February 16, 2009
A faculty member at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and his wife have funded a new, multi-year scholarship for doctoral students in the School. 

Carolyn and Gary Koch

Carolyn and Gary Koch

The Gary G. and Carolyn J. Koch Merit Scholarship in Public Health will grant an annual stipend of $25,000, for up to five years, to one highly qualified student seeking a doctoral degree at the School. Gary Koch, PhD, a faculty member in the Department of Biostatistics since 1963 and professor since 1976, has directed the School’s Biometric Consulting Laboratory for more than 20 years. The BCL trains graduate students in biostatistics for collaborative activity with health science investigators.

Koch’s wife, Carolyn, holds a master’s degree in education and has taught in the N.C. public schools.

Both husband and wife value the education and training of young leaders and repeatedly have found ways to provide public health students with new opportunities. Koch encourages publication among his students by inviting them to co-author papers and is a staunch supporter of student travel, helping develop and fund numerous travel opportunities so that students can conduct research abroad. In 2007, he received the School’s John E. Larsh Award for Mentoring.

“Students are the underlying vital energy of the School,” he says. “They challenge faculty to stay on target in terms of the information we share in the classroom and the kind of advising we do. They synergize the activities of teaching and research and then apply knowledge arrived at in the classroom to their professional work.” The Kochs believe that student funding should be the highest priority for those wanting to support the School’s mission. “We learned from the dean and department chairs,” Gary Koch says, “that the recruitment of very promising graduate students was difficult because funding could only be promised one year at a time. We are losing out to schools that can make a multi-year commitment.”

Koch says that the couple wants the Gillings School of Global Public Health to continue to be able to attract the most promising students in all public health disciplines and that they are proud to provide funding for one student to pursue his or her education without financial strain.

“I think of this as a community responsibility,” he says. “Carolyn and I hope to support another full scholarship down the road, but meanwhile, we encourage other faculty, alumni and friends to make this type of important commitment.”


More information is available on the School’s website about scholarship opportunities for incoming and current students, or students may contact Felicia Mebane, PhD, assistant dean for student affairs, at (919) 966-2499 or sph-osa@unc.edu.

To fund a scholarship or fellowship: contact Peggy Glenn, associate dean for external affairs, at (919) 966-0198 or peggy_glenn@unc.edu.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.



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