The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees has presented its highest honor, the William Richardson Davie Award, to four alumni in recognition of their “dedication, commitment, loyalty and service.”
During a dinner Wednesday (Nov. 20) at the Carolina Inn, Chancellor Carol L. Folt and the trustees honored David Gardner Frey of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Karol Virginia Mason of Washington, D.C.; Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister Jr. of Houston, Texas; and Roger Lee Perry Sr. of Chapel Hill. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1984, the Davie Award is named for the Revolutionary War hero who is considered the father of the University. It recognizes extraordinary service to the University or society.
Frey, who received a bachelor’s degree from UNC in 1964 and a law degree in 1967, served in the U.S. Navy and followed his father and grandfather into a career in commercial banking. He began at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in New York then returned to Grand Rapids and the Union Bank & Trust Company, started by his grandfather in 1918. A generous and tireless civic leader, he has promoted higher education and economic development in the metropolitan Grand Rapids area, helping raise millions using a public-private partnership model that is revitalizing downtown for a new generation of urban dynamism. His skills as a fundraiser have also benefitted his alma mater through leadership on key boards, cabinets and committees, including the board of directors of the Arts and Sciences Foundation. A recipient of the UNC General Alumni Association Distinguished Service Medal, he is a staunch patron of the arts in Grand Rapids and at Carolina, among other areas, individually and through his family’s Frey Foundation.
Mason’s commitment to outreach and excellence began at Carolina with her induction into the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Order of the Old Well and the Order of the Valkyries. She received her bachelor’s degree from UNC in 1979 and went on to graduate from the University of Michigan Law School. She joined the international legal firm of Alston & Bird in Atlanta and became the first African-American woman to achieve partner status in a major Atlanta law practice. She has twice answered President Barack Obama’s call to service: as justice department deputy associate attorney general from 2009 to 2012 and currently as assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs. Her many commitments to leadership at her alma mater include two terms on the University’s Board of Trustees as well as service on the Board of Visitors. Her many honors include the Distinguished Service Medal from the UNC General Alumni Association.
McAllister, who received his medical degree from UNC in 1966, and his father are the only father and son to serve as presidents of the UNC Medical Alumni Association and earn the Distinguished Medical Alumni Award. McAllister began his career with the U.S. Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He went on to serve as chair of the department of cardiovascular pathology in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from 1971 to 1984. He retired as an Army colonel and became founding chair of the department of pathology at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, retiring in 2000. McAllister made the largest single gift from a UNC medical school alumnus to the school, and in 2009 the UNC McAllister Heart Institute was created in his honor. He also made the University’s largest single gift of art. It included nearly 150 works, many of which will be retained as a permanent collection and displayed at the Ackland Art Museum.
Perry, who received his bachelor’s degree from UNC in 1971, developed Woodcroft, an 800-acre community in Durham. In 1985, he established East West Partners of North Carolina, a mixed-use residential and commercial development company that has developed more residential land than any other company in the state. At Carolina, he served two terms on the Board of Trustees––one as its chair—and has held key leadership positions on numerous University boards, cabinets and committees, including fund-raising chair for the $9 million renovation of Finley Golf Course, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board, the UNC Health Care System Board of Directors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Board. His support to Carolina has benefited numerous areas, ranging from the performing arts to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. His dedication to his alma mater earned him the Distinguished Service Medal from the UNC General Alumni Association.