About the O. Max Gardner Award

A General Statement of the Award by UNC General Administration

Governor Gardner's will provides that the "Board of Trustees of the Consolidated University of North Carolina shall pay annually the net income from a trust fund to that member of the faculty of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, who during the current scholastic year, has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race. As used in this Article of my will, the term 'faculty' shall embrace all persons, including instructors, engaged in teaching in any unit, institution or branch of service of the Consolidated University of North Carolina."

In January 1973, the Attorney General of North Carolina rendered an opinion that the "coverage of the Gardner Award may be extended to include faculty members at any one of the sixteen campuses which now constitute The University of North Carolina."

  1. In the fall of each year the Board of Governors will name, or authorize the Chairman to name, a Committee on the Gardner Award. The committee will invite the institutions to submit nominations and will prescribe procedures to be followed.
  2. Selection of a nominee for the Gardner Award is generally accomplished by a committee of the institutional faculty. The written nomination is usually prepared either by this faculty committee or by the Chancellor's staff. The nominee's contributions to the welfare of the human race, however technical the field, should be described in terms a layman can understand.
  3. Because the will provides that the award shall go to the faculty member "...who...has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race," the award should not be viewed solely as one for community service nor for excellence in teaching. Through the years the Board's committees have been thinking in broad terms of service to the human race; any nominee, no matter how remarkable or unselfish his or her contributions may have been, is at a disadvantage if the service is limited to the particular community. The majority of those chosen in the past have been persons who made notable contributions of national or international scale or persons whose contributions, although local, served as models nationally or internationally. (Most of the campuses already have their own awards for recognition of excellence in teaching, and many campuses have awards that specifically recognize community service.)
  4. Through the years the committees of the Board have recognized that the selection process, which must begin in the fall, makes it difficult to adhere strictly to that provision of the will, which states that the award shall recognize a contribution made "during the current scholastic year." In order to give as much weight to this clause as is feasible, the committees usually look for nominees who recently made contributions or whose work and service recently culminated in a major contribution.
  5. Campuses with limited experience in the submission of nominations for the award are encouraged to borrow from the Office of the Secretary of the University samples of award-winning nominations from previous years. Such samples can save time for those preparing the nominations and may help make the nomination more effective.
  6. Inasmuch as committees of the Board of Governors have been seriously inconvenienced at times by delay in submission of nominations, campuses are urged to adhere to the deadlines established by the committee.

Past Award Recipients

For a complete listing of previous award recipients, click here for a PDF

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