The man who facilitated the agreement between the University and Chapel Hill to develop the Carolina North project was honored Wednesday for his service.
David Owens, a professor of public law and government, became the first professor to receive the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award at the University Day ceremony.
Established by the Faculty Council last year, the award recognizes outstanding service by a faculty member.
Owens has published several works on government planning and zoning and is a member of the University’s building and grounds committee.
He said he has always strived to use his large-scale research to help people on a more local level.
“It’s over 20 years of working to bring the expertise of a national research university to the North Carolina cities, counties and state government to help address problems they’re wrestling with,” he said.
“It’s not only research and writing but delivering that to help folks solve their practical problems on an ongoing basis,” Owens said.
He said he worked with the town and the University to find ways to make Carolina North, a planned research satellite campus, beneficial for all community members.
“We needed something mutually advantageous while meeting expansion needs and avoiding adverse impacts.”
Carolina North has been stalled in recent years since state funding for the project dried up.
When presenting Owens with the award, Joseph Ferrell, secretary of the faculty, said Owens is a well respected figure in land use among community leaders.
The service award was named for former University President Edward Kidder Graham, who served from 1914 until 1918.
Anne Whisnant, director of research, communication and programs in the Office of Faculty Governance, said the award recognizes people who serve the University and the Chapel Hill community.
“The boundaries of the University extended to the state, and the University had a role in serving a wider community,” she said.
“The committee was seeking someone who had articulated the University’s role in service beyond campus.”
“Graham was very interested in articulating that vision,” she said.
Recipients are recommended by the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards after being nominated by any member of the general faculty.
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