Six UNC Staff Members Earn C. Knox Massey Awards

In recognition of their “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions,” six University employees will receive the 2019 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards. Chosen from campuswide nominations by Interim Chancellor Kevin M Guskiewicz, the recipients will be honored at an April 27 awards luncheon. Each winner receives a $10,000 stipend.

The late C. Knox Massey ’25 of Durham established the award in 1980. In 1984, Massey 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. This year marks the award’s 40th anniversary.

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Robert G. Anthony Jr. ’82 (MSLS), curator of the North Carolina Collection and director of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center for University Libraries. Anthony has devoted his nearly 40-year career to caring for and about the knowledge and artifacts that define North Carolina’s cultural heritage. While earning his master’s degree in library science from Carolina, he was introduced to the North Carolina Collection and after graduation in 1982, returned to his alma mater as development librarian. He was appointed curator of the North Carolina Collection in 1994 and now manages 19 million cultural heirlooms in the nation’s largest single-state collection. He is praised for digitizing the collection and expanding its influence far beyond its home in Wilson Library.
  • Lynn White Blanchard ’85 (MPH, ’89 PhD), director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. Blanchard has elevated Carolina into one of the nation’s top universities for service learning. She joined the staff in 1992 and, in 2002, became director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. The center is home to APPLES Service-Learning, the Buckley Public Service Scholars Program, the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Program and coordination of the University’s disaster response. In the aftermath of hurricanes Michael and Florence in 2018, Blanchard organized relief efforts that included more than 60,000 pounds of supplies delivered to affected areas.
  • Nancy Denise Burton, receptionist and administrative support specialist for Housekeeping Services. Burton took classes in her spare time to advance from her position as third-shift housekeeper to become an administrative support specialist in Housekeeping Services. In 18 years at Carolina, she has inspired and motivated others through an admirable personal and collective work ethic. She is valued not only for the tremendous responsibility she carries, but also for the collegiality she cultivates.
  • Linda Brown Douglas ’82, director of volunteer engagement for University Development. Douglas returned to her alma mater in 1998 as director of community relations in University Relations, and since then has served Carolina through outreach that exceeds her current responsibilities as director of volunteer engagement in University Development. Her previous positions included leading the Tar Heel Bus Tour and increasing gifts to the Carolina Cares, Carolina Shares campaign for University Development. She is currently working to raise the profile and impact of the Board of Visitors and spearheading the University’s Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity efforts.
  • Deborah L. Hawkins ’88, manager of parking control and event operations in Transportation and Parking. Nearly 75 colleagues nominated Hawkins — who in 2008 received a certificate in community preparedness and disaster management from the Gillings School of Global Public Health —  praising her leadership, operational experience, responsiveness and logistical savvy. In 29 years of service to the University, she has overseen parking for the arrival and departure of two U.S. presidents, one first lady and two vice presidents. Though visits from dignitaries are not common, large-scale event parking is as regular as the 10,000-student migration each semester and as untimely as a funeral. In 2017, the Employee Forum presented Hawkins with its highest honor, the Three-Legged Stool Award, recognizing those who promote cooperation and collaboration among faculty, staff and students.
  • Sharon Horton Jones, director of student services and assessment at the School of Media and Journalism. In nearly 47 years of service, Jones has acquired invaluable institutional knowledge and the wisdom to apply it for the good of all concerned. She is praised by her co-workers for being supportive, collaborative and involved. Nominators describe her as a mother figure, “the heart and soul of the School” and “a hero to thousands of students.” As director of assessment, Jones is as attentive to administrative detail as she is to those who seek her counsel. She successfully supervises the processes necessary to receive endorsement by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.


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