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The Daily Tar Heel

Alumnus Gives $10 Million to International Studies

Alston Gardner, who graduated from UNC in 1977, said he didn't leave the United States until he was 30 years old, when his business ventures forced him to interact in the international realm.

"My sense was that you didn't have to wait until you were 30 to have an international experience," said Gardner, who lives in Atlanta. "The overall strategy (of my donation) is to provide an international experience for every student on campus."

The donation will go to the Carolina First Campaign, a seven-year initiative that plans to raise $1.5 billion from private donations.

The gift establishes 25 undergraduate scholarships that will send students on an annual six-week immersion program at the National University of Singapore.

The donation also will bring international students to UNC though the Global Scholars Program, which will attract 48 foreign undergraduate students to study at the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Graduate students will benefit from Gardner's gift through two research and teaching graduate fellowships, known as REACH, which aim to enrich graduate students' learning and teaching.

A speaker series will be the first of Gardner's initiatives to be realized. The donation is helping bring Sandy Berger, former national security adviser under President Clinton, to UNC on Wednesday.

Raymond Farrow, development director for the University Center for International Studies, said he has been working with Gardner for about a year to find a good match for Gardner's international interests and the University's needs.

Farrow said the programs are in sync with Chancellor James Moeser's efforts to internationalize the University.

"The philosophy is that we want every Carolina student to be exposed to another culture while they're here," he said.

"We started out as a state and regional university. In the last couple decades, we've become a prominent national university, and now we're going to become a true international university."

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