Jean-Claude Thill, Knight Distinguished Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, is the 2022 recipient of the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal, UNC Charlotte’s most prestigious faculty award, in recognition of excellence in research. He was honored at a special reception April 14.
Thill is a core faculty member in the Public Policy and Infrastructure and Environmental Systems doctoral programs and is a faculty affiliate in the School of Data Science. His research encompasses transportation and mobility systems, urban and regional science, geospatial data science and place-based policy analysis. Since coming to UNC Charlotte in 2006, he has been published extensively in these areas. In 2021, Thill was recognized among the top 2 percent of most cited scholars by a Stanford University study.
“A key component of Thill’s research activities involves his long-term commitment to providing outstanding graduate student mentorship,” said Deborah Thomas, chair of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. “He commits significant time and attention to each one of his students, which is apparent from the number of his graduate student co-authors on peer-reviewed journal articles. Given their preparation and the continuing mentoring that Thill provides, his students make significant contributions to their own areas of study after graduation.”
Thill has received a number of national and international scholarship and service awards. He was named a fellow of the Regional Science Association International and of the American Association of Geographers.
“Dr. Thill is one of the most innovative and influential geographers of our time,” said Mei-Po Kwan, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management and director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “He is widely recognized as one of the most original and innovative researchers in the fields of transport, spatial analysis, urban geography and crime studies. His work has undoubtedly influenced the direction and development of these areas in important ways.”
Thill completed a doctorate in geography, a master’s degree in regional sciences and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
The First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal shines a spotlight on the University and the accomplishments of its faculty and their impact in the local community, throughout the state, across the country and around the world.
“It’s a great privilege for us to collaborate with UNC Charlotte to honor Dr. Thill for the immense impact of his research within his field, and beyond,” said Patricia Scherer, premier relationship banker at First Citizens Bank. “Dr. Thill continues the strong tradition of excellence that is a hallmark of Scholars Medal winners.”
Past recipients of this award have influenced scholarship in many disciplines, including history and sociology, art and education, biology, psychology, anthropology, engineering and political science.