Award Descriptions

Ernest H. Abernethy, Class of 1922, established this award in 1941. A plaque and monetary award are presented annually to the undergraduate judged by a special committee to have done the most distinctive work during the current year in the field of student publications.

Established in 1887, this award is bestowed by the family of Dr. Eben Alexander, Sr. A monetary award is presented annually to the undergraduate who, in the opinion of the faculty of the Classics Department, presents the best rendering into English of selected passages of Greek not previously read.

This award honors the outstanding senior in the American Studies Curriculum. Presented in memory of Peter Baxter, a student of American Studies, the prize is awarded to the undergraduate in that discipline who best exemplifies Mr. Baxter's intellectual excellence, personal warmth, and creativity.

This award was established in 1979 by the Department of Religious Studies in memory of Bernard Boyd, James A. Gray Professor of Biblical Literature from 1950 to 1975. A monetary award is presented annually to the member of the senior class majoring in Religious Studies who has been selected by a faculty committee as most outstanding in academic achievement.

Camões Prize in Portuguese is awarded annually to the outstanding undergraduate in Portuguese. This prize was established in 1975 with a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. The award consists of a certificate and a monetary prize.

Established in 2006, the James O. Cansler Service Award recognizes academic excellence, integrity of character, and commitment to a campus faith-based group. The award will be presented to a Junior or Senior whose faith has inspired outstanding service to the needs of humanity, locally or abroad.

This award was established in 1987 in memory of Cornelius O. Cathey, professor of history from 1947-1974 and dean of student affairs from 1963 to 1972. It is given annually to the student who has made the greatest contribution to the quality of campus life through sustained, constructive participation in established student programs, or through creative, persistent effort in development of new student programs.

This award has been presented annually since 1927. Each year the Chi Omega Award is presented to a senior student in the selected academic department, who is chosen as most outstanding on criteria of scholastic achievement and exemplary leadership.

Established in 1977, this award is presented to the undergraduate who has made the most significant contribution to increasing international awareness and understanding. Given by the Class of 1938, the award consists of a monetary prize and a book.

This award recognizes the distinguished history of student government in this University, long championed by Albert and Gladys Hall Coates. It honors the Coates for their 70 years of involvement with and contributions to the University and to student government. Established in 1987, the award is given annually to the member of the Student Congress whose service through the Student Congress is judged most outstanding on criteria of statesmanship, commitment, and constructive involvement in issues affecting the quality of the University community.

Established in 1948, this award is given annually by the School of Pharmacy student body to the member of the senior class who has demonstrated the highest qualities of character, deportment, scholarship, professionalism, and participation in co-curricular activities. The recipient is named by a committee elected by the School's Student Senate.

This award was established in 1941 by the family of the Honorable Josephus Daniels, newspaper editor, Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson, and trustee of this University from 1901 to 1947. It is presented annually to the senior midshipman in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps who has attained the highest average in academic courses of study in the University.

This award, established in 1966, is given in memory of Roger A. Davis who, as a student, was active in the formation of the residence colleges. It is given by the Residence Hall Association to the undergraduate judged to have given outstanding service to the University, especially through residence hall leadership. The recipient will receive a framed certificate and a monetary award.

This award, established in 1999, is presented to the graduating senior whose work in Russian or Slavic language, literature and culture is judged most outstanding by the Slavic and East European faculty of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures. The prize honors the late Professor Paul Debreczeny, a founding member of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, which merged with the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures in 2011. Professor Debreczeny was deeply committed to quality undergraduate education. 

Established by the Department of Exercise and Sports Science, this award honors the late Patrick F. Earey, a distinguished member of its faculty. Dr. Earey taught in the department from 1957 to 1987 and served as varsity swim coach from 1957 to 1975. This award is given to the member of the graduating class who has exhibited outstanding academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and leadership. The recipient is selected by a committee of faculty members and students from the department.

This award was established in 1998 by Sandra Eisdorfer in memory of her son Marc Adam Eisdorfer, a graduate of the class of 1984. It recognizes the senior judged most outstanding in academic achievement in Linguistics.

Established in 1982 by the Advisory Board of the Institute of Latin American Studies, this award is named for Kenan Professor Emeritus Federico G. Gil, who was the director of the Institute from 1959-1983. A monetary award is given annually to the undergraduate student who writes the best honors thesis on a Latin American topic. Selection is made by a committee from among the members of the Institute's Advisory Board.

