Alumni Association honors eight individuals with annual awards

Categories: General News Tags: Alumni

Alumni are among the most valuable advocates for their alma mater, and the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association recently recognized eight individuals for outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities and to the University.

“Some of the most rewarding experiences we associate with our University actually begin at graduation, when former students enter the Alumni Association,” said Madeline Keeter (’08), president-elect of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association. “Alumni are an essential part of our University and are among UNC Charlotte’s most valued supporters. Our Alumni Association is comprised of more than 120,000 graduates who remain connected with the University through service, fellowship and loyalty.”

Held during the inaugural Alumniner Weekend, the UNC Charlotte Alumni Awards presentation ceremony recognized Dhiaa Jamil (’78) with the Bonnie Cone Lifetime Achievement Award. Susan DeVore (’81), U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (’96), Donnie Koonce (’81) and Robyn Massey (’81) were honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Triple degree graduate Brett Tempest (’04, ’07, ’10) was named Outstanding Young Alumnus, and Melba Spooner (’79, ’85) received the Distinguished Faculty Award.

Former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Lynch, who retired in summer 2007, was presented the Honorary Alumnus Award.

Jamil, executive vice president and president of Duke Nuclear Energy, currently serves on the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. A 1978 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Jamil was lauded for his “leadership and dedication that have helped to transform both UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte region.” He was instrumental in the campaign to fund the University’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center.

DeVore, president and CEO of Premier Inc., a Charlotte-based health solutions company, also is a member of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. Under her leadership, Premier has been recognized for building an industry-leading code of ethics, and she has received numerous awards for work to improve the health of communities, including being named one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Health Care by Modern Healthcare. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the Belk College of Business.

Hudson, who represents North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, earned Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science. In 2012, he was elected to his first term in Congress. Currently, he serves on the House Agriculture, the Education Workforce and the Homeland Security committees. A former Student Government Association president, Hudson has served on the Alumni Board of Directors. In his Washington, D.C., office, he displays his UNC Charlotte diploma and a 49ers jersey.

Koonce, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, is senior vice president and credit manager for mortgage underwriting at Bank of America. A past president of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Board of Directors and 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte, Koonce is a donor to athletics and a member of the Bonnie Cone Society. “He is both a gentleman and a giant in the arena of competition, from the basketball court to the boardroom, with an unswerving commitment to excellence in performance,” said Herman Thomas, a former faculty member and mentor to many UNC Charlotte alumni.

Massey earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University and completed an MBA from Wake Forest University. Upon graduation from Wake Forest, she embarked upon a career with IBM that has spanned almost 30 years. The last 13, she has served as a project executive for IBM Global Services. From 2008-10, Massey served as president of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association. She also was a board member of the UNC Charlotte Black Alumni Chapter, an advisory council member for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and currently, she serves on the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board. “Robyn exudes quiet determination and is committed to making the University and the greater Charlotte communities more engaging, active and inclusive,” said Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Tempest, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Lee College of Engineering, began his education at UNC Chapel Hill, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in international studies. He came to UNC Charlotte and remained to earn three degrees – bachelor’s, master’s and a Ph.D. in civil engineering. He is an expert on reuse applications of power generation derived from fly ash, a particularly pressing environmental problem in North Carolina. His research is related to the development and performance evaluation of concrete and masonry construction materials, particularly from the standpoint of sustainability.

Spooner, senior associate dean in the College of Education, arrived at UNC Charlotte in 1974, and “it seems like she never left.” She completed a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a Master of Education. She earned a doctorate from UNC Greensboro in 1991. She began her career with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, where she served as a teacher’s assistant, classroom teacher and assistant principal. She joined UNC Charlotte as a faculty member in 1987 and has held various roles within the College of Education.

Lynch, who arrived at UNC Charlotte in 1973 as director of housing, is said to have touched and shaped the lives of countless students during his lengthy tenure on campus. From 1978 to 1987, he was dean of students before being named vice chancellor for student affairs. A position he held for two decades. “Chuck has committed himself to improving the lives of students for his entire career at UNC Charlotte,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “It is no exaggeration to say that Chuck Lynch is an institution at UNC Charlotte. He has left an imprint of historic proportions on the campus.”