Levine Scholars program a "transformational endeavor"

The Leon Levine Foundation is funding the largest individual gift commitment in UNC Charlotte’s history, establishing a major new merit scholarship program – the Levine Scholars Program – that will enable the school to recruit exceptional student-leaders from around the United States.

“The Levine Scholars Program will prove to be transformational for UNC Charlotte,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “Looking at it over just the next 10 years, the Leon Levine Foundation has committed to providing over $9.3 million in merit-based scholarships. In its fourth year, when we have the full complement of 60 Levine Scholars on campus, these funds will more than triple the amount of four-year, merit-based aid we currently offer incoming freshmen.”

“Thanks to this extraordinary commitment by Leon and Sandra Levine, UNC Charlotte will be on par with other major universities in North Carolina and around the country in attracting exceptional young people to Charlotte,” Dubois said. “In addition, the program’s emphasis on community service will provide Charlotte with a cadre of truly committed young people devoted to working in our neighborhoods and with community organizations across the city.”

Starting in the spring of 2010, 15 high school seniors from throughout the country will be selected annually to receive the Levine Scholarship. Levine Scholars will receive funding to cover all tuition and fees, housing and meals, books, a laptop computer, summer experiences, and a grant to support their community service work while undergraduates at UNC Charlotte.

The total value of the scholarship for four years is approximately $90,000 for in-state residents and $137,000 for out-of-state residents. The first class of Levine Scholars will enter UNC Charlotte in the fall 2010 semester.

“As North Carolina’s premier urban, research university, UNC Charlotte, thanks to the scholarships, will be able to offer students the opportunity to engage in all of the opportunities and challenges that are available in a major metropolitan area,” said Provost Joan Lorden. “Today’s students in general, and especially the brightest and most talented students, are looking for more than just a classroom experience. They want a real laboratory to test what they learn and to make meaningful contributions to the community. Those opportunities are abundant in Charlotte and the Levine Scholars Program will give UNC Charlotte the opportunity to actively recruit these young people and offer a financial package that convinces them to attend here.”

The Levine Scholars Program will seek talented high school seniors from around the United States whose accomplishments epitomize the values of the Levines: demonstrated commitment to community service, an academic record that reflects a sustained passion for knowledge, and a capacity for ethical leadership that beckons fellow students toward a higher standard.

Each Levine Scholar also will participate in four summer experiences, beginning with the summer before their freshman year. Scholars will complete a three-week wilderness experience with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming. In the summer before their senior year, they will spend a summer abroad.

Throughout the school year, Levine Scholars will be expected to actively engage with established community organizations or develop their own resolution to key issues facing Charlotte today. To support their work in service to society, recipients also will have access to an $8,000 grant funded by the Leon Levine Foundation and distributed by the UNC Charlotte Foundation.

“We hope that the Levine Scholars will engage in lives of learning, service and leadership while completing their education at UNC Charlotte and will keep their ties to the region long after their graduation,” Leon Levine said. “We understand that this opportunity is the first of its kind for UNC Charlotte. I can think of no better time to launch this program at an institution that has become and will continue to be a driving force providing exceptional educational opportunities in our region.”

Leon Levine is the founder of Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar Stores, Inc. He and his wife Sandra are involved in a number of civic and charitable causes through the Leon Levine Foundation.

“Transformational events are, by definition, rare in the life of a University,” Dubois said. “For UNC Charlotte, the creation of the Levine Scholars Program is one of those. The students who become Levine Scholars will have a profound and lasting effect on this campus and this community. And as important as this transformative event is for UNC Charlotte, I am equally confident that selection as a Levine Scholar will make an immense difference for those young people. For all of that, on behalf of all of us associated with UNC Charlotte, I want to express my gratitude to Leon and Sandra Levine for this wonderful opportunity.”

About UNC Charlotte
A public research university, UNC Charlotte is the fourth largest campus among the 17 institutions of the University of North Carolina system. It is the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region, offering doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s programs. Fall 2009 enrollment will exceed 24,000 students, including approximately 5,000 graduate students.