Named for Edward Kidder Graham (president of the University of North Carolina, 1914-1918), this award honors the graduating senior who has made the most outstanding contribution to the University through his or her work as a member of an officially recognized student organization. The recipient will have demonstrated consistent leadership, dedication, and innovation within the organization, contributed to the organization's strength, vitality, and longevity, and assisted the organization in supporting the overall mission of the University.

This award established in 1963 and sponsored by the Campus Y, is presented to the graduating senior who has made the most outstanding contribution to a realization of the human ideals of equality, dignity, and community.The award is given in memory of Dr. Frank Porter Graham, past president of the Campus Y and past president of this University. Dr. Graham's devotion to the improvement of the quality of human life continues, through generations, to inspire striving for the ideals here recognized.

Established in 1954, this award is presented annually in memory of Jane Craige Gray by the local chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority. It is given to the woman of the junior class who has been judged most outstanding in character, scholarship, and leadership.

Established by the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Greek Alliance Council, these awards are presented annually to four undergraduates who have made the most significant contributions in the areas of leadership, scholarship, service to their individual chapters, and Greek and University Communities.

Professor Boka Hadzija exemplified excellence in scholarship, leadership and service to Carolina, earning the 2005 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Award and no fewer than 39 awards for teaching excellence from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the University.  Dr. Hadzija, who passed away unexpectedly in 2013, is remembered for her strong mentorship, her generous support of students and her outstanding leadership.  In her memory, this award recognizes the graduate or professional student who has been judged most outstanding in character, scholarship and leadership.

Established in 1983, the Hagadorn Award is given to an outstanding rising senior Biology major. The recipient is selected on the basis of academic achievement and excellence in Biology research. This award was established in honor of Dr. Irvine Hagadorn, former Chair of the Department of Zoology at UNC.

Established in 1989, this certificate and monetary prize are presented annually by the Department of Romance Languages to an undergraduate whose work in French language and literature has been judged most outstanding by a faculty committee. It was established in honor of Jacques Hardré, past chairman of the Department of Romance Languages.

Established in 1964, this award is given by the Beta Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, International Premedical Honor Society. It is named for a charter member and advisor of Beta Chapter, a physician who served for thirty years as Director of the Student Health Service and for fifteen years as chairman of the admissions committee of the Medical School. The award is given annually to two undergraduate members of Alpha Epsilon Delta who are voted most outstanding in service to the campus and community through the society.

The Major William B. Cain Award was established in 1908, and its name was changed in 1931 to the Archibald Henderson Mathematics Medal. A gold medal may be presented annually to the undergraduate judged by the Department of Mathematics to have demonstrated both a high degree of mathematical ability and the greatest promise of originality in the field.

Established in 1980 in memory of John J. Honigmann, Kenan Professor of Anthropology, this award is presented to the student in the Anthropology Department who has completed the best undergraduate honors project in that discipline. The selection is made by a committee of the faculty of the Department of Anthropology.

This award honors a nineteenth-century poet and friend of students and faculty on this campus. He used funds generated through his popular verse to buy time away from the Chatham County farm where he was enslaved. The award recognizes the senior who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, initiative, and creativity in multicultural education programs. This award is given by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

Established in 1980 by the Rho Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity in honor of the first chancellor of the University and one of its most revered leaders, this award is presented to the undergraduate who best exemplifies the spirit of unselfish commitment through service to the University and the surrounding community.

This award in poetry honors the first chancellor of the University, a writer and friend of the literary arts. A cash prize is presented annually to a graduating senior who has done distinguished work in poetry.

Established by the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Greek Alliance Council, these awards are presented annually to four undergraduates who have made the most significant contributions in the areas of leadership, scholarship, service to their individual chapters, and Greek and University Communities.

This award was established by the Class of 1989 in honor of E. Eugene Jackson whose contributions to the University have been a model of self-less service. It is given annually to the member of the graduating class whose leadership and selfless dedication have strengthened class pride and University loyalty, enriched the lives of seniors, and made the most significant contribution to the University.

This award, established in 1975, recognizes the senior student in the Johnston Nursing Awards Program who is most deserving of recognition for outstanding academic achievement and for leadership contributions in the School of Nursing and the Johnston Awards Program. A monetary prize is given by the James M. Johnston Trustees.

