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Carolina recognizes outstanding excellence, distinguished service and public service contributions by employees through the following University Award Programs:

In 1980, the late C. Knox Massey established an endowment creating the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award. He served two decades as a University 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. The criterion for this award is “unusual, meritorious or superior contribution made by an employee, past or present, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Diversity Award recognizes significant contribution, time and effort of Carolina community members towards advancing an inclusive climate for excellence in teaching, research, public service and academic endeavor. The award has been given annually in six categories: Undergraduate, Graduate/Professional Student, Alumni, Staff, Faculty and Intergroup Collaboration.

The Diversity Awards program is undergoing restructuring to strengthen its service to the Carolina community. Stay informed about developments by subscribing to the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion’s Diversity Digest Newsletter.

The Employee Forum Community Award (also known as the Three-Legged Stool Award) is designed to recognize distinguished contributions by individuals who work to promote cooperation and collaboration among faculty, staff and students. The Three-Legged Stool Award is the Employee Forum’s highest honor.

Nominees should be individuals who inspire creativity; promote harmony and partnerships within the University community; inspire teamwork, cooperation and participation; demonstrate new approaches to current processes; encourage, mentor and build bridges; form alliances to work collectively; or demonstrate any other significant community-building activities.

For more information, please contact Chris Meinecke, Employee Forum Recognition and Awards Committee Chair at 919-962-6830 or

The Ned Brooks Award for Public Service honors the contributions and values of Ned Brooks, who has served the University since 1972, making significant contributions to the mission of service and engagement, including a leadership role in the development of the Carolina Center for Public Service.

The Outstanding Encouragement of Learning and Development (OELD) Award is given annually to a supervisor or manager who actively facilitates the participation of staff members in learning activities. An eligible supervisor encourages employees to attend classes and programs that are relevant to the employees’ professional development, and helps to cultivate a more engaged, productive workforce.

The Office of Human Resources invites nominations of a manager or supervisor who supports employees’ learning and development. Any University employee may nominate a manager or supervisor, and people who were nominated in previous years are eligible to be nominated again. Both SHRA and EHRA managers who have had at least one year of continuous University service are eligible for nomination.

Learn more about the OELD Award

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award honors the memory and accomplishments of alumnus Robert E. Bryan (’26) of Newton Grove, NC, who worked his way through Carolina to become a successful businessman, entrepreneur and public servant.

The Bryan Award recognizes individuals (students, faculty or staff) who, as representatives of UNC-Chapel Hill, have demonstrated outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina by: working in partnership with community members; inspiring and involving others, and/or helping others to serve; responding to a practical problem, issue or concern of the state, and working to assure that the impact of their efforts in the community is lasting.