GAA Honors Cancer Center Director for Service

The director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has been honored with the GAA’s Faculty Service Award.

Dr. H. Shelton "Shelly" Earp III '70 (MD).

Dr. H. Shelton “Shelley” Earp III ’70 (MD)

Dr. H. Shelton “Shelley” Earp III ’70 (MD) also is a professor of pharmacology and medicine and Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research. He also earned a master’s degree in biochemistry from UNC in 1971 and joined the faculty in 1977.

The award, established in 1990 and given by the GAA Board of Directors, honors faculty members who have performed outstanding service for the University or the alumni association. Earp received the award Friday at the GAA board’s quarterly dinner meeting.

Besides his role as director of the cancer center, Earp’s service to the University includes chairing the committee for the current provost search. He also has chaired a search for a medical school dean and served on search committees for a chancellor and a provost.

Earp has served on Faculty Council and the steering committee for the self-study of the University’s research mission. He chaired the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Naming of Facilities.

He was the faculty representative to the GAA Board of Directors in 2001-02.

Earp has received several teaching awards, including the Medical School Basic Science Teaching Award and the Kaiser-Permanente Medical School Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2008, he received the annual Thomas Jefferson Award, recognizing a UNC faculty member who, through personal influence and performance of duty in teaching, writing and scholarship, has best exemplified the ideals and objectives of Thomas Jefferson. UNC faculty members nominate candidates for the honor, and a faculty committee chooses the recipient.

“I’m not sure any faculty member on the Chapel Hill campus has done more to serve the University than he has,” said medical school Dean William L. “Bill” Roper.

Earp, an endocrinologist, has devoted more than three decades to researching the behavior of cancer cells and the signals that regulate cell growth and differentiation. He still keeps an active lab and sees patients once a month.

Earp developed his political acumen early, having been student body president as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. More recently, he was instrumental in generating statewide support for the new University Cancer Research Fund, which provides $50 million a year toward research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The new N.C. Cancer Hospital, clinical home of the Lineberger Center, opened last fall.

Lineberger director since 1997, Earp has served on the board of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, which comprises 95 leading cancer research centers in the United States. He was association president from 2005-07. He also is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Association of American Physicians and the American societies of clinical oncology, hematology, cell biology, microbiology and clinical investigation.

Other recent recipients of the Faculty Service Award include business professor James H. “Jim” Johnson Jr. and former law school dean and faculty chair Judith W. Wegner. A complete list of award winners can be found at

The General Alumni Association is a self-governed, nonprofit organization serving alumni and friends of UNC since 1843.

Recent award recipients and related coverage is available online:

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