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Six Employees Honored With 2007 Massey Awards

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Carolina will honor six employees with 2007 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most coveted honors bestowed by the University, on April 28.

Recipients are:

  • Terry J. Bowers, an electronics technician with the Housing Support Department in Facilities Services, of Hillsborough;
  • Carolyn Cannon, associate dean and director of the academic advising programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and General College, of Durham;
  • Sue Klapper, senior associate director of Undergraduate Admissions, of Chapel Hill;
  • Dr. Michael S. O’Malley, associate director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, of Chapel Hill;
  • Kirk P. Pelland, director of the Grounds Services Department, of Hillsborough; and
  • Wanda Thompson, a housekeeper in Winston Residence Hall, of Siler City.

Chancellor James Moeser selected this year’s recipients based on nominations submitted by the campus community. Each honoree will receive an award citation and a $6,000 stipend.

Nominators provided the following descriptions of this year’s honorees:

Terry J. Bowers

Bowers is the driving force in the installation and maintenance of a networked access-control system that monitors every automatic door, exterior door, bath, hallway and bedroom door throughout 38 residence halls, nine family apartment buildings and an office building in Baity Hill.

His positive attitude, his personal pride in his work and his willingness to take on additional responsibilities are some of the attributes that set him apart from others. He is the kind of person who will respond to any emergency as needed, whether manning a chain saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Fran or a snow shovel to clear steps and pathways after the latest snow storm.

Carolyn Cannon

Cannon is not only an important advocate for students, she also is directly responsible for much of their success. When the Board of Trustees suggested a thorough review of student advising, Cannon embraced the task with “eager enthusiasm – anxious to have confirmation of what is being done well but also anxious for improvement.”

Another nominator described Cannon as a compassionate adviser of students, a strong leader and a consummate professional. “It is through her leadership that advising has grown into a thriving department, meeting the needs of so many students, and it is through her continued passion for students that we will continue to grow.”

Sue Klapper

In her 26 years of distinguished service, Klapper has worn many hats, and all of them well. As director of Undergraduate Admissions, she gave “practically her entire adult life to help students achieve their dream of studying at Carolina.” In musty auditoriums, sweaty gymnasiums, stuffy cafeterias or cramped guidance counselor offices, Klapper, who retired April 1, has served as a campus ambassador to high school students in schools “Down East.”

“Her smile gave students their first lesson in how friendly and welcoming our campus can be,” her award citation said. “Her encouragement fueled their ambition and her knowledge gave them an avenue to their dreams.”

Dr. Michael S. O’Malley

As associate director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in the School of Medicine and co-director of the Comprehensive Cancer Education Program, O’Malley’s work reaches beyond campus to touch countless lives. Described as the “cancer maven” by one colleague, O’Malley’s expertise is enhanced by complementary skills as an administrator, teacher and scientist.

One colleague cited O’Malley’s sense of humor, his good nature and, above all, the enormous jar that he keeps filled with chocolates in his office as among his many contributions to others. “The chocolate jar, of course, is merely a convenient metaphor for Dr. O’Malley’s influence on the tone of the administrative office here at Lineberger,” she said. It is professional without being stuffy, she said, and productive without being grim. “Dr. O’Malley is one of the main sources of this Lineberger ambience.”

Kirk P. Pelland

The Davie Poplar is but one testament to the enduring work of Pelland, the lead forester and grounds director who has nurtured this venerable university landmark, as well as Davie Poplar Jr., Davie Poplar III and the 729 sylvan acres of central campus since March 1982.

During Hurricane Fran in 1996, Pelland stayed on campus throughout the night and saw the devastation at first light: 200-year-old oaks blown over at the roots; pines and Bradford pears split and splintered; mature hardwoods snapped off in mid-trunk. Undaunted, Pelland saved the Davie Poplar by filling its trunk with cement and bolstering its battered branches with cables.

Named grounds department director in 1997, Pelland has cultivated a team committed to participatory management and fair treatment to all,” said one nominator. “Because of his personal example, the internal problems of the grounds department have disappeared and the organization is among the most professional and efficient departments on campus.”

Wanda Thompson

Thompson’s name has never written an important research paper, nor does she excel on the basketball court but she has found a way to distinguish herself all in the same in the eyes of the students at Winston Residence Hall who see her, not as their housekeeper, but as a mother figure and friend.

Thompson, said one student, is “the reason that this University is great.”

“Every day, rain or shine, she walks the halls, singing to herself, smiling from ear to ear, greeting the sleepless students she has come to know, working behind the scenes … ready with a word of encouragement, a compliment or simply a smile,” he said.

Her genuine care for the students and staff of Connor and Winston residence halls and the pride she takes in a job well done inspired 32 letters of support. “She provides our dorm with a loving and caring atmosphere,” said one student. “The college experience wouldn’t be the same without her.”

The late C. Knox Massey ’25 of Durham created the Massey awards in 1980 to recognize “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by University 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 this fund supports both the Massey Awards as well as Carolina Seminars, which promote interdisciplinary thought, study, discussion and intellectual interchange on a wide variety of topics.

Massey was a former advertising executive. He served two decades as a trustee and worked without pay to promote the statewide Good Health Campaign that led to the creation of a four-year medical school and teaching hospital at Carolina. He then worked as a “dollar-a-year” special assistant to the chancellor, aiding in the development of scholarships, professorships and other awards.

Massey chaired the class of 1925 gift endowment campaign that raised the first 50-year reunion gift of more than $50,000. In 1990, he was inducted into the N.C. Advertising Hall of Fame, based at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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