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Chancellor Folt to deliver lecture on water research April 23

April 16, 2015

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt, an internationally recognized environmental scientist whose research has focused on the effects of mercury and arsenic on human and ecosystem health, salmonid fisheries management and restoration, and global climate change, will deliver the lecture “Water in Our World: Past Is Present, Future Is Fragile, But We Can Make a Difference” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the FedEx Global Education Center.

The presentation is the culminating event for Carolina’s first campus-wide theme, “Water in Our World, ” which was brought forward by the Global Research Institute and embraced as a campus theme from 2012 to 2015.

“To arrive at Chapel Hill in the midst of the Water in Our World theme, a subject so close to my heart professionally and personally, made me feel even more certain that Carolina was the place for me,” Folt said. “I continue to be inspired by the way Carolina’s students, faculty and staff are taking on one of our biggest global challenges in a truly collaborative way.”

Water has long been a subject of significance for Folt. Before being installed as Carolina’s 11th chancellor and first female leader in October 2013, she earned a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology, a master’s degree in biology and a doctorate in ecology from the University of California at Davis and completed postdoctoral work at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University. She came to Carolina from Dartmouth College, where she was a Professor of Biological Sciences, faculty member and administrator for 30 years. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The chancellor’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Global Research Institute, UNC Global, The Water Institute at UNC, the Water in Our World steering committee and the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering.

Jamie Bartram, Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and director of The Water Institute at UNC in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Peter Coclanis, Albert Ray Newsome Distinguished Professor of History in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the Global Research Institute, will provide introductory remarks.  The presentation will also be followed by a question and answer session and a public reception.

The FedEx Global Education Center is located at 301 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill. Parking will be available in the garage below the building beginning at 5 p.m.

Published April 16, 2015

Three Tar Heels named 2015 Goldwater Scholars

April 15, 2015

Three UNC-Chapel Hill students have been awarded 2015 Goldwater Scholarships as announced by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Larry Han, a junior from Raleigh, Anya Katsevich, a sophomore from Oviedo, Florida, and Mary Kaitlyn Tsai, a junior from Apex, received the prestigious award that provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics, engineering and computer disciplines.

Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit. In 2015, 260 recipients were chosen from a field of 1,206 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

Han, who was valedictorian of his senior class at Leesville Road High School, is a Morehead-Cain Scholar double majoring in biostatistics and mathematics with a minor in chemistry. He studied abroad during the spring of 2014 as a Phillips Ambassador at the National University of Singapore and is currently in the Honors Carolina program with multiple publications and presentations to his credit. Additionally, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring.

“Larry has exceptional ability, selflessness, and focus, which he will apply to problems in public health,” said Jason Reed, associate professor of biology and chair of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Goldwater selection committee, “He has used statistical models to explore factors that influence HIV transmission in China, and malaria transmission in the Congo.”

Han has researched public health issues with the International Diagnostics Center at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Spatial Health Research Group, and the UNC Project-China Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. He serves as a teaching assistant and coordinating committee member for the Foreign Policy Association at UNC-Chapel Hill and is co-founder of the Corpore Sano Undergraduate Medical Journal. Han also works as a development coordinator for Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health Global, developing fundraising protocol and disbursement of funds to promote HIV testing in China and Hong Kong.

Katsevich, a mathematics major and German minor, is currently conducting high-dimensional data collection research in the department of statistics in the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences. Believing in the benefits of big data analysis, she is using her research to find practical applications of mathematical theory. As a freshman, Katsevich founded and presided over the Carolina Math Club and also participates in Carolina’s German Club.

“Anya is an intellectually precocious mathematician who has published two papers in professional mathematics journals,” said Reed. “At UNC, she has embarked on a graduate-level mathematics curriculum, and passed the graduate qualifying exam in Analysis at the end of her freshman year.”

Katsevich was valedictorian of her senior class at Oviedo High School where she was enrolled in a dual program at Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida, taking undergraduate and graduate level math. While taking class at UCF, she conducted research that resulted in published works printed in mathematics journals.

Tsai, a chemistry major with a focus in biochemistry and a medical anthropology minor, participates in UNC-Chapel Hill’s undergraduate research program conducting complex chemical reactions and binding studies of amino acids and peptides. She volunteers at UNC Hospitals in cardiology and pediatrics in addition to coaching in the “Girls on the Run” program at Ephesus Elementary, an endeavor that teaches young girls character-building through running. Tsai was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring.

“Kaitlyn is a burgeoning scientific talent with interests in using detailed understanding of epigenetic mechanisms to develop treatments for many diseases,” said Reed.

Tsai has previously worked as a research assistant at the UNC-Chapel Hill radiation oncology department and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education. She graduated from the Academy of Information Technology at Apex High School

UNC-Chapel Hill has produced a total 44 Goldwater Scholars, including 30 since Fall 2000. The last time three UNC-Chapel Hill students were named recipients in the same year was 2010.

