Weber, Lee receive faculty, staff awards

Dr. David J. Weber of UNC Health and Robin Lee of housekeeping will be honored at the University Day ceremony on Oct. 12.

Two-image collage with portraits of Dr. David Weber and Robin Lee.
Dr. David Weber and Robin Lee

Dr. David J. Weber is this year’s recipient of the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award, which recognizes the outstanding service of Carolina’s voting faculty. Weber is associate chief medical officer at UNC Health, the Charles Addison and Elizabeth Ann Sanders Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Professor of Epidemiology, and the medical director of the infection prevention department at the UNC Medical Center.

Robin Lee is the recipient of the Rebecca Clark Staff Award for Moral Courage, which recognizes a staff member who had demonstrated a strong commitment to social justice, especially with regard to the treatment of fellow workers. Lee is a housekeeper in facilities services.

Weber and Lee will be recognized at the University Day ceremony on Oct. 12.

Dr. David J. Weber

Weber’s many titles reflect his many strengths: tremendous expertise in medicine, public health and infectious diseases; devotion to service rendered with the intention of doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people; and managing multiple responsibilities with a steadfast commitment and apparent joy.

It is fitting to recognize Weber’s service as an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist following the worst pandemic since the 1918 influenza pandemic, which caused the death of 42-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill President Edward Kidder Graham. As a clinician, Weber has led in the treatment of patients and implementation of pandemic protocols, including protocols that he innovated during the 2003 SARS outbreak. As an epidemiologist, he made it his mission to reach as many people and groups as possible with up-to-the-minute, highly reliable scientific information. He has served as a state and national leader in research on many aspects of the pandemic, becoming the most published author based on PubMed citations in the field of hospital epidemiology and infection prevention. During this same period, he also worked to address the mpox outbreak, treating patients, conducting research and sharing information with the public.

Weber joined Carolina’s faculty in 1985 and was the first faculty member in the epidemiology department with an interest in infectious diseases. He has mentored dozens of students, helped secure millions in research funding and published hundreds of research papers. His many awards and honors include the UNC School of Medicine’s faculty teaching award, the H. Fleming Fuller Award and the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Bernard G. Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award.

Robin Lee

Lee is a caring, committed leader who has resolved to improve working conditions for housekeepers at Carolina. Lee uses her voice and story to bring attention to a group of hard workers whose daily labor often goes unnoticed.

Lee has worked for the state of North Carolina for 20 years, and she joined UNC-Chapel Hill in 2019 as a housekeeper in Kenan Residence Hall. She keeps all the common areas clean for the 120 Carolina students who call the building home.

Kenan Residence Hall is named for Mary Lily Kenan Flagler Bingham, who in 1917 donated money to ensure Carolina professors received competitive salaries — a move that helped the University become one of the nation’s leading institutions of higher education.

Lee is also motivated to increase salaries, for herself and her fellow housekeepers. She has advocated for higher wages, becoming the public voice of the effort. She has shared her personal story with the media and encouraged others to do the same. She organizes and attends rallies and often speaks for others who are afraid to. She has traveled to Raleigh to meet with lawmakers and ask for their support.

Known for her dedication and commitment, Lee currently puts in extra hours because the housekeeping department is short-staffed. She mentors other members of the Zone 13 team and serves on the recognition committee to ensure that her co-workers know that they are seen and valued. Lee calls herself a fighter and has invested her time and effort in advocating on behalf of all housekeepers at Carolina in their quest for fair wages.