A $5 million gift from Belk Inc. to the UNC Charlotte Belk College of Business will be transformational, according to University officials. This gift is described as the largest in the history of the Belk College, which was named in honor of the Belk family and organization in 1990.
"This gift not only reinforces that very special relationship, but marks a new era in corporate-university partnerships for the college and the University," UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said at the gift announcement on Feb. 12 at UNC Charlotte Center City.
Components of the gift include:
- An Endowed Professorship in Business Innovation;
- An Endowed Chair in Marketing Analytics; and
- Faculty research and teaching grants.
"This is a transformational gift for the Belk College," said Steven H. Ott, dean of the business school. "We want to be seen by Charlotte’s business community as the region’s school of choice for business education, and to be recognized as a preeminent public urban research business school."
Ties between the company and UNC Charlotte’s college of business run deep. The college was named in honor of the Belk family and organization in recognition of their long-standing personal and philanthropic contributions.
The late Thomas M. Belk, a UNC Charlotte trustee, was the first chair of the college’s Business Advisory Council in the 1980s, a position later held by his son, current Belk Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer John R. Belk, in the early 2000s.
The late John M. Belk, then chairman of the company, contributed $1.5 million to the college in 2003 to support expansion of international programs. Most recently, The Belk Foundation provided a $250,000 grant for the Belk College to launch the Student Center for Professional Development, a comprehensive career resource center for undergraduate business students.
"We found that there were synergies between our company’s focus on business analytics and innovation, and the college’s plans to expand their curriculum in these areas," said Belk, Inc. CEO and Chairman Tim Belk. "We saw a number of opportunities where Belk, Inc. and the Belk College could work together – not just for the benefit of our company, but for our industry and our region."
"We’re grateful to Belk, Inc., for believing in the Belk College’s aspiration to be at the forefront of business education in the 21st century," said Dubois. "We hope this gift – and the resulting partnerships between the college and the company – will serve as a catalyst for other companies to strengthen their involvement with the University and mobilize our vast intellectual resources.”
A video from the event is included below.