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Six UNC Employees Recognized With Massey Awards

Six employees have been selected by Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 to receive 2012 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most coveted distinctions the University gives faculty and staff.

The late C. Knox Massey ’25 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, 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.

Thorp will honor the recipients, who were chosen from nominations from the campus community, at an awards luncheon on April 28. Each will receive a $6,000 stipend and an award citation.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Matthew Brody, associate vice chancellor for human resources, of Chapel Hill. Since joining the University 10 years ago, Brody has been known for embodying a “client-centered” philosophy, nominators say, and the trust he has established with many colleagues across campus has transformed human resources service delivery at Carolina. He is noted for responding to customer needs by presenting viable options and solutions in the face of sometimes-limiting state policies. With expertise in project management, Brody also has co-developed and taught graduate-level courses in the School of Information and Library Science and the Gillings School of Global Public Health. He also guest lectures on the principles of leadership and workplace responsibility.
  • Herbert Lee Davis Jr. ’73 (MS, ’80 MPA, ’88 EdD), retired associate director of undergraduate admissions, of Durham. Davis became known as “Dr. Herb” to the thousands of students he helped in Undergraduate Admissions. During his University career, which spanned from 1978 to his retirement last summer, Davis was instrumental in the significant increase in the recruitment, enrollment and retention of minority students at Carolina. His attention to them did not end once they arrived on campus. Although not required to do so, Davis continued to mentor and assist students navigating their college careers, and in the process, he also advanced the admissions profession. His efforts to recruit students from underserved and diverse communities contributed to Carolina’s standing as a model among admissions offices.
  • Mary E. Napier, research associate professor in the department of biochemistry and biophysics and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, of Carrboro. Napier manages the DeSimone Research Group, a 46-person team that focuses on learning how to bring aspects of nanotechnology into the field of medicine, specifically for fabrication and delivery of vaccines or other medicines for the prevention and treatment of diseases. The group, one of the largest at Carolina, conducts its research in 4,500 square feet of lab space and generates about $3.5 million in annual grant support. Napier has several formal and informal responsibilities that add up to coordinating the lab’s multifaceted role. Colleagues say Napier’s presence and commanding capabilities serve as the glue that holds many collaborations together, and she is the compass that keeps each project on track to yield significant research outcomes.
  • Jackie Overton ’85 (’89 MEd), professional development manager in the department of public safety, of Carrboro. Overton has served the University and the surrounding community in a variety of capacities for more than 26 years. In her position as professional development manager, Overton is responsible for organizing and conducting the ongoing in-service training for 180 civilian staff members in the department of public safety. Perhaps even more telling of her commitment to staff members’ personal growth is her devotion to colleagues’ educational advancement. With Overton’s support, several DPS employees have completed two- and four-year degrees as well as postgraduate certificates. For the past two years, Overton has served as chair of the Employee Forum and is an active member of the Black Caucus and University Managers Association.
  • Teretha Diane Rone, housekeeper in facilities services, who works in the School of Government, of Chapel Hill. Budget cuts resulted in Rone being the only housekeeper for the School of Government building. She keeps clean a four-floor building that houses 150 staff and faculty and welcomes five to 500 visitors each week. She is known for meticulous attention to detail, for always greeting others with a smile and a hello and for a willingness to pitch in where needed. She previously was assigned to Hinton James Residence Hall, whose student residents nominated her for this award in 2008. There, she was known for doing her job with integrity and for thoughtfully remembering the many residents’ birthdays by posting birthday cards on their doors.
  • Barbara Stenross, senior assistant dean in the academic advising program, of Carrboro. Stenross began her University career teaching in the department of sociology but soon found that advising was her passion. Stenross currently has the longest continuous service in the office, and colleagues say her institutional knowledge is unsurpassed. She is known for her unflappability — for being calm and helpful to all who approach her, perhaps one reason Stenross recently served as interim director of the Academic Advising Program following the retirement of Carolyn Cannon.

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