Ex-Charlotte mayor gives $1M to UNC

Posted June 19, 2009 3:30 p.m. EDT

— Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot and his wife, Judy, have pledged $1 million to the University of North Carolina to support the School of Government, officials said Friday.

The gift, the largest commitment by an individual to the school to date, is in honor of Richard Vinroot's friend and mentor, Robert W. Bradshaw Jr.

Two-thirds of the donation will be matched by the state's Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to create the $1 million Robert W. Bradshaw Jr. Distinguished Professorship, which will support a faculty member who teaches, advises and publishes in local and state government fields like local government law and finance, courts and criminal justice, health and human services, taxation and public employment.

The remaining $334,000 will establish the Robert W. Bradshaw Jr. Public Administration Fellowship, providing financial aid to a student or students in the Master of Public Administration program.

Bradshaw is a former chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

"Bob Bradshaw spent many years encouraging good people to enter public service and then mentoring them once they did so," Richard Vinroot said in a statement. "Wonderful examples of this are former Gov. Jim Martin and Ninth District Congressman Alex McMillan, both of whom are among Bob's proteges. I'm most grateful for what Bob did for me personally, but more so for what he's done for everyone in North Carolina throughout his professional life."

Vinroot served on the Charlotte City Council from 1983 to 1991 and was mayor of Charlotte from 1991 to 1995. He was the Republican candidate for governor of North Carolina in 2000, losing to former Gov. Mike Easley.

"This historic gift will support two important aspects of our work: the faculty who teach and advise government officials every day, and the graduate students who become public service leaders in local and state government, as well as in federal agencies and nonprofit organizations in North Carolina and throughout the country," Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government, said in a statement.

"The fellowship will help us attract the highest quality students interested in public service," Smith said.

UNC's Master's in Public Administration program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as sixth in city management and 10th overall among public administration graduate programs in the U.S.