Published April 15, 2015

Teaching Award winners represent 16 departments, three schools

April 15, 2015

The University Teaching Awards are the highest campus-wide recognition for teaching excellence. This year’s instructors come from faculty and teaching assistants, representing 16 departments and three schools.

A special insert on the winners appears in the April 15 issue of the University Gazette and online at

Published April 15, 2015

Six receive Massey Awards for meritorious service

April 15, 2015

In recognition of their “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt selected six Carolina employees to receive 2015 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most coveted distinctions earned by faculty and staff.

The late C. Knox Massey of Durham created the awards in 1980, and in 1984, 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.

Chosen from campus-wide nominations, the Massey Award recipients will be honored at a luncheon hosted by Folt on April 25. Each will receive a $7,500 stipend and an award citation. This year’s recipients are:

  • Faydene Alston, a housekeeper assigned to Kenan-Flagler Business School;
  • Claudio Battaglini, associate professor, Exercise and Sports Science;
  • Ma Charina Brooks, a housekeeper assigned to Grimes residence hall;
  • DeVetta Holman Nash, assistant director, Student Wellness Services;
  • Christopher Payne, associate vice chancellor and senior operating Officer, Student Affairs; and
  • James Spurling, director of Kenan Stadium and Football Facility, Athletics.

For more on the recipients, please see the University Gazette.

Published April 15, 2015.

UNC Relay for Life aims to raise $150,000

April 14, 2015

More than 900 members of the Carolina community will walk for 20 straight hours this weekend to raise money for the American Cancer Society during the Relay for Life.

Beginning at 6 p.m. on April 17 and ending at 1 p.m. on April 18, the overnight event at Fetzer Field is the signature fundraising activity for the American Cancer Society and serves as a celebration of Relay of Life of UNC-Chapel Hill’s yearlong efforts.

The participants will be organized into 126 teams and take turns lapping Belk Track.

“It’s people walking to symbolize that the fight never ends,” said Carolina Warburton, an event organizer. “People are fighting cancer every single day. …It’s a celebration of the lives that have been saved and of the lives that have been lost.”

A Luminaria Ceremony will be held at 9 p.m. on April 17 and will feature a guest speaker. The ceremony, which begins with the lighting of luminaries and a lap around the track, serves as a time to remember people who had died from cancer, those who currently have cancer and cancer survivors.

“The Luminaria Ceremony is for honoring those have survived and remembering those we’ve lost to cancer,” said Darrin Benjuema, co-director of the event. “It’s incredibly moving to see the luminaries light up the track as we walk a few laps under the stars.”

In addition to walking, the event will feature games, entertainment and food as teams continue to raise more money for the cause.

Since the event began in 1996, the Relay for Life at UNC has raised more than $150,000 each year with a majority of the money heading back to the UNC Hospitals.

“A majority of the money that we make comes right back here” Warburton said. “We raise money at UNC and it goes back to UNC.”

Click here to sign up for Relay for Life.

By Brandon Bieltz, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Published April 14, 2015

UNC-Chapel Hill to award six honorary degrees at Commencement

April 14, 2015

Six celebrated individuals will receive honorary degrees at the Spring Commencement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on May 10.

Additionally, media and entertainment innovator Jason Kilar will deliver the Commencement address. Kilar, who graduated from Carolina in 1993, is the co-founder and CEO of Vessel, and was previously the founding CEO of Hulu.

Commencement will be held in Kenan Stadium beginning at 9 a.m., Chancellor Carol L. Folt will preside over the ceremony.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are:

Catarina de Albuquerque

de albuquerque_catrina_15_001Doctor of Laws

Catarina de Albuquerque is a world-renowned international human rights lawyer and advocate. She earned her law degree from the University of Lisbon and completed the master’s program in international relations-international law branch at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Throughout her career, Albuquerque has focused her efforts behind issues surrounding health and human rights worldwide. From 2004 to 2008 she presided over United Nations negotiations in regards to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, resulting in an agreement allowing individuals to present complaints before the U.N. against their own governments for alleged violations of socio-economic rights.

Albuquerque also served as the first U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, holding the position until 2014. She currently serves as the vice chair of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), a global partnership of more than 90 developing countries’ governments, donors, civil society organizations and others working toward universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

She has presented several times at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health, has participated in Carolina’s Water and Health conferences in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, she delivered UNC-Chapel Hill’s Health and Human Rights Lecture. Albuquerque has received many international and Portuguese national awards, including the Jean Pictet Prize in International Humanitarian Law), the Portuguese Parliament’s Human Rights Golden Medal, and the President of Portugal’s Condecoration with the Order of Merit.

