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School receives $250,000 annual gift to strengthen doctoral program

A new donation to the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will help attract and retain top graduate students.
Sam and Betsy Reeves of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., are giving an annual expendable $250,000 gift to the University to support doctoral students at the social work school.
The doctoral program admits five to six new students annually and has a total enrollment of about 35. However, every year the school loses two to three of its top admitted applicants to other programs because UNC has not been able to guarantee them continued financial support.
Jack Richman, Ph.D., dean of the school, said the ability to offer multi-year funding at a competitive level will significantly enhance UNC’s program.
“In these economically uncertain times, many applicants cannot afford to enroll in programs that do not guarantee at least four years of funding,” said Richman. “This gift helps UNC attract the best and brightest in the field and produce the next generation of social work intervention researchers.”
The gift will enable the school to offer five doctoral students two years of financial support. The fellowships will cover the cost of in-state tuition, health insurance and a nine-month academic stipend. Faculty grants will help fund years three and four. In exchange, students will assist with teaching and research.
Richman said the school’s doctoral students are conducting innovative research and testing interventions in a number of areas, including HIV prevention, poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse, aging, health disparities, homelessness and strengthening families.
“It seems to me the most effective, efficient way to encourage a positive impact on social problems is to wonderfully train the trainers. The doctoral program at UNC’s School of Social work provides this,” said Sam Reeves.
A 1956 alumnus of Carolina, Reeves is the owner of Pinnacle Trading in Fresno, Calif. In 2007, the couple donated $1 million to the UNC School of Social Work to establish the Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professorship and the Armfield-Reeves Innovations Fund.

Photo of Sam and Betsy Reeves