|Yet Jewell Mull left a
legacy that will touch hundreds of students and faculty who love
Carolina and share her faith in higher education.
When she died in December 1998 at 83,
her $1.5 million charitable remainder trust included a $690,000
unrestricted gift to Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences, the
largest single unrestricted gift in recent history. The Jewell Maye
Mull Endowment Fund will support a variety of needs of high
importance, including faculty recruitment and retention, faculty
travel, research support, classroom and laboratory improvements,
innovative learning outside the classroom, strategic staffing, general
student support and undergraduate research — and requests the dean
receives to keep the college at the forefront of America’s liberal
Unrestricted gifts are among the
college’s highest priorities and allow the dean to immediately
allocate funds to areas of the most urgent need. They are used by the
dean to fill the wide gaps between what the state provides and the
actual needs of the college. Large unrestricted gifts are also among
the most difficult gifts to secure.
"Mrs. Mull’s gift offers
infinite opportunities for our students and faculty," said Risa
Palm, dean of the college. "Because of her generosity, we will be
able to enhance the support of our faculty and students. For example,
we will be able to provide support for student and faculty research
collaboration, travel to academic conferences and innovative teaching
or advising activities."
From their modest home in the rolling
foothills of Burke County, Jewell and her husband Luther raised their
only child Joe. Like many Carolina alumni, Joe represented the first
generation in his family to attend college. He graduated in 1967 with
a bachelor’s degree in recreation, a program then in the sociology
department. After a 25-year management career with Sears, Joe Mull
worked with LPL Financial Services as a financial consultant in
Gastonia and retired there in 1999. Joe and his wife of 31 years,
Wanda, raised six children, including their youngest — twin girls
now in high school.
Joe’s introduction to Carolina came
on a clear October day in 1957, when he traveled with his junior high
classmates to band day in Chapel Hill.
"It was one of those unforgettable
autumn days, where the sky is so blue and the leaves are
brilliant," he said. "Standing there on the football field
in the middle of Kenan Stadium, there was never any doubt that this is
where I would go to college. Fortunately, I was accepted because
Carolina was the only place I applied."
Mull said though his parents came from
humble beginnings, they believed that a good education provided a
foundation for self-reliance.
"There was never any doubt I would
go to college," said Mull, a 1963 graduate of Drexel High School
in Burke County. He also credits his high school principal, Harry
Hallyburton, who encouraged students to attend college.
His mother saved for Joe’s college
education by working at Valdese’s Dolly Hosiery, a mill that makes
baby booties. As a young girl, Jewell, for a brief time during the
Depression, was the only family member employed with eight siblings to
support. She left school after the ninth grade to work in the mill.
Luther, whose formal education ended after the sixth grade, owned a
small general store and service station. Over time, he bought land,
rental properties and stocks. He was even in the small loan business,
said Joe, helping community members establish homes and businesses.
During Joe’s sophomore year at
Carolina, his father died. He wanted to return to Drexel and help his
mother, but she would have none of it.
"She told me that it was my father’s
biggest dream for me to finish college," he said. "Dad was
buried on a Thursday, and I was back in class on Monday. A college
education was important to my parents. My father loved to come to
campus and watch the students. He would tell me, ‘you folks don’t
know how lucky you have it.’"
Jewell, with Joe’s help, continued to
invest the family’s savings in stocks and real estate. In 1991, she
established a charitable remainder trust which provided her with
income. When she died, the $1.5 million trust was left to Carolina’s
Arts and Sciences Foundation, along with Brigham Young University in
Utah, a Mormon Church institution that reflects the family’s
religious faith, to Belmont Abbey College and Carolina’s Educational
Said Joe, "This gift makes the
family feel good. We are thankful that Carolina will benefit in a
meaningful way from my mother’s endowment, because the University
has been such an important part of our lives."
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