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
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
The recipients are:
Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost;
Dorrance, women’s soccer coach;
Farmer, associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions;
Oliver, assistant dean for finance and business, medicine administration;
Reznick, psychology professor and associate dean of the Undergraduate Education
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
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
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
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
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
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.