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School of Social Work receives $1 million to establish professorship, innovations fund

Sam and Betsy Reeves of Fresno, Calif., have donated $1 million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to establish the Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professorship at the School of Social Work.
The gift enables the school to establish an endowed chair to attract a leading scholar who will teach students methods of working with families, engagement with community agencies and promoting best practice models.
The professorship will be formally announced at 5:30 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 14) at a celebration at the School of Social Work’s Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building. The public is invited to attend.
A portion of the Reeves’ gift, $667,000, is eligible to be combined with $333,000 from the state’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to create a $1 million endowment. The professorship was established as part of the Carolina First Campaign, a comprehensive, multi-year, private fund-raising campaign that includes a goal of creating 200 endowed professorships.
The remaining $333,000 of the Reeves’ gift will be combined with a gift from Janie and Billy Armfield of Richmond, Va., to establish the Armfield-Reeves Innovations Fund, which will provide research grants to faculty and students of the School of Social Work.
The Reeves’ gift is one of the largest donations the School of Social Work has ever received.
“This is a transformative gift that will further strengthen our ability to serve the State of North Carolina, and children and families in need,” said Jack Richman, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Work.
A 1956 alumnus of Carolina, Sam Reeves is the owner of Pinnacle Trading in Fresno. The Reeves gave the gift to honor the lifelong dedication of their daughter Sandra, and John B. Turner, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work, to improving the lives of children, their families and communities.
Sandra Reeves Spears is active in community service involving children, families and environmental causes. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Wellesley College, Beijing Normal College and the University of Toulouse in France. She and her husband Clay have two children, Caroline and Stephen.
Dean emeritus John B. Turner, a namesake of the Tate-Turner-Kuralt School of Social Work building, retired in 1992 after a 40-year career in social work filled with national and international honors and accomplishments. He has devoted his life to social activism and social work education.
“I am delighted to support the School of Social Work,” said Sam Reeves. “At its core, the school is about valuing people – especially the disheartened and the burdened. And in the process, encouraging choices which will build, transform and embolden people towards a more liberated life. Every person deserves as much.”
The UNC School of Social Work is a highly selective and distinguished graduate school offering masters and doctoral programs. The school is one of the nation’s leaders in social work research and education, and is consistently ranked among the top 10 schools of social work in the country.