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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alumni association honors three for outstanding service

Recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Service Medals are, from left, Phillip L. Clay, Teresa Holland Williams and Dwight D. Stone.

The General Alumni Association on May 12 honored three alumni for their service to the University or the association.

Recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Service Medals are Phillip L. Clay, former member of the UNC Board of Trustees; Dwight D. Stone, current member and former chair of the trustees; and Teresa Holland Williams, former member and chair of the GAA Board of Directors.

The medals were presented at the GAA’s Annual Alumni Luncheon during spring reunions weekend. The association has awarded the medals since 1978 to alumni and others who have provided outstanding service to the association or the University.

Clay, of Boston, graduated with degrees in history and urban studies. After receiving his doctorate in city planning from MIT in 1975, he joined its faculty and served as chancellor from 2001 to 2011.

In 2002, he received Carolina’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. The following year, he served as an inaugural member of the Faculty Development Advisory Group through the Institute for the Arts and Humanities to identify and elevate leaders within the University. In 2007, he began the first of two terms on the Board of Trustees. As a student, he was a leader in Campus Y and created the Carolina Talent Search, sending students to high schools to recruit more students of color.

After retiring from MIT in 2011, Clay turned his attention to advancing colleges in Africa, extending to them the same advice and help that he gave to other universities around the world when he was chancellor. 

Stone, of Greensboro, graduated with a degree in history and worked in banking before joining his family’s construction business, D. Stone Builders, where he is president. He has been active in the Greensboro community, including serving on the executive committee of the Greensboro Builders Association and the boards of the Greensboro Sports Commission and Greensboro Sports Council and the Habitat for Humanity Raising Roofs Committee.

Before becoming a University trustee, Stone was appointed in 2011 to the search committee that led to the hiring of Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham and in 2012 to the committee that recommended the appointment of Chancellor Carol L. Folt. He joined the board of The Educational Foundation in 2004 and served 13 years, including a stint as chair. He has chaired UNC’s Executive Cup Golf Tournament and been a member of the Chancellor’s Philanthropic Council.

Stone grew up on a farm in the tiny town of Spivey’s Corner, famous for its hollerin’ contest. No one in his family had gone to college, but when his aunt took him to a Carolina football game, he was hooked. “That never went away,” he said.

Williams, of Huntersville, graduated with a degree in psychology and was a counselor in a drug treatment program before spending the majority of her career in volunteer positions. She has often focused on education, such as serving on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board and the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees, where she ended her tenure as chair.

She came from humble beginnings in her hometown of High Point and didn’t have role models to show her how to function in a room full of leaders and CEOs. Yet others saw her natural leadership abilities. She is known for digging deep to find resolutions. 

At Carolina, the GAA appointed her to its Board of Directors in 2011, and she served two terms, including as chair in 2016–17. She is a founding member of the GAA-sponsored Black Alumni Reunion Light on the Hill Society. She served on the chancellor’s advisory committee for the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and the boards of visitors for UNC and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. As a student, she sang with the Black Student Movement Gospel Choir.

Read citations for each of the winners.