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Carolina Alumni Awards recognize alumni for distinguished service to UNC

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The George Watts Hill Alumni Center is home to the General Alumni Association on UNC's campus on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Angela Kashuba's position in the UNC Center for AIDS Research. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error. 

Each year, the General Alumni Association recognizes distinguished alumni who have been of outstanding service to the University.

This year, the 2024 Carolina Alumni Awards will recognize Charles G. Duckett, Janet Southerland, Michael Bury, Eric Garcia, Angela Kashuba, Gary Koch and UNC System President Peter Hans.

The awards are selected by the alumni association's board of directors, who will host a gala to celebrate the recipients on Friday, April 19 at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

Hans, a class of 1991 alumnus, said his reception of the Distinguished Service Medal reminds him of his first time coming to town.

“I remember what it was like to arrive in Chapel Hill as a wide-eyed kid from a small town, feeling more than a little nervous about college life," Hans said in an email statement. “Carolina opened up my world, introduced me to remarkable friends and mentors and gave me a lifelong calling in public service.”

Hans became president of the UNC System in 2020, after serving as president of the North Carolina Community College System. In his role as UNC System president, he has made efforts to make education affordable and accessible, led the system through the COVID-19 and broadened student mental health services.

“There are people all across this state and all over the world who can testify to the life-changing power of a Carolina education, and I’m grateful to be one of them,” Hans said.

Bury is a recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, which celebrates alumni ages 40 and under. He was recognized for his benevolent service during the pandemic and his contributions to health care.

Bury is an assistant professor at the UNC School of Nursing and a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve Nurse Corps. He received his master's degree from UNC in 2017, and in April 2020, was deployed to New York City to work in a local borough hospital in Queens.

He was notified of his deployment one day before he had to leave, and balanced working in the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic while getting his doctorate from Duke University at the same time.

He said that his acceptance to UNC was a childhood dream and he wants to continue being a part of the University, especially to continue to guide undergraduate students in the health care field.

“I want to make sure when I'm engaging with them that they understand that I'm here to support them, but we're also here to make sure that they accomplish their goal by leaving Carolina, not only with a piece of paper that says they're educated but also with the competence to do the skills on the job that they're taking on,” Bury said.

Kashuba is the dean of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy and currently serves as director of the UNC Center for AIDS Research Clinical Pharmacology and Analytical Chemistry Core. This year, she is the recipient of the Faculty Service Award.

Kashuba said her motivation for leadership is in the service to others.

“That is where I find my joy and where I am happiest is when I can help others achieve their hopes and dreams and ambitions," she said. "The reason that I have been at this university for so long — 27 years now — is because I really resonate with this University being by and for the people of North Carolina."

Duckett and Southerland are recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal. Duckett was a member of the UNC Board of Trustees from 2013 through 2021 and is a current partner at beverage packaging and manufacturing companies Battle & Associates and GRINS Enterprises.

Southerland is the interim dean of Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. Previously, she was a professor and dean of the MeHarry Medical College School of Dentistry and the UNC School of Dentistry's chair of hospital dentistry, chief of oral medicine and director of the Hospital Dental Clinic.

Along with Bury, Garcia received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. He is a journalist who has previously served as an assistant editor for The Washington Post’s Outlook section, an associate editor at The Hill and has worked with several other publications — including The Daily Tar Heel during his time as an undergraduate. 

Koch is the recipient of the Faculty Service Award, alongside Kashuba. He has served as a faculty member at UNC since his graduation in 1968 and is a professor of biostatistics and director of the Biometric Consulting Laboratory. He is also a member of the editorial boards for Statistics in Medicine and The Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics.

Duckett, Southerland, Garcia and Koch were not available for an interview by the time of publication.

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