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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Outstanding service earns six employees prestigious Massey Awards

Six employees at Carolina have been selected by Chancellor Carol L. Folt to receive the 2018 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most coveted distinctions earned by faculty and staff.

“These amazing people, through their hard work and dedication, day in and day out, create the Carolina we love,” Folt said. “They are incredible community builders and we thank them for their service and commitment to excellence.”

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, to create the Massey-Weatherspoon fund. Income from the fund supports the Massey Awards and Carolina Seminars. The Massey Award winners will each receive a $10,000 stipend.

Chosen from campus-wide nominations, the Massey Award recipients will be honored at a luncheon hosted by Folt on April 14, where they will receive their award citation and stipend. This year’s recipients are:

Martina Kendrick Ballen

As umpire, judge, referee and timekeeper for finances in the department of athletics, Ballen makes the calls that keep the department’s budget balanced and healthy. A Carolina graduate, she joined the staff in 1987 as director of finance and rose through the ranks to become senior associate director of athletics and chief financial
officer. She now administers revenues totaling $95.5 million. In an environment that embraces competition, she is committed to equity, and is described as caring, deliberate, tough and a role model for integrity and heart. Ballen leads the department’s diversity committee and created and helped launch Tar Heel Trailblazers honoring African­-American student-athletes who paved the way for those who follow. She is past chair of the board of directors of the Autism Society of North Carolina and in addition to her Massey Award, received the 2011 Harvey Elliott Beech Outstanding Alumna Award.

Gregory J. Gangi

Gangi is a powerful advocate for the environments that shape life. He joined the faculty in 2000 and, with dual roles as associate director for education in the UNC Institute for the Environment and associate teaching professor in environment and ecology, he connects scientific curiosity to intellectual capital across campus and in the state, nation and world. Gangi is renowned for his dedication to his students. He was previously honored with a Tanner Teaching Award and twice recognized by the National Academic Advising Association for innovative approaches to mentoring. For more than a decade, Gangi has served as faculty mentor and faculty coordinator for the University’s Scholars Program. “He is an agent of institutional change at Carolina,” wrote a colleague. Gangi’s classroom knows no boundaries. He leads environmental field studies around the world, created dual-degree programs in schools across campus and established the UNC Clean Tech Summit to link students, their ideas and energy to industry leaders and potential careers in the environment.

Nan Kham

Clean workspace creates a healthy workplace, lifting spirits, enhancing productivity and making a difference for staff, students and faculty. With 11 years of service to the University and as a housekeeper in Taylor Hall, Kham creates a community in which teaching, research and service thrive. More than 75 colleagues praised her many professional and personal contributions to their well-being, noting her “above and beyond” efforts to accommodate their work schedules and address the unique challenges of maintaining many laboratories in an aging building. “When Nan is working in Taylor, the surroundings become brighter, literally,” praised a colleague. Outside her normal responsibilities, Kham works with facilities services’ recycling during student move-in day, contributes to staff activities and volunteers in the Carolina Campus Community Garden. In the words of a nominator, “She is extremely hard-working, efficient, helpful and approachable.”

Ronald L. Mangum

For Mangum, social work is more than a career; it’s a calling. For 20 years, Mangum’s calling has been the highest and most perfect expression of University outreach. Mangum brings best practices to all 100 North Carolina counties, working with providers who partner with the State Bureau of Investigation to rescue children in home-based meth labs, and who work in juvenile justice recidivism, child abuse, neglect and substance use. Most recently, he helped build and implement North Carolina’s certified peer support specialist program, credentialing people who live in recovery to support others in need. “More than 3,000 [North Carolinians] are engaged in meaningful volunteer or paid employment — rather than being ‘disabled’— due in part to the opportunities Ron has helped to create,” wrote a nominator. Mangum also developed a classroom lecture linking his personal experience as a black man in segregated Durham to his expertise working with vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed populations. “I appreciate your candidness and generosity,” wrote a student. “It is an inspiration.”

Daryl Maurice Odom

Senior administrators from the Kenan Center, Kenan-Flagler Business School and the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust nominated Odom in gratitude for his 30 years of professionalism and goodwill. In the words of a colleague, “Daryl’s devotion to high standards, his respect for his environment and his collegial attitude toward co-workers, staff and visitors to the Kenan Center make him a wonderful role model for other employees.” Described as “meticulous,” Odom upholds the values of integrity, accountability, service and trust. In addition to his Massey Award and in recognition of his longstanding and outstanding job performance, he was honored during the Employee Forum peer recognition award ceremony with the call of duty award for those who go above and beyond their job expectations. In words of high praise, one nominator wrote, “To see Daryl is to recognize that this is a person who takes pride in all he does.”

Barbara Polk

She is Carolina’s own, a 1979 graduate, and among the University’s finest—honored as an undergraduate with membership in the Order of the Golden Fleece. In 1980, the University hired Polk to find and secure the next generation of its best and brightest. Now deputy director and senior associate director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, she was the driving force behind the University’s policy to end early-decision, putting Carolina at the forefront of a movement to release high school seniors from a premature and binding academic commitment. Working with the department of athletics, Barbara balanced competing demands to identify student-athletes who are as capable in the classroom as they are in their chosen arena.Described as fair, honest, tireless, selfless and gracious, she is especially valued for helping students and families in distress. “Her good deeds have typically taken place behind the scenes and out of the limelight,” wrote a colleague. “She has done them out of love for the University and the goodness of her heart.”