Two days and counting…
This Saturday, May 7, nearly 650 students will graduate from the Gillings School, most with degrees and some with certificates. Dennis Gillings, PhD, CBE, former biostatistics faculty member, the man who founded and became the chief executive officer of Quintiles, one of the world’s most successful companies, will give the graduation speech. I don’t know all he’ll say, but I do know that leadership will be a central theme. He has been an exemplary leader in many global settings and has been an incredibly generous donor to our School. We’re excited.
I’m proud of every graduate! Each has had a unique journey from the person they were to the person they’ve become. Together, they add up to a lot of accomplishments, and they’ve made our North Carolina communities (and beyond!) better. It’s a great source of satisfaction—but no surprise—that seven of the 17 Graduate School Impact Awards went to Gillings School students. These awards recognize the benefit of students’ research to North Carolina. Like other schools in the UNC system, we benefit the people of this state who generously support the great North Carolina educational system through their taxes. We also give back by educating North Carolina’s students and training them for jobs in which they will make a difference in the lives of people in this state and beyond. Some of our new graduates will continue on in their formal education, but the majority will have jobs that will take them across N.C. and around the world. Over time, many will become leaders of organizations; some will start new companies. They’ll be leaders in their communities. Some may even lead countries (as one of our graduates did in Haiti).
I’m proud that we’re the top public school of public health in the United States, number two overall. We owe that to the people of this state, the strength of UNC-Chapel Hill, generous donors, a team of superb faculty and staff members who choose to be here (although many of them might be paid more and have better benefits elsewhere) and the fabulous students who say “yes” when we offer them admission. It takes a lot of amazing people to make a great school!
With gratitude to them all!