2019 UNCG Nominee

Dr. Tom Martinek

Learn more about the Nominee. Learn more about the Nominee’s Department

Although he had already made important strides researching learned helplessness and the effect of the perception of teachers on children in physical education, Dr. Tom Martinek Sr. wanted to do more.

So, he made a change.

In the early 1990s, he started seeking work that would more directly impact the children he studied. He began to transition to more hands-on research and service, directly engaging with schools and communities to use sports to aid at-risk students.

This highly impactful work is being recognized with a high honor: He is UNCG’s nominee for the O. Max Gardner Award, which each year honors one faculty member in the UNC System who “has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.”

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What is the O. Max Gardner Award?

unc system seal with a sun in the middleThis is the highest faculty honor awarded by the UNC Board of Governors and has been given annually since 1949. This award was established by O. Max Gardner’s will to recognize faculty who have “made the greatest contributions to the welfare of the human race.” Those chosen in the past have been persons who have made notable contributions of national or international scale. One faculty member from each university in the UNC System may be nominated.

Recipients are nominated by their chancellors and one winner is selected by the Board of Governors. The nominee from each university is due to the Board of Governors Committee each year during the fall semester and the award is presented as part of the Board of Governors meeting held in the spring. Deadline dates vary.

Who was Oliver Max Gardner?

white man with short gray hair in a suitOliver Max Gardner (22 March 1882 – 6 February 1947) was the Democratic governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1929 to 1933. Prior to becoming Governor, Gardner was elected as a state senator from Cleveland County, North Carolina and as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina (1917-1921).

We invite you to learn more about this great man of North Carolina by exploring the Governor O. Max Gardner website.


1949    Louise B. Alexander -Education, Political Science,
1954    Franklin H. McNutt- Education
1956    Mereb E. Mossman- Sociology
1960    Richard N. Current- History (Lincoln Scholar & author)
1962    Randall Jarrell- Literature (poetry), English
1966    Lois Edinger- Education
1971    Naomi G. Albanese- Home Economics
1974    Mary E. Keister- Early Childhood Education
1976    Eloise R. Lewis- Nursing
1979    Richard Bardolph- History
1986    Fred Chappell- Literature
1996    Vira R. Kivett- Gerontology, Human Dev. & Family Studies

image reads nomination form here

for a complete listing of previous award recipients click here