September 26, 2008
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has officially named its school of public health the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in recognition and appreciation of a $50 million gift from Dennis Gillings and Joan Gillings.

Joan Gillings and Dennis Gillings

Joan Gillings and Dennis Gillings

The Gillingses pledged the gift, the largest single gift ever made to the University by individuals, in February 2007. The University is using the gift to anticipate public health problems and needs and accelerate their solutions. Dennis Gillings, CBE, was a biostatistics professor at UNC’s School of Public Health from 1971 to 1988. Joan Gillings was formerly a staff member there. For the past 26 years, Dennis Gillings has built and led Quintiles Transnational Corp. Dennis Gillings and Joan Gillings are strong community leaders both in Chapel Hill and in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“Dennis and Joan Gillings understand the potential that we have to solve the great problems of our time,” said UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp, PhD. “Their investment in Carolina and the School of Public Health will produce great results for North Carolina and the world.”

Adding the word “global” to our name recognizes the increasingly global nature and worldwide interdependence of health and well-being. Health problems don’t stop at borders said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, Dean of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Many public health threats, such as infectious diseases and pandemics, obesity and air pollution, honor no geography. Being global makes us no less local.”

Already, the Gillings’ gift has funded 10 competitively-selected Gillings Innovation Laboratories that seek sustainable solutions to some of the world’s greatest public health challenges and three Gillings Visiting Professorships. Details about these programs are available at

About Dennis Gillings:

Dr. Dennis Gillings began providing statistical consulting and data management services to pharmaceutical clients in 1974 while a professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Quintiles arose from his consulting activities and was incorporated in 1982 with 10 employees. Today, he serves on several boards and councils, including the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s advisory council, which he chairs, and its acceleration advisory committee. With nearly 30 years’ experience in drug development applications and theory, Dr. Gillings has provided expert consultation to numerous companies and health organizations. He was honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2004 for services to the pharmaceutical industry.
About Joan Gillings:

Joan Gillings has had careers in public health (including at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health) and in commercial real estate. A native of Philadelphia and raised in Michigan, she sits on several boards of universities both in the United States and abroad. She is chair of the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and is a member of the UNC (Chapel Hill) Gillings School of Global Public Health’s acceleration advisory committee. She is chair of the Development Trust Board of the University of Southampton in the U.K. Mrs. Gillings also is recognized for her leadership in a number of volunteer organizations, including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, Wilmington’s Opera House Theatre Company and the Morehead Planetarium at UNC Chapel Hill.




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