Peter Ware Higgs

Higgs and Folt.jpgA
Photo by David Cheskin

Doctor of Science

Due to an inability to attend the UNC–Chapel May Commencement, Peter Higgs received the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa from Chancellor Carol Folt on March 3, 2015, at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Peter Higgs is professor of physics and astronomy emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles.”

Higgs spent 1965-1966 at the Bahson Institute of Field Physics at UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a theoretical paper that lies with work completed by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). CERN unveiled the final piece of the standard model of elementary particle physics in July 2012 with the announcement of a Higgs boson-like particle, named after Higgs. This theoretical framework describes all fundamental particles and forces except for gravity.

Higgs and others advanced the theory that elementary particles acquire their mass from their interactions with the Higgs field, also of his namesake, that permeates all space. Finding the Higgs boson-like particle means the Higgs field really exists.

Mary Elizabeth Junck

junck_mary_15.jpgDoctor of Laws

Mary Junck is chief executive officer and chair of Lee Enterprises, a major newspaper corporation and currently is chair of the board of the Associated Press, America’s leading international news service and a nonprofit organization that stands for the best in journalism.

Facing challenges in the digital age against a traditional economic media model, Junck guided Lee Enterprises by building on the company’s commitment to community values. She built a leadership team to support the business’s growth and prepare the company for increased change. Prior to joining Lee, Junck held several key executive positions at the former Times Mirror Company. She began her career with the Charlotte Observer.

Junck has been a generous and committed supporter of her alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, including her endowment of the Mary Junck Colloquium, an initiative aimed at bringing scholars together to share insights into the world of media. She also supported the school’s move to Carroll Hall and made contributions that helped provide Ph.D. students office space on the faculty floors allowing for greater collaboration. Junck has served on advisory committees for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, including representing alumni interests. She received the University Distinguished Alumna Award in 1997.

Charles Loudermilk Sr.

Charles LoudermilkDoctor of Laws

Charles Loudermilk is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, business and community leader, and consensus builder. He founded Aaron Rents, Inc. in 1955, leading the company until retiring in 2012 and is now chair emeritus.

Loudermilk is a leading member of the Atlanta business community and has been a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club for more than 50 years. He served as co-chair of the Atlanta Action Forum, a small but influential biracial group of behind-the-scenes business leaders who helped establish Atlanta as a role model for racial integration during the 1960s. He co-chaired mayoral campaigns for Andrew Young in 1981 and 1985 and was integral in bringing the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta.

Loudermilk earned his degree in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1950 and has been a generous supporter of his alma mater. He helped fund construction of the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s McColl Building and the Paul J. Rizzo Conference Center at Meadowmont. Loudermilk also donated the funds to build Kenan Stadium’s Loudermilk Center for Excellence, which serves Carolina’s 800 student-athletes across 28 sports. He has served on Board of Visitors and the Carolina First Campaign Committee.

Loudermilk has been recognized with the Board of Trustees’ William Richardson Davie Award and the Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy’s Leader of Distinction Award.

Charles W. Millard III

millard_charles_15_018Doctor of Fine Arts

Charles Millard is a nationally-recognized art history scholar, writer and curator who served as director of the Ackland Art Museum from 1986 to 1993, transforming the museum in several important ways.

Millard published a well-regarded book on Degas’ sculpture in 1979 and continued his scholarly contributions by writing on subjects ranging from Cubism to modern architecture to pottery to photography.

As a museum professional, he has held positions at institutions including Dumbarton Oaks, the Washington Gallery of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art before being appointed the first chief curator of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington.

During his seven years as director of the Ackland, Millard added more than 800 works to the collection, established an education program with an interdisciplinary University liaison, expanded the museum’s staff and accomplished a complete renovation of the Ackland building. Millard continues to be active on the Ackland’s National Advisory Board.

In 2010, Millard sold a personal small sculpture to establish the Tyche Foundation, which then purchased 51 works of art specifically chosen to fill gaps in the Ackland collection.

Wyndham Robertson

robinson_wyndham_002_15.jpgDoctor of Laws

Wyndham Robertson is a pioneer among women in journalism. She joined Fortune magazine in 1961, was promoted to researcher-reporter shortly thereafter, and began writing its landmark personal investing column in 1968. In 1974, Robertson was elected to Fortune’s board of editors in 1974 and became the magazine’s first female assistant managing editor in 1981. Robertson also served as business editor of Time magazine.

In 1986, Robertson left journalism when she was asked by UNC President C. D. Spangler Jr. to become the University’s first female vice president. Robertson spent the last decade of her career as the vice president for communications at UNC, including overseeing the UNC Center for Public Television.

Robertson was a trustee of her alma mater, Hollins University, for 31 years and served one term as chair. She chaired the Campaign for Hollins, an effort that broke fundraising records for southern women’s colleges. Hollins gave her an honorary degree in 2009, when the graduating class invited her to be their commencement speaker, and the Hollins library is named in her honor.

