UNC-Chapel Hill chief fundraiser David Routh steps down


UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice chancellor for university development, who led the university through its historic $4.25 billion fundraising campaign, is stepping down.

David Routh has overseen UNC’s development office and fundraising efforts for nearly a decade and will officially step down in December, the university announced Monday.

University leaders recently raised Routh’s salary from $225,000 to about $850,000 a year as an incentive for him to finish the campaign for Carolina which officially ends in 2022. The university exceeded its goal of fundraiser a year earlier, but Routh and his team are still working to raise $1. billion for scholarships and meet individual fundraising goals for each school and unit on campus.

UNC-CH Chairman of the Board Dave Boliek said Routh’s resignation was “not unexpected” as he went through the duration of a “highly publicized and intensive fundraising campaign”. . Boliek said it was not unusual for the development director to move on and he wished Routh well in his future endeavours.

Part-time consultancy effort

Routh appeared to be nearing the transition out of college when he took a second job last summer as an adviser to a Charlotte investment firm with political and academic connections. The university allowed him to work part-time as a consultant for New Republic Partners, but Routh gave up that job after The News & Observer reported on the potential conflicts he presented.

Routh also launched a controversial investigation into the “leak of confidential donor information” related to the contract between Walter Hussman and the journalism school that now bears his name. The N&O published an article outlining the financial details of Hussman’s donation agreement, a document that UNC-CH declined to release, but legal experts say it should be a public document.

Hussman and his $25 million gift have come under fire after he interfered in the hiring and tenure affair of journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. The university has also been criticized for this internal investigation which secretly monitored professors’ emails and computer storage systems.

David Routh, Vice Chancellor for University Development, addresses the UNC Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, September 24, 2020 at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina Robert Willett [email protected]

In addition to his role as vice chancellor, Routh serves as chief executive of the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Inc., a nonprofit corporation that receives money from donors on behalf of the university. He is also Secretary of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees at Chapel Hill Foundation Investment Fund Inc., which invests the university’s long-term assets.

Lead Carolina’s fundraising campaigns

When he steps down, Routh will have overseen the entire campaign for Carolina which raised the largest private donation in UNC-CH history – $100 million from Dr. Fred Eshelman for the Eshelman Institute for the innovation of the school of pharmacy that bears his name. Hundreds of alumni, parents, businesses and others donated over $1 million and 67 donated over $10 million during this campaign.

Routh was instrumental in exceeding campaign goals and building the right team to get that money.

“I am extremely grateful for his vision and leadership,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement. “He has built a roadmap that has ensured our success for this campaign and beyond.”

The university will soon begin looking for Routh’s successor, a “leader who can bridge our current success with our goals for the future,” according to Guskiewicz.

Prior to becoming Vice-Chancellor, Routh served as Principal of the University of Gift Planning and Managing Director of US Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management.

As Carolina’s Director of Gift Planning, Routh helped facilitate the Carolina First campaign which raised a record $2.38 billion over eight years. He served as vice chairman of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center board of visitors and chairman of its fundraising planning committee. He previously served as a board member and chair of the UNC Parent Council Committee.

Routh graduated from UNC-CH in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and religious studies. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife, Jenny, a former student from Carolina. Their daughters are also Carolina graduates, and their son-in-law Amir Barzin, a family physician and professor at UNC-CH, leads the university’s COVID-19 testing program and advises the university on its response to the pandemic.

UNC Vice Chancellor for Development David Routh addresses the audience during a ceremony celebrating UNC’s record year for fundraising Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at the Conference Center Rizzo in Chapel Hill, NC Jill Knight [email protected]

This story was originally published April 25, 2022 1:50 p.m.

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Kate Murphy covers higher education for The News & Observer. Previously, she covered higher education for the Cincinnati Enquirer in the Investigative and Corporate Team and USA Today Network. Her work has won state awards in Ohio and Kentucky and she was recently named the Education Writers Association’s 2019 Finalist for Digital Storytelling.
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