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Six receive Massey awards for meritorious service

Chancellor Carol L. Folt selected six Carolina employees to receive 2016 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 to recognize “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by University employees.

In 1984, he joined the families of his son, Knox Massey Jr., and daughter, Kay Massey Weatherspoon, to create the Massey-Weatherspoon fund. Income from the fund supports the Massey Awards and Carolina Seminars.

The six recipients will be honored at a luncheon hosted by Folt on April 16. Each will receive a $7,500 stipend and an award citation. This year’s recipients are:

Randi Byrd, community engagement coordinator, American Indian Center;

Angelette Cheek, housekeeping day porter, Kenan Center;

Renita Corbett, housekeeper, School of Dentistry;

Andy Johns, senior associate vice chancellor for research, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research;

Michael McFarland, director of university relations, Office of Communications and Public Affairs; and

Joy Renner, associate professor and director coordinator, for radiologic science, Allied Health Sciences, School of Medicine.

Randi Byrd. AIC Community Engagement Coordinator (Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

With seven years of service with the AIC, Byrd embodies its goals: to enable Carolina, as the University of the people, to truly serve the First People of North Carolina as well as the First People of the South and East. As the center’s community engagement coordinator, she is praised for a work ethic that goes, “above and beyond” to support students’ professional and personal development after hours, during lunch or on the weekends. She extends the University’s outreach as an advocate and liaison to eight tribal nations and four urban Indian organizations in North Carolina and supports the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network to promote active living and healthy eating.


Angelette Cheek 2016 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award recipient. .

Inspired by her 24 years of outstanding job performance and extraordinary warmth and friendliness, nominators from Cheek’s job as housekeeping day porter in the Kenan Center joined previous colleagues in New West and New East, Battle and Davie Halls, the Smith Building, Ackland Art Museum and the Hanes Art Center to praise her professionalism. Willing to lend a hand, fill in or do a favor at a moment’s notice, Cheek cultivates happiness in the workplace and works diligently to improve the quality of life for those around her. Nominators described her as, “courteous,” with “a can-do attitude”… and a “star-heel.”



Renita Corbett 2016 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award recipient. .

More than 200 nominations endorsed Corbett by praising her hard work, faithful service and wonderful attitude. Corbett has nine years of service as a housekeeper, most recently in the School of Dentistry. Colleagues commended her diligence with routine housekeeping duties and her responsiveness to unexpected mishaps. Corbett’s determination to keep the school clean reflects pride in – and ownership of – her workplace. She promotes a sense of community within the school. “Every interaction leaves a person grateful for knowing her, even if only for a moment in time,” a nominator wrote.



Andy Johns

As associate vice chancellor for research, Johns leads Carolina in its mission to become the preeminent public research university in the nation, and he is the heart behind thetechnology making it happen. Johns joined Carolina 16 years ago as an SPA computer consultant and is now responsible for strategic planning, research policy, infrastructure and regulatory compliance. Praised for University- wide collaboration, he is roundly credited with developing systems that change the way Carolina functions as a research-intensive university. “UNC ranks seventh in the country for NIH funding, much of it due to Andy’s incredible work,” wrote a nominator.


Mike McFarland, Director of University Relations, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more than 30 years, McFarland has used his skills as a master communicator to influence and uphold Carolina’s reputation in the public domain. He is a double graduate of the University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and has contributed his expertise to every level of University leadership: three decades of trustees, five chancellors, countless vice chancellors and legions of faculty and staff. Through the written and spoken word, he gives voice to Carolina in times of calm and crisis. Endorsements praised his, “professional integrity in presenting the University’s story in a way that is always accurate, informative, balanced and fair.”



Already a distinguished faculty member, student adviser and division administrator, Renner advanced her service to the University as a leading voice on the Faculty Athletics Committee. A member of the committee since 2009 and chair since 2012, she spearheaded freedom of expression and open inquiry during unprecedented challenges to academics in 2010. Renner earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Carolina and joined the University 30 years ago. A clinical associate professor and director for radiologic science, she is an award- winning academic adviser and earned the Edward Kidder Graham Outstanding Professor Award in recognition of her significant impact on undergraduate studies. She also serves on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and the Ethics and Integrity Working Group.

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