Carolina Gymnastics family endows the Galvin Scholarship

The University of North Carolina Department of Athletics and The Rams Club awarded senior Lily Dean the first Derek and Debra Galvin Gymnastics Scholarship Thursday, an endowed scholarship that is part of the FORevHER Tar Heels women's initiative. Dean was selected for this recognition as a team leader who embodies the Galvins' character, values and beliefs.

The endowed $100,000 gift comes from gymnastics alumnae, parents of current and former student-athletes, family and friends, and it honors Derek Galvin, who retired as head coach of the gymnastics program in June after 39 years leading the Tar Heels and his wife, Debra.

"As Carolina alums, the honor of this scholarship gifted in our names is the ultimate blessing," said Galvin, who met his wife at Carolina competing on the men's gymnastics team in the 1970s.

FORevHER Tar Heel mentor and Coach Galvin's first recruit Tammy Gilbert Goldfisher '87 led the team effort to recognize their coach and his wife who have inspired many Tar Heels throughout their time with the program. Alumnae from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s contributed to the gift.

"This gift and recognition by the Carolina Gymnastics alumnae, their families and friends of Carolina is something Debra and I could have never imagined. To have our names associated with a scholarship for future female student-athletes through the FORevHER Tar Heels initiative fills our hearts with indescribable joy," Galvin said.

Lily Dean, a senior studying at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media who competes on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise for the Tar Heels, is the first Derek and Debra Galvin Gymnastics Scholarship recipient.

"I am so honored to be the first recipient of the Derek and Debra Galvin Gymnastics Scholarship because Derek has brought so much to not only Carolina gymnastics, but to the whole Carolina Athletics program," said Dean. "Derek really does educate and inspire through athletics. I feel he has taught me and my teammates so many valuable life lessons that will forever be engrained in us."

"This scholarship gives us the opportunity to award and celebrate a woman on this team who exemplifies all the hard work and dedication that Derek and Debra have given to Carolina Gymnastics," said interim head coach Marie Denick. "I was so honored to award Lily Dean as the first ever recipient of the Derek and Debra Galvin Scholarship Award. I have watched her grow into this strong, team-oriented, vocal leader on our team. She has been a strong voice of the team through this uncertain time while also displaying so much love and support to her teammates."

Launched in October 2019 as part of the Campaign for Carolina Athletics, the FORevHER Tar Heels initiative cultivates and inspires a Carolina community that champions and empowers women student-athletes. The initiative is built on the pioneering legacy of the thousands of women who have represented the Tar Heels since the first six Carolina women's teams were established after the passage of Title IX in 1972.

"The wonderful thing about the Galvin Scholarship is not only the fact that we can express our gratitude to Derek and Debra for dedicating so much of their lives to Carolina Gymnastics, but it moves us that much closer to our $100 million FORevHER Tar Heels goal," said Sue Walsh, associate executive director of scholarship and legacy gifts for The Rams Club. "Athletics directly impacts women and their success well beyond college, and we want to do all we can to launch them into meaningful and fulfilling careers."

Derek Galvin, a native of Ireland, came to Carolina in 1970 to join the men's gymnastics team and became the women's head coach in 1981. His Tar Heel teams posted 441 victories, won five East Atlantic Gymnastics League titles and advanced to NCAA regional competition 12 times in the last 19 seasons.

The gift comes at a time of great uncertainty across collegiate athletics in the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the times, there was an encouraging response of student-athlete alumni donors and families to honor the Galvins with an endowed scholarship that will be recognized as part of the Campaign for Carolina Athletics.

For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina, which was formally launched in October 2017 with a goal to raise $4.25 billion by December 2022, is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University's history.

To learn more about FORevHER Tar Heels and support Carolina's female student-athletes, visit