This award, established in 1975, recognizes the senior student in the Johnston Undergraduate Awards Program who is most deserving of recognition for outstanding academic achievement and for leadership contributions to the University and the Johnston Awards Program. A monetary prize is given by the James M. Johnston Trustees.

Fashion designer Alexander Julian, Class of1969, established this award in 1985. The art department gives the award to an undergraduate student exhibiting an outstanding sense of design, which the faculty interprets as a mature integration of formal issues and content. The award is given to the undergraduate who the faculty believes has done the most outstanding work in studio art.

Brenda W. Kirby served as Secretary of the University from 1980 to 2012. In that role, Ms. Kirby was special assistant to six Chancellors, constantly bridging communication between students and the Chancellor, as well as other parts of the University. Acknowledging her unique gift of creating invaluable bonds of communication, this award, established in 2012, recognizes annually the student who has most effectively worked to establish a community of cooperation and service between students and constituents of the larger University that might include administrators, faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni.

This award honors a senior, from any discipline, judged by the faculty in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies to have made an outstanding contribution through original scholarship and/or creative production on gender and feminist issues. Its purpose is to further academic research in the expanding field of Women's and Gender Studies, which was established on the campus in 1978 by Mary Turner Lane, a tireless feminist, advocate, and educator.

Irene F. Lee, who served as hostess and counselor in Cornelia Phillips Spencer Hall from 1925 to 1948, established this award in 1955. The award is presented annually to the woman of the senior class who is judged most outstanding in leadership, character, and scholarship.

This award was established in 1960 in honor of Professor Robert White Linker, who helped to organize the Society of Janus. It is given annually by the Society to the most outstanding undergraduate residence hall officer. This award is based on leadership criteria of initiative, creativity and effectiveness, and on lasting contributions to residence hall living.

This award was established by friends of George Livas to recognize the most outstanding senior in the School of Nursing. The recipient, chosen by the faculty of the School, is the member of the senior class who best demonstrates scholarship, leadership, and nursing excellence.

This award was established in 1978 by the Order of the Old Well in memory of one of its charter members, Ernest L. Mackie, professor of Mathematics. Dr. Mackie also served as dean of students, dean of student awards and distinctions, and secretary-treasurer of Phi Beta Kappa. The award is presented to the man of the junior class who has been judged most outstanding in character, scholarship, and leadership.

This oldest student award was established in 1877 in memory of Willie Person Mangum, Class of 1815, who had a distinguished career in politics, including three terms in the U.S. Senate and a leading role in the Whig Party. It is continued by the family of Mangum Turner, Class of 1900. A gold medal is awarded to the member of the senior class who, in the opinion of a group of judges, gives the best oration at an annual contest. The award is administered by the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.

Established in 1976, this award honors Army General George C. Marshall. General Marshall formulated the Marshall Plan and was the only soldier to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is presented to the senior Army cadet who excels in professional excellence, leadership, scholarship, personal integrity and selfless service to the nation. Cadets selected for this award are invited to attend the prestigious Marshall Seminar on National Security.

This award, a monetary prize and an international atlas is given annually to a graduating senior who is selected by the geography faculty based on superior academic performance. This award was established by Andrew McNally IV, Class of 1963.

Established by the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Greek Alliance Council, these awards are presented annually to four undergraduates who have made the most significant contributions in the areas of leadership, scholarship, service to their individual chapters, and Greek and University Communities.

This award was established in 1968 in memory of Howard W. Odum, who founded the Department of Sociology. The award is presented annually to the senior who is judged most outstanding by the department's faculty on the basis of academic performance.

Established by the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Greek Alliance Council, these awards are presented annually to four undergraduates who have made the most significant contributions in the areas of leadership, scholarship, service to their individual chapters, and Greek and University Communities.

Established in 1996, this award is given by the Pre-Law Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International, in honor of an undergraduate pledge member, Robert Park, who died unexpectedly in 1996 before his graduation. The award is given to a member of the senior class who, in the opinion of the members of the local chapter, has made a significant contribution by improving educational and community service programming to assist undergraduate students in learning about the legal system, rigors of a legal education, and changing nature of the legal profession.

