$3 million gift will benefit psychology department and UNC’s School of Medicine

Frank Moretz
Frank Moretz

A planned gift from Frank Moretz, B.A. ’71, M.D. ’75 and Resident ‘78 will have an enduring impact on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The $3 million bequest will be distributed evenly among the department of psychology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, the department of anesthesiology in the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC School of Medicine’s Asheville campus.

Moretz, a three-degree Tar Heel and recently retired anesthesiologist who practiced in the Asheville area, said this gift is his way of thanking the university for setting him up for the success he has achieved.

“UNC gave me great opportunities and was great preparation for a very successful career,” Moretz said. “I wanted to show my appreciation.”

In the College of Arts and Sciences, Moretz’s gift will establish the Frank Hannon Moretz, MD, Excellence Fund in the Department of Psychology. The fund will be used to support departmental priorities, including recruitment and retention of top faculty, graduate student research and the development of innovative courses for undergraduates. Moretz earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“Psychology has so many applications across many fields, and I thought that the faculty and department were incredible,” Moretz said.

Moretz_Frank_medical student
Moretz as a first-year medical student.

“I am so grateful for Dr. Moretz’s gift to my home department,” said Karen M. Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Lee G. Pedersen Distinguished Professor of Psychology. “Recruiting and retaining world-class faculty, providing support for our outstanding graduate students and reimagining the classroom experience for undergraduates are all essential to advancing Carolina as a leading global public research university.”

The UNC School of Medicine’s department of anesthesiology will benefit from the creation of the Frank H. Moretz Anesthesiology Resident Education and Travel Endowment. The fund will be used to cover anesthesiology resident and faculty professional and leadership development, enrichment and advocacy. Examples of potential uses include covering the costs of national conference attendance, training and educational travel.

David Zvara, MD, professor and chair of the department of anesthesiology, said this gift will help students in the department be ambassadors for their specialty and UNC.

“Through this award, our young men and women will be able to attend national meetings and interact with national leaders in health care policy, bringing these ideas back to Chapel Hill,” Zvara said. “This is a really exciting chance for the gift to have an impact that will extend far beyond UNC and our local medical community.”

Zvara has known Moretz for nearly 20 years. He praised his giving spirit and loyalty to his alma mater.

“Frank is the type of person who always puts the greater good forward,” Zvara said. “This gift is absolutely reflective of that and will translate into real, practical solutions for our students.”

Moretz, who grew up in Hickory, N.C., and practiced for more than 30 years in Asheville, was thrilled in 2009 when his alma mater partnered with Mission Health and Mountain Area Health Center to open a satellite campus in Asheville to train the next generation of physicians. Third-year medical students in the program perform clerkships that allow them to provide comprehensive care to patients over time and form close relationships with their physician mentors. Moretz said similar experiences he had in medical school were formative elements of his training.

“As a medical student and resident, I spent time in Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington and found that incredibly helpful because it allows you to work one-on-one as an apprentice to a private-practice physician. It’s just a great way to learn,” he said.

Julie Byerley, MD, MPH, UNC School of Medicine’s Vice Dean for Education, said Moretz’s investment will strengthen the program in Asheville and Western North Carolina as a whole.

“The programs at the Asheville campus help serve the people of the western part of our state and inspire medical students into careers there,” Byerley said. “Thanks to this gift from Dr. Moretz, we will be able to develop even richer experiences to prepare the physicians of tomorrow to serve rural populations.”

Robyn Latessa, MD, assistant dean and director of the UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus, said students looking for a role model should look no further than Moretz.

“Dr. Moretz is committed to encouraging medical students to serve the people of North Carolina. He is a role model to them, having completed his undergraduate, medical school and residency training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then practicing for 34 years in Asheville,” Latessa said.

As Moretz retired from clinical practice and decreased legislative activities, he increased his involvement as a partner in Asheville’s Highland Brewery and has proudly hosted students for talks on advocacy and to share the knowledge he’s picked up after decades in private practice.