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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Four alumni honored with prestigious Davie Awards

At a Nov. 17 dinner, Chancellor Carol L. Folt and the University Board of Trustees presented the board’s highest honor, the William Richardson Davie Award, to four alumni in recognition of their “dedication, commitment, loyalty and service.”

The honorees are: Alston Gardner of Chapel Hill; Sheldon Peck of Boston; Sallie Shuping-Russell of Chapel Hill; and John Townsend of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Established by the trustees in 1984, the Davie Award is named for the Revolutionary War hero who is considered the father of the University. It recognizes extraordinary service to the University or society.

Alston Gardner

Alston Gardner

Gardner is a North Carolina native who founded OnTarget Inc., a consulting and training firm focused on the information technology industry. Under his leadership, OnTarget grew from a start-up to the industry leader in sales force development. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Carolina and completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in psychology at Columbia University. His involvement at Carolina has included the Chancellor’s Innovation Circle, Kenan-Flagler Business School Board of
Visitors and the Kenan-Flagler Foundation Board. He served on the Steering Committee for the Carolina First Campaign, chaired the University’s Global Advisory Board and helped lead the effort to build the FedEx Global Education Center.
He served on the Board of Trustees and was vice chairman from 2013 to 2015.

Sheldon Peck

Sheldon Peck

Sheldon Peck was born in Durham and received both his bachelor’s degree in dentistry and his doctor of dental surgery from Carolina. He went on to have a successful orthodontics career in Boston and became a professor of developmental biology at Harvard University’s School of Dental Medicine. His passion for art led him to be a collector of rare drawings. In January 2017, Peck and his wife, Leena, donated 134 of these drawings, which included seven Rembrandts, to the Ackland Art Museum. Peck has served on the National Advisory Board of the Ackland Art Museum, the Collections Committee of the Harvard University Art Museums and the visiting committees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He is currently an adjunct professor of orthodontics at Carolina.

Sallie Shuping-Russell

Sallie Shuping-Russell

Shuping-Russell is a renowned leader in investment and financial management and has helped found numerous companies. She currently serves as a senior adviser with BlackRock’s Private Equity Partners group. She was born in Greensboro and graduated from Carolina with a degree in English and political science. She then earned a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University. She has continued to devote time to her alma mater throughout her adult life. She has served on the UNC Health Care System Board, the Board of Trustees and is currently vice chairman of the UNC Investment Fund. She also chairs the newly established Carolina Research Ventures Board, which invests in companies formed from technologies developed at Carolina. In 2011, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNC General
Alumni Association.

John Townsend

John L. Townsend III

Townsend graduated from Carolina with an undergraduate degree in English and history and also earned a master’s degree in business administration. He then went on to become a proficient investment banker, working at firms such as Goldman Sachs & Co., where he was a general partner and managing director. He continued his business career after retiring from Goldman Sachs in 2002, serving in a leadership position for numerous companies, including Tiger Management, LLC. At Carolina, he has served on the executive committee of the UNC Investment Fund, Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Board of Visitors and Ackland Art Museum’s National Advisory Board. A former member of the Board of Trustees, Townsend co-chairs the Campaign for Carolina, the University’s current $4.25 billion fundraising drive. He and his wife, Maree, recently made a $50 million gift that will benefit areas and programs across campus, including the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Ackland Art Museum.