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For immediate use

May 8, 2002 -- No. 259

Photo note: To download photos of recipients, see the URLs listed at the end of the release.

4 UNC employees honored with Massey Awards

CHAPEL HILL -- A counselor with an ear for students and an eye for the big picture. A business professor who blends a self-deprecating sense of humor with an indefatigable sense of mission. A band director with a knack for keeping his student band members in step and on time, both on and off the field. A woman with a heart of gold and will of iron who refused to allow a nearly-fatal car accident 25 years ago end her love for life — and for babies.

These are the four outstanding University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill employees honored at a May 4 luncheon with this year’s C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most prestigious honors for employees given by the university.

The late C. Knox Massey of Durham created the awards in 1980 to recognize "unusual, meritorious or superior contributions" by UNC employees. The award is supported by the Massey-Weatherspoon Fund, which was created by three generations of Massey and Weatherspoon families.

Chancellor James Moeser selected this year’s winners based on nominations submitted by the campus community, and each honoree received an award citation and a $5,000 stipend.

Winners are Dr. John Edgerly, director of the Counseling and Psychological Service, of Chapel Hill; Dr. John P. "Jack" Evans, the Phillip Hettleman professor of business administration and former interim vice chancellor for finance and administration, of Chapel Hill; Jeffrey W. Fuchs, director of athletic bands, of Carrboro; and Eleanor Richardson, a longtime volunteer in the nursery of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, of Carrboro.

Edgerly has been a fixture for Carolina students since he was appointed to direct the Student Development and Counseling Center two decades ago. In 1999, he helped join counseling and psychological services into one department, Counseling and Psychological Service, or CAPS, for which he serves as director.

The citation described Edgerly as "a man of skill in dealing with persons, judicious in temperament and unfailingly courteous in his treatment of others." His career has spanned the stresses of five decades, through the loss of a war in Vietnam, to the fall of a president during Watergate, to the fall of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

The citation described how Edgerly employed the full range of his skills in 1999 during the unification of psychological and counseling services. "The merger demanded vigilant and effective management of a smooth transition for all students requiring counseling or psychological treatment and deft tact in the collaborative melding of two culturally different professional organizations," the citation said, and Edgerly supplied both.

Many of these same personal qualities were put into action after Sept. 11. "The aftermath of September 11th revealed how well prepared are the director and the organization he leads," the citation said.

During his career, Evans has been called back to South Building again and again to fill a host of positions and fulfill an array of key assignments.

He served three years as Chancellor Ferebee Taylor’s assistant; nine months as the business school’s associate dean for academic programs; 10 months as the acting dean of the business school, followed by eight years as the dean. He later served as interim dean for nearly four months to fill an unexpected vacancy.

More recently, Evans served 15 months as the university’s interim vice chancellor for finance and administration. He also has been a special assistant to the chancellor assisting with coordinating responsibilities for the Horace Williams tract, a project now called Carolina North.

"He is a man who has always gone the second mile — and the third, and the fourth, and more — for the university," the citation said. "Why so many tough jobs and emergency assignments for so personally modest and humorously self-deprecating a man? He has drawn them because he has always been creatively useful, has never treated any of these posts as mere time-serving, and because of his skill in leading other talented persons to forswear in-fighting and concentrate upon fruitful and useful accomplishments."

There may be other band directors in the country who can keep time as well as Fuchs, but few could match his dedication for keeping his commitments.

This trait came into play in 1997 when, after leading the Marching Tar Heels for the Las Vegas Bowl football game in Nevada, the chartered plane that was supposed to take the band home failed to appear. Instead of looking for a big hotel, Fuchs worked all night to snare another plane to get his band back to Chapel Hill in time for the winter commencement set for 2 p.m. the next day.

He pulled it off, but barely. He arrived at the podium in time to give band members the downbeat for "Pomp and Circumstance" wearing the same outfit he’d been in for the past 36 hours. "All that effective exertion is typical of him," his Massey citation said. Fuchs was praised for maintaining close contact and cooperation with Carolina’s athletic coaches; leading the 330-member Marching Tar Heels; planning their halftime programs for football games; leading the basketball band; managing an overlapping system of pep bands to play for more than 70 athletic events a year, all without imposing undue burdens on student band members; and knowing all his students by name, plus the instruments they play.

And that’s not all. Fuchs also runs the Tar Heel Invitational, a recruiting event held each fall for 25 N.C. high school bands and visits high school band programs as a clinician. He chairs the music department’s wind and percussion area.

Think of a young wife, the mother of two daughters, and the adoptive parent of a third. Think of a woman devoted to helping raise children not her own who spent seven years as a cottage parent at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.

That was the perfect description of the life that Richardson was leading half a lifetime ago, before the day a terrible automobile accident nearly ended it. For months, her life hung in the balance. She could not speak or walk and remained in a comatose state.

Then one day, a colleague visited, triggering a spark of recognition and the start of a struggle to rebuild her mind and body. It proved to be a long, painful and ultimately successful journey back.

"A decade and a half after that grim accident she was able to return to the Graham Center as an unpaid volunteer in the nursery," the award citation said.

For the past 10 years, she has been the "indispensable loving, caring nurturer" of babies in the nursery, rocking them, hugging them, cuddling them, feeding them and loving them. "Often," the citation said, "she holds one baby while keeping one or two others in gentle motion in their bouncy chairs with her foot."

C. Knox Massey was a former advertising executive. He served two decades as a UNC trustee and worked without pay to promote the statewide Good Health Campaign that led to the creation of a four-year medical school and teaching hospital at Carolina. He then worked as a "dollar-a-year" special assistant to the chancellor, aiding in the development of scholarships, professorships and other awards.

Massey chaired the class of 1925 gift endowment campaign that raised the first 50-year reunion gift of more than $50,000. He was inducted into the N.C. Advertising Hall of Fame, based at Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, in 1990.

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