Anne Cates has a deep relationship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has played many important leadership roles. A 1953 graduate, she remained in the Chapel Hill area after graduation and taught elementary school for a few years before starting a family. When her children were grown, she volunteered at the General Alumni Association and eventually became its president in 1995. She was one of the few women to hold that title. She played a key role in establishing the George Watts Hill Alumni Center, and then helped found the Carolina Club, the Alumni Center’s social hub, and served as its first chair.
She later joined the board of directors for the Educational Foundation, better known as the Rams Club, and served as both treasurer and president over the span of more than a decade. She also served as vice chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Visitors and led the kickoff celebration for Carolina’s Bicentennial Campaign, which raised $440 million to support academics. She joined the UNC Board of Trustees and became the first woman to chair that body in Carolina’s history. Later, she went on to serve on the UNC System Board of Governors.
Her decades of commitment to the University have earned her the William Richardson Davie Award and the General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal. The University recently named a Bridge Builders Scholarship in her honor, recognizing her as someone whose work and personal example helped forge a more inclusive, unified and aspirational Carolina community.