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The Carolina Center for Jewish Studies enjoyed a remarkable trajectory of growth in its first decade of serving UNC’s students and the community. This growth was realized in large part due to the intellectual and financial support of generous alumni and community members.

Read about some of the Center’s generous donors who have helped shape Jewish Studies at Carolina:


Paving the way: Generous gift will enhance the future of Jewish studies at UNC and beyond

Eric Sklut’s love for Carolina began at an early age, when he told his parents after a trip to Chapel Hill at age 13 that UNC was where he was going to college. Five years later, during the summer before his first year, Sklut got another taste of the Carolina legacy when he witnessed the 1976 gold medal-winning Olympic basketball team on campus with Coach Dean Smith. Read more.


Planned Gift will have a major impact on Carolina students for generations to come
On September 22, 1951, Carolina junior Saralyn Bonowitz attended a party at the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house after the first football game of the season. That day, Carolina beat N.C. State – and Saralyn met ZBT Gene Oberdorfer, who shared her class year and a Southern Jewish heritage. In 2012, as Gene and Saralyn Oberdorfer celebrated 59 years of marriage, they committed to contribute a deferred gift to the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. This gift will provide a versatile source of funding for the growing program and give Carolina students opportunities unavailable to the Oberdorfers in the 1950s. Now, looking back on long careers of service and giving to education and the Jewish community, the Oberdorfers consider this gift to be a fitting continuation of their legacy at UNC. “This is a way for Jewish and non-Jewish students to gain knowledge of Jewish studies,” Gene said. “I think it’s a great thing, because years ago there wasn’t this kind of program. We hope we’ll get a chance to continue our relationship with UNC Jewish studies and see that program grow.”


A love for Carolina prompts Levin family to create new endowment for Jewish studies faculty
Seymour Levin was born in Burlington, North Carolina. After starting his education at Carolina, he left to serve in the United States Navy and then returned to campus and graduated with a B.S. degree in Commerce. He has three children and six grandchildren. Carol Cole Levin, a native of Mississippi, is an artist with two sons, one of whom is a Carolina alumnus (John Hand, 1991). “Our love for Carolina and a dream for a Jewish Studies major led us to create the new endowment,” said Seymour Levin. “I want this university to be the very best, and I think the Center and the Jewish Studies program are doing great work for the campus and its students.” The Center’s director, Professor Ruth von Bernuth, is supported with this gift.


Through this gift, I hope students will have a more enriching college experience
The level of study and the quality of the research conducted by UNC students is truly impressive. Now, thanks to the Levine family, our students can participate in more projects and programs than ever before. Howard R. Levine, ’81, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Family Dollar Stores, Inc., has created an endowment to support Carolina’s undergraduate and graduate students pursuing academic studies and scholarly research in the field of Jewish Studies. This gift creates a permanent source of funding to further the teaching mission of the Center and supports student research inside and outside of the classroom, including student travel and study abroad, as well as academic field trips to extend the classroom experience. “I like that the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies program attracts students with different backgrounds and a range of interests,” said Levine. “As a Carolina alumnus with interest in supporting Jewish organizations and causes, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to support my alma mater in a way that was personal to me. I was born and raised in Charlotte, I’m a Tar Heel fan, and I’m delighted that I can give back to Carolina’s students.”