CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams and his wife, Wanda, have donated $3 million to the university, their largest one-time gift, to support scholarships for athletes, Carolina Covenant Scholars and Chancellor’s Science Scholars.
The Williamses generally have preferred to keep their philanthropic endeavors quiet, a news release from the athletics department states.
“The whole world is in a tough situation right now — financially, health wise, everything you can think about,” Williams said in a statement. “And we are in a position to be able to do something about it. It just seemed like it was the right idea at the right time. We hope others might be encouraged to do some things as well.”
Of their $3 million gift, the Williamses dedicated $1.5 million to the Carolina Covenant, which provides eligible low-income scholars a debt-free path to graduation through a combination of scholarships, grants and work-study; $1 million to Carolina’s athletics department to endow a scholarship in men’s basketball; and $500,000 to the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, which offers academic scholarships to encourage students to explore interests in science, technology, engineering and math, strengthening the STEM workforce through diversity.
The Carolina Covenant has supported 8,900 students since 2004.
“The Carolina Covenant is near and dear to our hearts,” Wanda Williams, a former high school English teacher, said, according to the news release. “When Roy came to school here, his mother handed him $100 and said, ‘Have fun.’ If he had been going to school now, he would have been a Carolina Covenant Scholar.”
The university’s Carolina Edge is a campaign to raise $1 billion for scholarships and fellowships for students.
The Williamses have given more than $5.8 million to Carolina in the 18 years he has been the head coach.