SOE News

School of Education establishes Frank A. Daniels Jr. Distinguished Professorship

The School of Education has received the first of up to six C.D. Spangler Foundation distinguished professorships to be established at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Last May the Spangler Foundation, which supports ventures in education and the arts, committed to endow up to 96 professorships across the 16-campus UNC system. C.D. Spangler Jr., director of the Foundation and former president of the UNC system, has long been an advocate of public education at all levels.

“Good professors are professors who like teaching students and like doing research,” he said. “This effort on the part of my family is intended to retain, reward and recruit good professors. We hope there will be positive results.”

The Foundation stipulated that the new UNC professorships must be in the high-need fields of teacher education, engineering, nursing or the traditional arts and sciences. Chancellor James Moeser designated the School of Education as the recipient of the first professorship.

The professorship has been named in honor of Frank A. Daniels Jr., a 1953 alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill and former publisher and president of the Raleigh-based News & Observer.  Daniels’ grandfather founded the newspaper and his family owned it for 101 years. Daniels, known throughout his career as a strong advocate of government openness, was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1996.

An active volunteer leader and generous supporter of UNC-Chapel Hill, Daniels currently serves on the UNC Board of Governors. He has been active with the Wake Education Partnership and has a rich history of philanthropy to support education in the region. 

Jill Fitzgerald, interim dean of the School of Education, expressed the School’s gratitude in receiving the inaugural professorship. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Spangler Foundation and delighted that the chair is named in honor of Frank A. Daniels Jr.,” she said. “During his 25-year career as head of The News & Observer, he fought for a better society where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. The professorship will provide a daily reminder to our faculty and students that our work as educators is entrenched in the same mission.”

Established in 1885, the School of Education is one of the oldest professional schools at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its mission is deeply rooted in the commitment to serve the diverse needs of all learners and to improve education in the state of North Carolina and across the nation.