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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Six at Carolina receive prestigious Massey Awards

Six employees have been selected by Chancellor Holden Thorp to receive a 2013 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award, 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 27. Each will receive a $7,500 stipend and an award citation. With the growth of the endowment, each award is increasing from $6,000 to $7,500.

This year’s recipients are:


Cotton has been a member of the Housekeeping corps for 16 years. Her current colleagues at UNC Lineberger and the Thurston Bowles building feel lucky to have her working the daytime shift. They call her totally reliable and always cheerful, someone who solves problems before they actually become problems. “She is truly a gem that lives at the intersection of professionalism and kindness,” they wrote in nominating her.




Craven, who retired after 20 years, has been called “the mother of the Housekeeping department,” who counsels, motivates, shows compassion for and even reprimands her co-workers. She began as a housekeeper, and while working took some clerical skills classes offered by the University and worked her way up through the department. Along the way, she has inspired co-workers to broaden their horizons. She has mentored and encouraged success in others, while saying that she was always proud to be a housekeeper.



Davis retired in February after 30 years of service to the state, with 23 at Carolina. Her tenure at UNC was marked by distinction, honor and profound loyalty. She began in the Office of Development, planning events and communications, before being promoted to director of communications and then to the associate vice chancellor post. In that demanding role, she was always on call, and supported many of the University’s historic moments, including presidential visits, new chancellors and the Bicentennial celebration. Through it all she was known for her warmth and collegiality.



Harper has spent 53 years at Carolina, and his work has touched generations of Tar Heels. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees here, and following post-graduate work elsewhere, joined the Division of Cardiology – moving from part-time clinical professor to full-time faculty member. In 1999, he was appointed associate dean and director of medical alumni affairs in the School of Medicine, and served in that capacity until retiring last July. He continues part-time as a clinical professor. During his tenure as associate dean, scholarship support grew and the active alumni donor base increased significantly. The Medical Alumni Loyalty Fund has established six endowed professorships.


Sahle joined the African and Afro-American studies faculty in 2001 as an expert in the political and economic development of Africa in the context of globalization. She became department chair on Jan. 1, 2012, during a very challenging period in its history. The department is now emerging from an academic crisis with vitality and rigor because of Sahle’s outstanding leadership, academic vision, inclusive work style, integrity and unselfish service. Her willingness to step into this leadership role at such a critical juncture is one indication of how deeply she cares about the University, its faculty and students, and the department’s role on campus.



Stabile serves as the University’s public records officer. Since she was hired into the position in 2009, the volume, scope and complexity of public records requests has increased exponentially. According to nominators, she brings to her work the diplomatic skills of a Secretary of State, organizational skills of the national archivist, analytic skills of a law professor and the stamina and drive of the Energizer Bunny. She has provided a vital service to the University in a very challenging time. She frequently faces impossible deadlines and works under much scrutiny and pressure – all with exceptional skill, integrity and poise.