|UNC General Alumni Association awards Distinguished Service Medals|
|Monday, May 13, 2013|
The General Alumni Association of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Saturday (May 11) honored the chancellor and his wife and two other couples who have supported a broad range of campus initiatives for their outstanding service to the University and to the association.
Holden Thorp, a Fayetteville native who graduated from UNC in 1986 with a degree in chemistry, returned to the University in 1993 as a chemistry professor, after getting his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology and teaching at N.C. State. He was appointed director of the Morehead Planetarium in 2001, revitalizing it into a more broad-based science center before he returned to teaching as chair of the chemistry department. In 2007, he became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, then Carolina’s 10th chancellor the following year.
During his tenure, the University moved into the top 10 nationally in federal funding for university research. He also has taken a leading role in improving relations between the campus and the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, especially in regards to development, such as the Carolina North campus and the 123 West Franklin project. He has served on the GAA Board of Directors as a faculty member and received the association’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2002.
Patti Thorp, a Hope Mills native who earned a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Greensboro and master’s in theater management from Yale University, has chaired the Friends of PlayMakers Advisory Council and served on UNC’s Arts Innovation Committee and the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council. She has been a champion for many community projects related to the University, such as fund drives for UNC Children’s Hospital and Habitat for Humanity’s Build-A-Block initiative, which built 10 homes in one year for UNC employees.
Holden Thorp announced last year that he would step down as chancellor at the end of June. The Thorps will be moving to St. Louis, where he will become provost of Washington University on July 1.
Knox Massey and Kay Weatherspoon are brother and sister originally from Durham, and their families have jointly supported programs at UNC. Among these are the Massey Awards that honor University employees whose extraordinary service rarely is acknowledged outside their own departments, and a professorship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, both in honor of their father, 1925 graduate C. Knox Massey Sr. The Masseys and the Weatherspoons also support the Carolina Seminars, bringing to campus distinguished speakers such as Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and novelist Tom Wolfe to lecture on a wide spectrum of topics.
Knox Massey, who graduated in 1959 with a business degree, and Mary Ann Massey, a Wilmington native who graduated the same year with a degree in education, were among the charter board members of UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities and helped establish the Ruel Tyson Distinguished Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences in honor of the institute’s founder. Knox Massey has served on UNC’s Board of Visitors and the GAA’s Board of Directors, and in 2008 received the UNC Board of Trustees’ William Richardson Davie Award, its premier honor for service to the University.
Van Weatherspoon, who attended UNC on a football scholarship and graduated in 1954 with a business degree, and Kay Weatherspoon, an alumna of Hollins College, established two endowed neuroscience professorships to honor their late son, Van Weatherspoon Jr., a 1984 UNC graduate who succumbed in 1989 to a brain tumor; the Weatherspoon Family Brain Tumor Research Award, recognizing faculty members and researchers who have made significant contributions to brain tumor research; and a professorship in pathology and laboratory medicine to honor Nobel Laureate Oliver Smithies for his discoveries that laid the foundation for today’s research into gene therapy.
The Weatherspoons also support the Weatherspoon Lecture Series in the business school and provided the means for the UNC Library to purchase the 20,000-plus Russian books, serials, manuscripts and photographs comprising the Savine Collection, among other contributions to libraries and the fine and performing arts at UNC. Van Weatherspoon has served on the UNC Board of Visitors and been honored with the business school’s BSBA Alumni Merit Award in 2001 and Leadership Award in 2004. In 2003, the UNC trustees presented him with the William Richardson Davie Award
Photo URL: http://uncnews.unc.edu/images/stories/news/campus/2013/130511_alumni_weekend_1273.jpg
General Alumni Association contact: President Doug Dibbert, (919) 962-7050
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