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Fall foliage at the Old Well on UNC's campus
(Photo by Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

The Orville Gordon Browne (OGB) Foundation has made a $1 million gift to the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences to establish an endowed term professorship in Carolina’s School of Civic Life and Leadership.  

The term professorship will support faculty whose work will equip students with the rhetorical and deliberative capacities to serve as citizens and future leaders. The Christopher H. Browne Term Professorship will be a three- to five-year appointment that will reside in the new school. 

Housed in the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Civic Life and Leadership will help bridge political divides, strengthen our nation, and offer a home for students, faculty and citizens who wish to cultivate genuine inquiry and earnest debate. The school builds upon the University’s existing strengths in civic education as exhibited by the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Minor, the Program for Public Discourse, and the IDEAs in Action general curriculum. 

“This gift is a great way to kick off our ambitions for this new school,” said Jim White, Craver Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “As we build the school and recruit the faculty who will develop the curriculum, this investment from the Orville Gordon Browne Foundation is a strong first step. It creates momentum that will help us make the case for further investment in the school. Our vision is for it to be a national model for civic engagement that others will emulate.”   

The School of Civic Life and Leadership aims to develop courses, programming and academic infrastructure needed to meet the “Promote Democracy” initiative that is part of the University’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good. The school will serve as an incubator of ideas and a model for how healthy institutions in our democracy can and should function — as a place where diverse perspectives are respected and debate that leads to progress is celebrated as vital to our future. 

The OGB Foundation was funded from the estate of Christopher H. Browne, one of the pre-eminent value investors of his generation. The foundation has endowed chairs at the University of Pennsylvania and research laboratories at Rockefeller University. Browne was a trustee at both institutions. It also supports the Institute for Classical Art and Architecture. 

“We are honored to establish the first professorship for the UNC School of Civic Live and Leadership,” said Scott Bessent, OGB Foundation treasurer. “Chris Browne was always at the vanguard in his lifelong interests of investing, education, research and the arts. He would have been thrilled to see this gift serving as a cornerstone for the University’s exciting initiatives to equip students to serve as stewards and leaders for our democracy.” 

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