be that philanthropy was, well, philanthropy! One gave to Oxfam or Greenpeace etc, and was satisfied with the outcome. Now it's Bill & Melinda this, Dennis & Joan that, what on earth is happening? At least Bloomberg didn't demand that the Johns Hopkins SPH be renamed the Michael & Susan Bloomberg School of Global Public Health!

  • Rumpole Feb 25, 2007

    While most students & faculty agree that the money offer is great, in principle, most opinions towards the methods are negative towards the real impacts. There are rumors that Gillings has demanded that all PhD candidates now take a mandatory Economics course. Since when did Gillings become the Dean of SPH? As for the Global theme, most of the "incentives" fan faired by Dean Rimer seemed to be knee-jerk, as opposed to putting SPH on the map. When one really examines this donation & not to mention the tax breaks Gillings will benefit, it seems that there are some quite unorthodox factors, bordering the sinister even. It beggars belief, and is a sad state of affairs that such "philanthropy" is tainted by the tending the narcisstic desires of the philanthropists. If they want to give, then they should give fully, & without measures.

  • Rumpole Feb 25, 2007

    Yes, seemingly generous. Will the funds be given up-front? No! Just like the whole Gates foundation fiasco, most of the people these "commitments" are pledged to, receive only a small percentage of the actual amount, or, put differently, enough to appease the IRS. The second, perhaps more disturbing aspect of this "commitment" is the renaming of the UNC-SPH after Gillings and his wife. If it had to be done, why not Gillings School of Global Public Health, or better, why not just give the money in a more honorable, less public, way? The third problem is that Gillings Company is effectively a drug-trial facilitator. What would happen to the UNC-SPH's previously great name, if his firm was connected with a drug found to be causing, e.g. death to babies? Finally, not once did the SPH canvass its students, or indeed the tax-payers who support UNC, to ask whether or not these reward mechanisms were agreeable to them. After all, they are also the ones who count, no?

  • Tarheeljunior Feb 21, 2007

    $50 million. Wow! Incrediably generous. Sure Trumps the measely $10 million Bill Gates just gave to Duke. People just love UNC, what can we say?