This award was established in1941 by Judge and Mrs. John J. Parker in memory of their son, John Johnston Parker, Jr., Class of 1937, who served with distinction as president of the then Student Council. A medal is awarded annually to that member of the senior class who has demonstrated the highest qualities of leadership in perpetuating the spirit and honor of student self-government.

Given in memory of John Duran Patterson, class of 1908, by the Patterson family annually since 1924, it is awarded to the senior athlete in the University who is judged by a committee of faculty, administrators, and students to be most outstanding in athletic ability, sportsmanship, morale, leadership, and general conduct.

This award was established in 1987 in honor of a professor in the Department of Communication Studies whose teaching in the field of African and African-American literature and whose personal influence and example inspired his students in academic and cultural endeavors. It is given annually to the junior or senior in that department who is judged by a faculty committee to be most outstanding in performance of African and African-American literature.

Established in 2002, this award is given to a senior judged by a committee of the faculty to have established the most distinguished record of scholarship in Political Science and service to the community.

This award is presented in memory of General Kenneth C. Royall, U.S. Army. A member of the Class of 1914, he was the last Secretary of War and the first Secretary of the Army and was instrumental in establishing the Air Force as a separate service. This award is given annually to the senior Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet who demonstrates excellence in scholarship, leadership, and officership.

Established in 1987, this award honors a distinguished professor emeritus of English and scholar of southern American literature whose work with talented undergraduates in creative writing was widely appreciated. A monetary award is presented annually to the outstanding fiction writer in the senior class. The recipient is selected by faculty members in the Creative Writing Program.

This award honors an alumnus of the University who served as governor of the state from 1961 to 1965 and as United States senator form 1987 to 1993. Established in 1970, the award is given to the undergraduate student judged by a committee of the faculty to have written the best political science honors thesis.

Established by the General Alumni Association, this award honors a man who served as the University's alumni director for forty-three years. It is presented to the member of the graduating class who, as an undergraduate student, has contributed most to the preservation and enhancement of loyalty and goodwill between The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its students, alumni and friends.

This award honors the distinguished careers of professors H. Douglas Sessoms and Harold D. Meyer, who served the University for over forty years. It is presented annually to the most outstanding undergraduate minoring in Recreation Administration. The minor is housed within the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. (Formerly known as the Harold D. Meyer Award in Recreation Administration)

This award, established by W. E. Haisley, professor emeritus of Physics, honors Paul E. Shearin, professor of Physics, member of the faculty for 36 years and, for 12 years, chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. A monetary award is given to the member of the senior class majoring in physics who is judged most outstanding on criteria of scholarship, scientific insight, and professional seriousness. The recipient is selected by the department faculty from candidates nominated by the undergraduate major advisors.

The Hampton Shuping Prize shall be given to the graduating senior at UNC-Chapel Hill who is the outstanding undergraduate at UNC-CH majoring in business, not only in academic achievement, but in integrity, honor and leadership potential; who shows concern for ethical management of the American business enterprise; and who respects the labor and the commitment of the individual as instrumental to the success of the organization and the free enterprise system.

This award honoring Earl Slocum, Director of Bands from 1935 to 1956, is given annually to the senior member of University Bands who has demonstrated meritorious achievement with regard to musicianship, leadership, and academic excellence, and who also has made a significant contribution to the growth and success of the University Band Program.

The Department of Housing and Residential Education created this award in 2007 in remembrance of Keith Shawn Smith, who served as a Resident Advisor in Stacy Hall in the Old Campus Lower Quad Community. The award is granted to a Resident Advisor or Resident Advisor Mentor who has created a strong community, meaningful mentoring relationships, and campus connections. The recipient must have made a positive impact on the lives of the residents served, developing his or her community to an exemplary level and providing significant mentorship to the members of the community.

The Walter S. Spearman Award was established in 1984 by Chi Psi Fraternity. Given in memory of a journalism professor who was noted as a distinguished teacher, journalist, and mentor of students, it is presented to a man in the senior class, whose academic achievements, co-curricular activities, leadership qualities, and strength of character are considered by a panel of judges to be most outstanding.

This award, established in 1979, is given annually to the undergraduate who, in the judgment of a committee representing the Sport Clubs Council, has made the greatest contribution to the vitality and strength of club sports through either the Sport Clubs Council or one or more individual clubs.

