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About the award

When presented: Spring meeting of the Board of Governors each year.

How many: One award, selected from the entire UNC System.

Process: The Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards selects one nominee from UNC-Chapel Hill; the chancellor then submits the committee’s recommendation to the Office of the President and the Board of Governors awards committee.

Criteria: Award goes to “that member of the faculty of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, who, during the current scholastic year, has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” A more detailed explanation of the award, provided by UNC general administration, may be found here.

Eligibility: Any faculty, including instructors, engaged in teaching in any unit, institution or branch of service of the Consolidated University of North Carolina.

Submit a nomination

Please note that nominations remain active for three years. If you have nominated anyone within the previous two years, renomination is not required; however, additional or updated materials may be submitted.

Visit the “Submit Nominations” page at the left for instructions on how to submit your nomination. Nominations for this  this campus’s nominee for the 2024 System-wide award will be accepted October 3 though November 7, 2023. Submitting a nomination by this deadline is the first step in the nomination process for this award.

Past recipients, 1949 – present

2023H. Shelton EarpUNC-Chapel HillCancer Research and Medicine
2022Yeoheung YunNC A&T StateBioengineering
2021Ralph BaricUNC-Chapel HillEpidemiology; Microbiology and Immunology
2020Samantha Meltzer-BrodyUNC-Chapel HillPsychiatry
2019Sy Atezaz SaeedEast CarolinaPsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
2018Ruben G. CarbonellNC StateChemical Engineering
2017Ben BahrUNC-PembrokeMicrobiology and Biochemistry
2016Aziz SancarUNC-Chapel HillScience
2016David ShapiroWestern Carolina Communication
2015Behnam PourdeyhimiNC StateTextile Engineering
2015Pinku MukherjeeUNC-CharlotteBiological Sciences
2014Jagdish NarayanNC StateMaterials Science and Engineering
2013Samuel F. Sears, Jr.East CarolinaPsychology
2012Fred GouldNC StateEntomology
2011Diane M. BrowderUNC-CharlotteEducation
2010Jagannathan SankarNC A&T StateMechanical and Chemical Engineering
2009Todd R. KlaenhammerNC StateBioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences
2008Myron S. CohenUNC-Chapel HillMedicine, Microbiology, & Public Health
2007Trudy F. C. MackayNC StateGenetics
2006Ken R. HarewoodNC CentralBiochemistry
2005Kenneth B. AlderNC StatePulmonary Biology
2004W. Randolph Chitwood, Jr.East CarolinaCardiothoracic Surgery
2004Branislav VlahovicNC CentralPhysics
2003Bruce Spencer WeirNC StateStatistics and Genetics
2002Melissa HaydenNC School of the ArtsDance
2002Oliver SmithiesUNC-Chapel HillPathology
2001Walter J. PoriesEast CarolinaBiochemistry
2000Joseph M. DeSimoneNC State
UNC-Chapel Hill
1999Jim E. RiviereNC StatePharmacology
1998B. Jayant BaligaNC StateElectrical Engineering
1997R. Wayne SkaggsNC StateAgricultural Engineering
1996Ernest HodgsonNC StateToxicology
1996Vira Rodgers KivettUNC-GreensboroGerontology
1995James HoulikNC School of the ArtsMusic
1994Gerald ShinnUNC-WilmingtonPhilosophy and Religion
1993Donald W. WarrenUNC-Chapel HillDentistry
1992Sherwood ShafferNC School of the ArtsMusic
1991Frederick W. HarrisonWestern CarolinaBiology
1990Fred R. DeJarnetteNC StateEngineering
1989William E. LaupusEast CarolinaMedicine
1989Louis D. Rubin, Jr.UNC-Chapel HillLiterature
1988Floyd W. Denny, Jr.UNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1988Elizabeth C. TheilNC StateBiochemistry
1987Major M. GoodmanNC StateAgriculture
1987C. Arden MillerUNC-Chapel HillMaternal & Child Health
1986Fred ChappellUNC-GreensboroLiterature
1986Edgar LoessinEast CarolinaTheatre
1985M. Nectai OziskNC StateEngineering
1985Eric ShoplerUNC-Chapel HillPsychology
1984James A. Bryan IIUNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1984Vivian T. StannettNC StateChemistry
1983Frank E. GunthrieNC StateToxicology
1983Stanley R. RiggsEast CarolinaGeology
1982Octavia B. KnightNC CentralSpecial Education
1982Joseph N. SasserNC StatePlant Pathology
1981Ellis B. CowlingNC StatePlant Pathology & Forestry
1981Bernard G. GreenbergUNC-Chapel HillPublic Health
1980C. Clark CockerhamNC StateGenetics
1980Judson J. Van WykUNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1979Richard BardolphUNC-GreensboroHistory
1979Solomon P. HershNC StateTextile Engineering
1978Carl William GottschalkUNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1977C. Hugh HolmanUNC-Chapel HillLiterature
1976Eloise Rallings LewisUNC-GreensboroHistory
1976LeRoy T. WalkerNC CentralArt
1975Helen Grey EdmondsNC CentralHistory
1975Francis SpeightEast CarolinaEarly Childhood Education
1974Mary Elizabeth KeisterUNC-GreensboroEarly Childhood Education
1973Ovid Williams PierceEast CarolinaLiterature
1973Cratis Dearl WilliamsAppalachian StateLiterature
1972Bruce John ZobelNC StateForest Genetics
1971Naomi G. AlbaneseUNC-GreensboroHome Economics
1970Stanley George StephensNC StateAgriculture
1969Henry Brandis, Jr.UNC-Chapel HillLaw
1968John B. GrahamUNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1967Walton Carlyle GregoryNC StateAgriculture
1966Lois EdingerUNC-GreensboroEducation
1965Raymond L. MurrayNC StateScience
1964W. Reece BerryhillUNC Chapel HillMedicine
1963John C. BrauerUNC-Chapel HillDentistry
1962Randall JarrellUNC-GreensboroLiterature
1961Kenneth N. BrinkhousUNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1960Richard N. CurrentUNC-GreensboroHistory
1959Gertrude M. CoxNC StateStatistics
1958C. Horace HamiltomNC StateSociology
1957Warner L. WellsUNC-Chapel HillMedicine
1956Mereb E. MossmanUNC-GreensboroSocial Service
1955Zeno Payne MetcalfNC StateGeology & Entomology
1954Franklin H. McNuttUNC-GreensboroEducation
1953Howard W. OdumUNC-Chapel HillSociology
1952Albert CoatesUNC Chapel HillGovernment
1951Donald B. AndersonNC StateScience
1950Robert E. CokerUNC-Chapel HillScience
1949Louise B. AlexanderUNC-GreensboroEducation
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