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Massey Awards Recognize 'Unusual, Meritorious' Service

The University is honoring six outstanding employees with the 2010 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most coveted distinctions Carolina bestows to faculty and staff.

The late C. Knox Massey ’25 of Durham created the awards in 1980 to recognize “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by UNC employees. In 1984, he joined the families of his son, Knox Massey Jr. ’59, and daughter, Kay Massey Weatherspoon, in creating the Massey-Weatherspoon fund. Income from the fund supports the Massey Awards and Carolina Seminars, which promote interdisciplinary thought, study, discussion and intellectual interchange on a wide variety of topics.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost. During the past decade, Carney’s administrative duties have soared along with his career as an astrophysicist. In 1999, he became chair of the department of physics and astronomy and then served as senior associate dean for the natural sciences. He served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences beginning in 2008, and one year later, he was  tapped to serve as interim executive vice chancellor and provost after Bernadette Gray-Little left to become chancellor of the University of Kansas. Earlier this year, he took the University’s top academic post permanently.
  • Anson Dorrance ’74, women’s soccer coach. An ability to mold players to meet their full potential has allowed Dorrance to amass one of the most successful coaching careers ever, not only in soccer, but also throughout athletics. Among the NCAA’s illustrious coaches, he is the first in Division I history to coach a single sport to 20 NCAA titles, and his .934 winning percentage is the highest of any coach in any sport in NCAA history.
  • Stephen Farmer, associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions. Farmer has championed programs such as C-STEP for transfer students to increase college access for all students, despite their socioeconomic backgrounds. He also pushed for the expansion of the National College Advising Corps – and the subsequent creation of the College Advising Corps – to help low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students find their way to college. One colleague said the embrace of socioeconomic diversity is not merely a programmatic objective for Farmer but a personal one.
  • Patricia Oliver, assistant dean for finance and business, medicine administration. Since joining Carolina’s staff in 1990 as an accountant in the controller’s office, Oliver has progressed through a series of positions with increasing levels of responsibility, first in the School of Public Health and later in the School of Medicine. In recent years, she has been instrumental in seeing the medical school through the rounds of state budget cuts. She served on the steering committee for EPAWeb, a system that incorporates EPA personnel business rules to improve the processing and approval of personnel actions for all EPA employees.
  • James Steven Reznick ’73, psychology professor and associate dean of the undergraduate education office. As associate dean for first-year seminars and academic experiences, Reznick has committed himself to using the first-year seminar as a vehicle to foster a sense of community while introducing students to the joys and rigor of academic life. His commitment to the broader community is evident in his work with the UNC Faculty-Staff Recreation Association – also known as the Farm. As both a former board member and president of the Farm, Reznick was the driving force in the effort to replace the aging building with a modern facility.
  • Nihlei Tial, housekeeper in the Joyner and Connor residence halls. More than 80 students from the Joyner and Connor residence hall communities, five resident advisers, one young alumnus and a former Massey winner saw in Tial qualities meriting recognition: hard work, passion and love. Said the students, “She puts everything she has into her work and truly helps create a home away from home for us.” Tial is originally from Burma, where she worked as a chemistry teacher, and she shares her knowledge of the subject with the students in the residence halls.

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