UNC boasts the top-ranked school of public health at a public university nationwide and the only school of its kind in North Carolina.
The gift, which will be awarded over four years, will go directly to help fund the new 125,000-square-foot research facility.
At an 11:30 a.m. announcement in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center, Bob Greczyn, BCBSNC president and chief executive officer, said the gift would assist the school in continuing important research.
Greczyn said making advances in public health is crucial, even though many people are unfamiliar with the areas in which public health specializes.
"Public health is about improving health at its most basic level," he said. "It's making the community a safer place to live."
Greczyn also said the contribution would allow the school to have facilities that equal its intellectual and research standards.
The new $38.6 million research center will be the school's third building and will house programs in environmental sciences and engineering, epidemiology and nutrition.
The facility will adjoin the school's existing Rosenau and McGavran-Greenberg halls on South Campus.
Bill Roper, dean of the public health school, said the school has raised $35 million as part of the University's Carolina First campaign, a seven-year, campuswide private fund-raising initiative.