During the University Day celebrations, UNC will honor five former students with the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Award for their representation of the University, and their greater contributions to society.
This year will mark the University’s 225th anniversary and will include music, free food and a formal induction ceremony recognizing the honored alumni.
Ferrel Guillory is a professor in the School of Media and Journalism. He also serves as the head chairperson of the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee, who is responsible for selecting and evaluating proposed recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus award submitted by faculty and members of the UNC community.
“We try to come up with a slate of awardees that represent the University, and are exemplars of the University's values and show the University's potency in the outside world,” Guillory said.
Guillory said recipients of the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Award are a diverse bunch, coming from all walks of life, and using the skills they learned at Carolina in various fields of expertise. This can make selecting each year’s recipients difficult as the committee does not attempt to evaluate nominees against one another. Instead, Guillory said nominees are evaluated by the scope of their contributions and how they represent the University putting its best foot forward.
“We look at their contributions to society, we look at their contributions to their profession and we look at contributions to the University," Guillory said. "And I don’t mean financial contributions, we look at contributions of being active alums, and those who carry with them the pride of being a Tar Heel.”
Here is an overview of your 2018 recipients of the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Award:
Robert L. Bryant
A professor of mathematics specializing in differential geometry, he received his doctorate in mathematics from UNC in 1979, and since then has gone on to teach at Duke University and direct the Simons Collaboration on Special Holonomy in Geometry, Analysis, and Physics.
Donald A. Baer
A member of the N.C. Media and Journalism Hall of Fame, he received his B.A. in 1976, and went on to become the chairperson of a strategic communications firm, Burson Cohn & Wolfe. During the Clinton presidency, he served as White House director of strategic planning and communications, and served as one of the president’s senior advisers.
Vaughn D. Bryson
Founder and president of Clinical Products, LLC, he received his B.S. from UNC in 1960. He worked at Eli Lilly and Company for 32 years before serving as vice chairman of Vector Securities International. In total, he has served over 40 years in a directorial position in the healthcare industry.
Peter B. Henry
Henry is Dean Emeritus of New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He received his B.A. from UNC in 1991. In 2008, he served on President Obama’s Presidential Transition Team, which investigated international lending agencies.
Catherine “Tift” Merritt
Having started her musical career in local Chapel Hill venues such as Cat’s Cradle and The Cave, “Tift” went on to become a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter since studying creative writing at UNC.
Chancellor Carol Folt will preside over the University Day ceremony, which will begin in Memorial Hall at 10 a.m. on Friday.
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