Established in 1987, this award recognizes the graduating senior judged to have achieved the most distinguished academic record in German language and literature. This monetary prize is awarded by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and is made possible by memorial contributions of friends and relatives of Ria Stambaugh, Professor of German from 1963 to 1984.

This certificate and monetary prize is awarded annually to a senior who has excelled in Spanish. It was established in 1974 by friends and former students of Sterling Aubrey Stoudemire in recognition of his fifty years as a teacher of Spanish and other services to the University, including chairman of the Department of Romance Languages and chairman of the Faculty Committee on Buildings and Grounds.

By student body referendum in 1989 and initiation of a special student fee, the Student Undergraduate Teaching Awards were established to recognize outstanding undergraduate instruction by both faculty and teaching assistants. In 2004, an addendum to the referendum established a staff award to recognize a staff member's specific contributions to the undergraduate experience at Carolina. A committee comprised of students reviewed the teaching nominations on the basis of demonstrated and consistent teaching excellence, success in positively affecting a broad spectrum of students both in and outside the classroom, and creation of a dynamic learning environment. The staff award nominations were reviewed on the basis of demonstrated excellence in service, dedication to undergraduate students, and in positively affecting a broad spectrum of Carolina undergraduate students. Winners receive a plaque and a monetary award.

By student body referendum in 1989 and initiation of a special student fee, the Student Undergraduate Teaching Awards were established to recognize outstanding undergraduate instruction by both faculty and teaching assistants. In 2004, an addendum to the referendum established a staff award to recognize a staff member's specific contributions to the undergraduate experience at Carolina. A committee comprised of students reviewed the teaching nominations on the basis of demonstrated and consistent teaching excellence, success in positively affecting a broad spectrum of students both in and outside the classroom, and creation of a dynamic learning environment. The staff award nominations were reviewed on the basis of demonstrated excellence in service, dedication to undergraduate students, and in positively affecting a broad spectrum of Carolina undergraduate students. Winners receive a plaque and a monetary award.

Established in 1928, this award is bestowed annually upon one man and one woman of the graduating class who have best demonstrated unselfish interest in human welfare. The emphasis of the award is on humanitarian contributions.

Established in 1966 by his colleagues and friends, this award is in memory of Albert I. Suskin, Professor of Latin from 1953 to 1965 and Chairman of the Department Classics from 1960 to 1965. A monetary award is offered annually to the undergraduate who shows the best ability to understand Latin poetry and to translate selected passages at sight.

This award was established in 1959 in honor of James M. Tatum, head football coach, 1942 and 1956 through 1958. It is presented under the sponsorship of The University of North Carolina Athletic Association to the varsity intercollegiate athlete who has performed with distinction in his or her sport and who has contributed to the University community through constructive participation in co-curricular activities.

Inaugurated by the Class of 1982 as its gift to the University, this award recognizes the principle of honor as one of the University's most hallowed ideals. It is given in honor of Ferebee Taylor, chancellor of the University, 1972-1980, under whose leadership and commitment the judicial reform movement and the revitalization of the Honor Code were brought to fruition. The award is given annually to the member of the senior class who has made the greatest contribution to the continued vitality and strength of the Honor Code in the community.

This award was established in 1979 by the Department of Art. It is given annually to the undergraduate who, in the opinion of the faculty committee, has done the most outstanding work in art history.

This award has been established by the Department of Economics to honor excellence in economic studies. It is given annually to the undergraduate majoring in economics who is judged to be the most outstanding based on performance in major and related courses.

Venable Medal was established in 1955 by Rho Chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma and is presented annually by members of that professional chemistry fraternity to the two most outstanding seniors majoring in chemistry. Two medals are awarded. The selection of one recipient is based on scholastic and academic work within the chemistry program. The other is based on outstanding contributions to the University community and to chemistry. The awards bear the name Francis Preston Venable, chemistry professor from 1880 to 1930 and president of the University from 1900 to 1914.

Established in 1966, the Op White Prize in Geology consists of a monetary prize and an engraved bronze plaque displayed in the Geology Library. The award is a memorial tribute to the wife of William A. White, professor emeritus of Geology in this University. The award is given annually to the outstanding senior is geology.

Established in 1883, this award was given annually in the Department of Philosophy through 1919. Reinstituted in 1977 by the department, this oldest academic award is given for sustained excellence in undergraduate study of philosophy, based on course performance and faculty recommendation.