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recognition ceremony grad students with awards on stage alumni center

Hundreds of people gathered at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center to celebrate and recognize master’s degree and doctoral students and candidates at The Graduate School’s 26th annual recognition celebration. More than 9,000 students comprise The Graduate School, and these awards capture many of the valuable contributions they make to our University, our state, and the world.

During the celebration, Senior Associate Dean Kate McAnulty noted that the research done by this year’s recipients affects so many aspects of our daily lives, from the environmental impacts to the water and land that we call home to advancements in medical thinking that will change the way we approach treatment for common health situations, like stroke and even childbirth.

“From research, to teaching, to public service, our students represent UNC-Chapel Hill as an engine of opportunity. We know that our graduate students are inquisitive, and that curiosity drives their motivation to create new knowledge,” Dean McAnulty said.

Interim Chancellor Lee Roberts noted that the Recognition Celebration was one of the first event invitations he received after arriving at Carolina in January. He highlighted the fact that graduate and professional students represent more than 80 programs across the campus and account for nearly one-third of the student body, and their contributions go beyond their individual research and community service.

“Each day, you’re involved in work that is making a difference in North Carolina and beyond,” he said. “You work alongside our faculty and staff and offer guidance to our undergraduates. You contribute to lifechanging research and community service efforts. And many of you also serve as instructors and leaders on campus. Our University benefits immensely from all that you do.”

This year’s event recognized students whose research has a significant effect and reach.

  • A dozen graduate students received the Impact Awards; the research behind these awards contributes most powerfully to the people and communities in North Carolina. This year, graduate students have made strides in work surrounding issues of maternal health, inequity in access to resources in our communities, environmental concerns, and more.
  • Four graduate students received the Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Awards for outstanding contributions in the broad categories of Humanities and Fine Arts; Social Sciences; Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering; and Biological and Life Sciences.
  • Two students received the Boka W. Hadjiza Award for their exemplary leadership in service of their fellow graduate and professional students, one in creating access for under-represented groups within STEM and another for advocating for policy change in support of graduate and professional student wellbeing.
  • This year’s Three Minute Thesis awardee led an inspiring presentation on how a chick heart model can help identify abnormalities and potential interventions in human heart development.
  • More than 200 students were recognized as recipients of competitive external fellowships for their commitment to emerging research and innovation.
  • Ann Schmitt and Evelyne Huber received awards for faculty and staff in recognition of their support of our graduate students.

A special highlight of the event came when Harold Glass, Ph.D., a doctoral alumnus in political science, received the Dean’s Award for Significant Contributions to Graduate Education. Kate Moser, associate dean of development, presented the award and commented, “Harold and his wife, Holly, are steadfast supporters of graduate education at Carolina.” Moser noted the Glass family’s numerous contributions to UNC-Chapel Hill, including their recent endowment of The Harold J. Glass Summer Research fellowship to support a student each summer in perpetuity. The fellowship is in honor of Harold’s father, also named Harold, who served heroically in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II and had a profound impact on his son’s life. The Graduate School expressed appreciation to Harold and his family for their dedication to graduate education and their enduring legacy at the University.

As a part of the University’s celebrations around Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, a nationwide week to emphasize the value of graduate and professional students on campuses throughout the United States, attendees of the awards ceremony attended a research poster session following the celebration.

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