She has also been a generous supporter of UNC-Chapel Hill, particularly the College of Arts and Sciences and Carolina Performing Arts. Robertson has garnered numerous awards from Hollins and historical journalism associations.

In 2013 she was inducted into the North Carolina Halls of Fame in Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations. Currently she is a director of Media General, which owns some 70 television stations throughout the United States, and is on the board of many nonprofits, including the Carolina Performing Arts International Advisory Board, the Friends of the Playmakers Advisory Board, the Stewards Fund and the Robertson Foundation.

Published April 14, 2015

Pharmacy professor receives award for his lifetime of research

April 13, 2015

Kuo-Hsiung Lee, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is the winner of the 2015 Ernest R. Volwiler Award, the highest research award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Lee is the director of the school’s Natural Products Research Laboratories and has been a member of the its faculty for forty-five years.

The award recognizes one researcher annually that has made outstanding lifetime contributions to pharmaceutical and clinical science, pharmacy practice, or social and administrative sciences. Lee will be honored during the 2015 AACP annual meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, July 11 to 15. The distinction comes with a gold medal and a $5,000 prize.

“This award is a true testament to Dr. Lee’s incredible record of sustained excellence in research over the past four decades,” said Robert Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school. “All of our faculty, staff and students offer their congratulations to him for this outstanding and well deserved honor.”

Lee earned his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1968 followed by two years as a postdoctoral scholar in organic chemistry at UCLA before coming to the School as an assistant professor in 1970.

In his 45-year career at the School, Lee has written more than 823 research articles, been issued more than 110 patents and has been invited to deliver more than 400 lectures and presentations. He has been the director of the Natural Products Research Laboratories since 1983 and a Kenan Distinguished Professor since 1992.

Lee was also appointed as chair professor and honorary director of the Chinese Medicine Research and Development Center at the China Medical University and Hospital in Taiwan in 2010 and as chair professor at the College of Pharmacy at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan in 2011.

He has received numerous awards for his work, including being elected as an academician of Academia Sinica of Taiwan in 1996, and inducted into the Order of the Rising Sun by the Government of Japan in 2011.

His research labs combine the fields of natural products and synthetic medicinal chemistry research to discover and develop bioactive natural products as clinical trial drug candidates. The NPRL has discovered several thousand bioactive natural products that have been used to develop pharmaceutical agents, such as the anti-HIV drug bevirimat that was derived from a Chinese herb.

Published April 13, 2015

Morehead Planetarium hosts Science Expo

April 13, 2015

The 2015 University of North Carolina Science Expo offered more than 100 hands-on experiments, demonstrations, behind-the scenes lab tours and computer and software explorations April 11 in a celebration of the wonders of STEM.

The Expo, a signature event of the two-week North Carolina Science Festival, was held along Cameron Avenue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center partnered with UNC-Chapel Hill and the Town of Chapel Hill parks and recreation department to host the free event.

The event will also featured a giant wave pool, virtual reality experience, Google glass, robots and the Sustainability Center for green living.

UNC Science Expo is just one of more than 300 public events that are part of the North Carolina Science Festival, which ends April 26. Click here to learn about NCSF and find more events across the state.

Photo by Mary Lide Parker, Office of Research Communications.

Published April 13, 2015.

Research symposium will put students’ work on display

April 13, 2015

Nearly 200 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students will showcase research to classmates, faculty and staff April 15 during the 16th annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research.

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and co-sponsored by the Roosevelt Institute, the event aims to encourage meaningful research in all disciplines through panel sessions and poster displays at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.

During the symposium, undergraduate students will discuss their work on a wide range of topics including health and well being; diversity and equity; environment; fine arts; education; and U.S. and foreign relations.

The symposium will be split into two post sessions beginning at 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Starting at 1 p.m., students will give 10-minute talks on their research during panel sessions.

For more information on the Celebration of Undergraduate Research, click here.

Seminar to address diversity and inclusion

April 10, 2015

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill leaders will join Daryl G. Smith, a senior research fellow and professor emerita of education and psychology at Claremont Graduate University, to discuss diversity and inclusion during the Diversity in Higher Education Spring Seminar on April 14 at the Carolina Inn.

Smith, along with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James Dean, will lead the discussion. The seminar, hosted by the Provost’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and Diversity and the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, will focus on the theme “Exploring the Institutional Diversity Framework at Carolina.”

Smith researches and teaches organizational implications of diversity, assessment and evaluation, leadership and change, governance, diversity in STEM fields and faculty diversity. In her keynote, she will speak about integrating diversity into organizational structures and discuss strategies on strengthening partnerships and policies related to diversity.

The Provost’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence will also present the “Big Five Ideas” for improving diversity and inclusion on the campus.

Click here to register for the seminar.
Published April 10, 2015