Dr. Jim Harrell, Sr. makes it no secret that he’s proud of the University of North Carolina.
At the top corner of one of the walls in his dentist office is a sign that says: “If God is not a Tarheel fan, then why is the sky Carolina blue?”
He received his dentistry degree from the University of Virginia, but he’s always been partial to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his undergraduate degree. He’s done a lot for the school since then, and one of his most recent achievements has been helping to raise money for the Koury Oral Health Sciences Building. He served as the chairman of the building campaign steering committee, which raised about $7 million for the dentistry building at UNC. The fundraising campaign ended in 2006, and construction finished earlier this year.
“I’ll always been loyal to (North Carolina) because I’ve been so proud of UNC and the state getting a dental school,” he said. “We need a dental school.”
Harrell attended the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the new building last month. He was also honored for having been the leader of the building campaign steering committee that helped raise $6.5 million for the school. The building is now open for the summer semester.
The state paid for $112 million, while Harrell and the rest of the building committee were challenged to raise $6.5 million. They ended up raising $7 million, according to Harrell.
“I am happy and delighted. … It’s been a long period,” said Harrell, adding that he’s been working on the project “off and on” since 1992.
The building includes a 220-seat auditorium, two 120-seat lecture halls, a 105-seat simulation laboratory, five 30-seat seminar rooms for graduate seminars, and room for office and conference spaces.
University of North Carolina officials say the 216,000-square-foot building will help increase enrollment size and provide a newer and bigger headquarters for dental research.
“We want to see Carolina remain at the top of dental education, and this building will allow us to use innovation to its best advantage in the new educational methodology,” said Dr. Janet Guthmiller, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.