Alumnus Don Curtis donates more than $21 million to UNC Chapel Hill

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Saturday, November 3, 2018
10 million given to UNC school of journalism
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10 million given to UNC school of journalism

UNC Chapel Hill graduate, Don Curtis, who created an empire of radio stations across North Carolina is donating $21.275 million to his alma mater.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt made the announcement as Barbara and Don Curtis joined Folt on stage representing the Curtis Foundation.

The donation includes a $10 million gift for the UNC School of Media and Journalism. The university plans to build a new state-of-the-art media center.

The donation also gives $3 million to the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals, $3 million to the UNC Athletics department and $5.275 million to fund future needs.

"These gifts are as much for the state of North Carolina as for the University," said Don Curtis. "For all my life, the University of North Carolina has been the primary driver of progress and change. As a result, North Carolina can hold its head high as a national leader. I can think of no better investment than in medical research and the media to ensure that this progress continues and to see that North Carolina can provide the proper leadership for the future."

Curtis is a 1963 graduate of UNC.

"From his first days at Carolina, Don Curtis has dedicated his life to pioneering work in broadcast journalism," said Chancellor Carol Folt. "With the largest gift in the School of Media and Journalism's history, the Curtis family is passing on his legacy to the next generation of journalists, creating spaces for innovation and collaboration among our students and faculty. Their generosity and commitment to Carolina, from athletics fields to the hospital and classrooms, is remarkable. This gift will keep us at the cutting edge."

After graduating from UNC, Curtis embarked on a radio career and built the Curtis Media Group, a chain of 62 AM and FM radio stations across North Carolina.

The UNC School of Media and Journalism will spend $8 million of the donation to fund the construction of the Curtis Media Center, a state-of-the-art home for journalism students.

"The Curtis family's long-running generosity and dedication to our school has created life-changing experiences for countless students by funding immersive learning activities outside of the classroom," said Susan King, dean of the School of Media and Journalism. "This gift is visionary and transformational for our school and this campus. It speaks to our values of collaboration, innovation and transparency as a public institution with a responsibility to engage with issues and inform citizens."