Released By UNC Charlotte News Release
Feb. 01, 2002


Largest gift from The Duke Energy Foundation will serve as catalyst for regional growth in high-tech industry


CHARLOTTE, NC, February 1, 2002 – Recognizing the region’s growing demand for   intellectual capital, Duke Energy announced this afternoon that it will invest $10 million in the Charlotte Institute of Technology Innovation as part of UNC Charlotte’s $100 million capital campaign, which enters its public phase with a formal gala on campus this evening.  The investment is the largest made by The Duke Energy Foundation, and combined with the company’s other commitments, represents the largest ever received by UNC Charlotte.


The money will be used to establish a fund to support the initiatives of the Charlotte Institute, reflecting the synergy between the organizations in high-tech academic and business research that will drive future economic growth.


Duke Energy also will provide $576,000 to fund research conducted by Dr. Hilary Inyang, UNC Charlotte’s Duke Energy Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engi-neering and Science, and $50,000 to the William States Lee College of Engineering.  All totaled, Duke Energy’s investment in UNC Charlotte will approach nearly $12 million dollars when the university’s most ambitious fundraising campaign ends in 2005.


“This investment and the activities of the Charlotte Institute align with our focus on developing the critical mathematical and engineering talent that will drive economic growth and development in our region’s high-tech industry,” said Rick Priory, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy.


“Duke Energy has made a commitment to our industry to generate what’s next – and that extends to the communities we serve as well,” added Priory.  “This investment is good for our region, good for UNC Charlotte, good for Duke Energy and good for our city as we join together to build a promising future.  I know exciting times are ahead.”


Priory, who served as an assistant professor of structural engineering at UNC Charlotte from 1973-76, currently chairs the 11-member board of directors of the Charlotte Institute for Technology Innovation. He also has served on the UNC Charlotte Foundation board and UNC Charlotte’s Board of Visitors.


“In extraordinary fashion, Duke Energy has demonstrated confidence in our ability to provide intellectual capital for the Charlotte region and the state of North Carolina,” said Dr. James Woodward, chancellor of UNC Charlotte.  “This truly is a transformational gift:  it takes us one step closer to becoming the major research university needed in the Charlotte region.  It is a pivotal point in achieving that goal, and our faculty, staff and students deeply appreciate what Duke Energy and all of our donors have done to strengthen this great institution.”


UNC Charlotte established the Charlotte Institute for Technology Innovation in December 2000 to accelerate the growth of intellectual capital through technology research relevant to the regional and state economies, and to stimulate entrepreneurship and economic growth through public-private partnerships.


Research will focus on three central areas: Precision Metrology and Intelligent Manufacturing, eBusiness Technology and Optoelectronics and Optical Communications.


“Strengthening the technology and research infrastructure in the Charlotte region through UNC Charlotte is critical to long-term economic vitality,” said Priory, who noted that the economic benefits of research and development (R&D) are greater the closer one is to the site of the innovation.  “As Charlotte and the 11 counties served by UNC Charlotte continue to grow, it’s imperative that we leverage the advantage afforded by UNC Charlotte, which has accomplished great things in R&D in a relatively short period of time.”


For example:

§         The Cameron Applied Research Center has gone from groundbreaking in 1990 to an expansion in 2000 that now has the facility at full capacity.


§         On a per-research-dollar basis, UNC Charlotte ranked first in a recent study of how well universities in 23 states and Puerto Rico translate research into practical application.


§         Five high-tech companies have been generated by UNC Charlotte research, including Digital Optics Corp and WaveGuide Solutions.


“UNC Charlotte has made – and will continue to make – an impact on our region’s economy in high technology,” said Woodward.  “It’s exciting to know that with Duke Energy’s investment in the Charlotte Institute, our best is yet to come, and I’m confident we’re on our way to achieving national and international prominence.”


The physical facilities of the Charlotte Institute include the existing Cameron Research Center and Burson Physical Sciences Building. Construction is underway for a Science and Technology Building, housing the College of Information Technology and its eBusiness Technology Center, as well as the Biology Department and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.


Institute facilities currently in the design phase include the Physics, Optoelec-tronics and Optical Communications Center Building, and the Mechanical Engineering, Precision Metrology and Intelligent Manufacturing Center Building. These two buildings will total 187,000 square feet, with construction expected to begin in early 2003.


Founded in 1946, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has more than 18,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs.  UNC Charlotte comprises seven colleges in architecture, arts and sciences, business, education, engineering, information technology and nursing and health professions.  More information about programs and services can be found on the Internet at


Duke Energy, a diversified multinational energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise.   Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses – generating revenues of more than $59 billion in 2001.  Duke Energy, headquartered in  Charlotte N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at

Contact: Tony Hoppa, UNC Charlotte
Phone: 704/687-2143
24 Hour Phone: n/a
Contact: Randy Wheeless, Duke Energy
Phone: 704/382-8379
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333