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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Six earn Massey Awards for distinguished service

Six employees have been selected by Chancellor Holden Thorp 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 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 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:



Since joining the University 10 years ago, Brody has embodied 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 responds to customer needs by presenting viable options and solutions in the face of sometimes-limiting state policies. His service to the University extends beyond his office.

With expertise in project management, Brody 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.



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.



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.



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 post-graduate 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.



Rone is the only daytime housekeeper for the School of Government building. It is a big job. Along with four colleagues who work during the third shift (which begins at 11 p.m.), Rone helps keep clean a four-floor building that houses 150 staff and faculty, and that 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 was previously 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.



Stenross lives her commitment to undergraduate students every day. As senior assistant dean, Stenross sends advising emails as needed at all hours of the day.

She 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.