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The Monk family

The Monk family’s gift will support students serving in internships in eastern North Carolina and students from that region participating in internships elsewhere. Multiple generations of the family are represented in this photo. (photo courtesy of the Monk family)

Love of family, home and university runs deep for the Monk family of eastern North Carolina.

That’s what has led the family — William Monk Jr. ’86, his wife, Aurelia Stafford Monk ’85, and his sister Molly Monk Mears ’84, along with her husband, John — to give back to Carolina and to their home region. Their latest gift funds the creation of the Monk Family Internship Fund in the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship.

The gift reflects the family’s desire to honor the wishes of William and Molly’s parents, Agnes and William “Bill” Monk Sr. ’49. The endowment will provide support for entrepreneurship students seeking internships in eastern North Carolina and for students from eastern North Carolina desiring internships in other parts of the United States and world.

“We’re a Carolina family,” William said. “Chapel Hill was always important to my dad, and we’ve been involved in different ways. I grew up in eastern North Carolina, and my parents grew up there, so we wanted to support UNC while helping the people of eastern North Carolina.”

: A student makes a final presentation in “Introduction to Entrepreneurship,” a required class in the Shuford Program.
A student makes a final presentation in “Introduction to Entrepreneurship,” a required class in the Shuford Program. (photo by Donn Young)

William and Aurelia learned about the minor in entrepreneurship when their son, William “Will” Monk III ’16, was a student in the program.

“We love the whole concept of the program, and it’s more important than ever to have internships,” said William, who is a member of the Shuford Program Advisory Board. “It’s important for each student to learn and explore where their path is going to take them, and to do that in the real world.”

“Practical application is important,” Aurelia echoed.

Bill graduated from UNC in 1949 and worked in the family’s Farmville tobacco business, A.C. Monk and Company, founded by his father. The company became one of the world’s largest tobacco processors and was a significant employer and economic presence in the small town.

“Connecting the University and eastern North Carolina through these internships will be meaningful for students and be something my dad would be very proud of,” Molly said. “We value the education we received at Carolina and hope this will honor our dad.”

Bernard Bell, executive director of the Shuford Program, said internships are vital to the success of the program.

“Many of our students are from eastern North Carolina, so the Monk Family Fund will allow those students, along with students who desire to work in that region of the state, the opportunity to contribute to a vital regional economy,” Bell said.

With three generations of UNC alumni in the Monk family, it’s not surprising that William would call Chapel Hill “one of our favorite places on the planet.”

“You still get tingles when you drive into town,” Aurelia said.

Being students during the Michael Jordan and Dean Smith era, hanging out on Franklin Street or studying in the humanities room of Wilson Library are great memories of their time on campus, but the Monks have also developed a broader perspective and deeper appreciation for Carolina.

“We treasure it even more now that we’re involved,” Aurelia said. “We realize what an amazing academic place it is — all of the opportunities it offers and its incredible reputation.”

By Mary Moorefield

Published in the Spring 2019 issue | The Scoop

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