The Gift of Hope


From left to right: Cayce Jamil, Hope and Dhiaa Jamil (’78), Reid Jamil, Board of Trustees Chair Joe Price and Chancellor Dubois

Food insecurity is not something one thinks of when considering college life; however, it is a real issue for some. National studies find an unexpectedly large number of students can’t access or afford nutritious food. When UNC Charlotte opened the student pantry in 2014, there were only a handful throughout the country. Now there are 184, and UNC Charlotte’s student-run pantry is frequently cited as a successful model.

Enter Dhiaa Jamil. A 1978 graduate, Jamil has been a long-time University supporter. The Duke Energy executive serves as secretary of the University’s Board of Trustees, and he and wife Hope have been advocates of countless University initiatives, including academic scholarships, athletics and the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band.

Niner Student PantryDhiaa first heard about the campus pantry at a Board of Trustees retreat two years ago. "I perked up because it brought me back to a certain time in my life," Jamil said, speaking of his college years. "I worked, struggled and relied on the giving of others. Some people call it food security. I call it hunger. I would have loved to have a place like this when I was in school."

As a way to celebrate his 60th birthday, Hope worked with the University on a donation that would allow the student pantry to be named in his honor. In late August, the Jamil Niner Student Pantry was officially dedicated in front of family, friends and the UNC Charlotte community.

"This food pantry clearly meets a need for our students," said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. "With this boost from Hope and Dhiaa, it will continue to do so for years to come."

About the Jamil Niner Student Pantry

The pantry is a student-led effort to provide assistance to undergraduate and graduate students who live off campus and do not have a University meal plan. It has benefited from corporate partners such as Food Lion and Chartwells, and through countless donations and food drives from UNC Charlotte students, faculty, staff and University friends.

To volunteer, donate or learn more, visit the Jamil Niner Student Pantry.