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Six are honored for service
with Massey Awards

Six employees have been selected by Chancellor Holden Thorp to be honored with a 2010 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award, one of the most coveted distinctions the University bestows to 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., and daughter, Kay Massey Weatherspoon, in creating the Massey-Weatherspoon fund. Income from the fund supports the Massey Awards and Carolina Seminars.

Thorp will host a dinner for the recipients on April 24 to celebrate the 31st year of the awards. Thorp selected this year’s recipients based on nominations from the campus community, and each honoree will receive an award citation and a $6,000 stipend.

The recipients are:
* *Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost;
* *Anson Dorrance, women’s soccer coach;
* *Stephen Farmer, associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions;
* *Patsy Oliver, assistant dean for finance and business, medicine administration;
* *Steven Reznick, psychology professor and associate dean of the Undergraduate Education Office; and
* *Nihlei Tial, housekeeper in the Joyner and Connor residence halls.

According to an Italian proverb, “The right man comes at the right time.” For Carolina, one of those men has been Carney, who came here 30 years ago as an assistant professor of astronomy after receiving his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard.

As an astrophysicist and expert on the distribution of older stars and the formation of the Milky Way galaxy, Carney helped breach the confines of Earth through his work on the Southern Astrophysical Research (or SOAR) Telescope in Cerro Pachon, Chile.

During the past decade, his administrative career at Carolina has soared as well. In 1999, he became chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and then served as senior associate dean for the natural sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Because of Carney’s outstanding performance, Thorp asked him to serve as interim dean of the college in 2008. Thorp had been dean of the college when he was named the University’s 10th chancellor that year.

One year later, Thorp tapped Carney to serve as interim executive vice chancellor and provost when Bernadette Gray-Little left that post to become chancellor of the University of Kansas. Earlier this year, Thorp asked Carney to take the position permanently.

Mia Hamm, widely regarded as the most successful women’s soccer player in history, perhaps is best qualified to explain why Dorrance could be considered the greatest women’s soccer coach in history.

Dorrance realized Hamm’s potential, she said, and he pushed her when she needed to be pushed to be able to realize it.

“He challenged me every single day to constantly improve, nurtured me when he saw that I needed it and molded me not only into the player, but into the person, I am today,” Hamm said.

That ability to mold players to meet their full potential has allowed Dorrance to amass one of the most successful coaching careers ever, not only in soccer, but also throughout athletics.

In a pantheon of the NCAA’s illustrious coaches, he is the first in Division I history to coach a single sport to 20 NCAA titles, and his .934 winning percentage is the highest of any coach in any sport in NCAA history.

Each year, in a process heralded as “an imperfect art and constant balancing act,” Carolina narrows a pool of nearly 24,000 applicants down to 7,000 top undergraduate students who would be a good fit for the University.

At the center of that process is Farmer, who brings to the task what one colleague described as a relentless pursuit of the best and the brightest. At the same time, Farmer has championed programs such as C-STEP for transfer students to increase college access for all students, despite their socioeconomic background.

He also pushed for the expansion of the National College Advising Corps – and the subsequent creation of the College Advising Corps – to help low-income, first- generation and underrepresented students find their way to college. One colleague said the embrace of socioeconomic diversity is not merely a programmatic objective for Farmer, but a personal one.

One first-generation student said she was impressed with Farmer when she and her mother visited campus. It was not so much what he said, but how well he listened, the student said. In that act, she said, Farmer showed “he really cared about me as a person,” which ultimately led to her decision to enroll.

Since joining Carolina’s staff in 1990 as an accountant in the Controller’s Office, Oliver has progressed through a series of positions with increasing levels of responsibility, first in the School of Public Health and later in the School of Medicine.

The dean, vice dean and executive associate dean, all of whom nominated her for the Massey Award, said Oliver is universally praised by department chairs, center directors and business managers as a true asset both to the School of Medicine and the University.

“She is always gracious, helpful and generally wonderful, no matter the size, scope or complexity of the matter at hand,” they wrote.

In recent years, Oliver has been instrumental in seeing the School of Medicine through the rounds of state budget cuts, nominators said.

In addition, she served on the steering committee for EPAWeb, a system that incorporates EPA personnel business rules to improve the processing and approval of personnel actions for all EPA employees.

Since his arrival at Carolina in 1998 as a professor of psychology, Reznick has established a reputation as both a “methodically sophisticated researcher” and a capable administrator who has earned the position as director of the program in developmental psychology.

“He loves to brainstorm ideas and, simply, to get things done,” wrote a nominator. “When he sees a need, he does not sit on the sidelines, but rather jumps in and gets to work.”

As associate dean for first-year seminars and academic experiences, Reznick has committed himself to using the first-year seminar as a vehicle to foster a sense of community while introducing students to both the joys and rigor of academic life.

His commitment to the broader community is evident in his work with the UNC Faculty-Staff Recreation Association – also known as the Farm. As both a former board member and president of the Farm, Reznick was the driving force in the effort to replace the aging building with a modern facility. He attended town council meetings, met with planners and helped establish a long-term capital improvements plan with town staff members.

More than 80 students from the Joyner and Connor residence hall communities, five resident advisers, one young alumnus and a former Massey winner saw in Tial these same qualities meriting recognition: hard work, passion and love.

Said the students, “She puts everything she has into her work and truly helps create a home away from home for us!”

Students often spot Tial scrubbing her way up and down the hall to dust the fringes of the walls, or sweeping the stairwells, prompting one student to write, “She does all the regular duties of a housekeeper with such determination that dirt and grime stand no chance.”

Tial is originally from Burma where she worked as a chemistry teacher and she shares her knowledge of the subject with the students in the residence halls.

While mastering English, she communicates through the universal vocabulary of friendliness, the students said.

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April 14 Gazette PDF

Click here to read the
April 14 issue as a pdf


* *University conducts emergency drill off campus on April 21

* *Six are honored for service with Massey Awards

* *Meanza and Stuart teach graduate students how to present their science

* *Historian returns home to teach Carolina’s first Lumbee Indian course

2010 University Teaching Awards insert

Click here to read the
2010 University Teaching Award Winners insert as a pdf

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