Six Carolina staff members have been selected to receive the 2020 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award, one of the most prestigious distinctions for faculty and staff.
The late C. Knox Massey of Durham created the 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, to create the Massey-Weatherspoon fund. Income from the fund supports the Massey Awards and Carolina Seminars. The Massey Award winners each receive a $10,000 stipend.
This year’s recipients are Tom Bythell, University forest manager; Julie Cannefax, student/business services coordinator in the curriculum in toxicology in the School of Medicine; Steve Davis ’74, associate director and research archaeologist, Research Laboratories of Archaeology; Joseph Jordan, interim vice provost for academic and community engagement and director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History; Patti Wilkinson, business officer, Office of the Chancellor; and Carol Womack, housekeeper.
Bythell, arborist and University forest manager for 22 years, has championed the trees that contribute to Carolina’s heritage of beauty and dignity. His responsibilities include the landscapes on North and South Campus, the ashes garden and display areas and the forest and trails in Carolina North. Though trees are his first love, he also is grounds liaison to capital projects and oversees pest management, grounds recycling, irrigation tracking, water conservation and snow removal.
For more than 25 years, Cannefax has been the hub and heart of Carolina’s curriculum in toxicology. The unit’s only administrative staff member, she responds to detailed financial reports required by various granting agencies and, as funding sources change for graduate students and postdocs, makes sure their salaries and stipends are paid on time.
Davis has perfected the art of exploring the science of archaeology. With the precision of sculptors, he and his students resurrect artifacts from the past. Davis has been at Carolina for 37 years and is widely regarded as the preeminent archaeological expert on North Carolina’s late pre-Colonial and Colonial native peoples. He is author and co-author of an extensive catalog of publications.
Jordan is a scholar of national stature with 20 years of service to the University. As director of the Stone Center, he has pioneered hundreds of academic initiatives, art exhibits, lectures, film screenings, discussions and standing programs. Two of his projects attracted an international audience: a six-day festival-conference called “Telling Our Stories of Home,” held in spring 2016; and the 1619 Collective Memory(ies) Symposium, held last November.
Wilkinson began her Carolina career more than 35 years ago with UNC Health Care and since then has left her mark of excellence on positions in the School of Government, on two fundraising campaigns with University Development and in collaborative support to the University Ombuds Office and the ConnectCarolina portal, among others. She joined the chancellor’s office as an executive assistant to the chief of staff and the Board of Trustees, and she now is the business officer in the chancellor’s office.
For more than 14 years, Womack has ensured that learning takes place in an atmosphere of cleanliness and order. She is keeper of 18 houses of learning — classrooms and laboratories as varied as the Hanes Art Center and the Love House and Hutchins Forum. Womack’s workload includes high-traffic, high-volume spaces filled with students, faculty and administrators, and a building that houses confidential information and must be cleaned while staff are present.