The General Alumni Association of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Saturday (May 10) honored five alumni for their outstanding service to the University and to the association.
Recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Service Medals are W. Lowry Caudill of Durham, Donald W. Curtis of Raleigh, Henry E. Frye of Greensboro, Julia Sprunt Grumbles of Chapel Hill and Dr. Hugh A. McAllister Jr. of Houston. Caudill and Grumbles received degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The medals were awarded at the association’s annual alumni luncheon during its spring reunion weekend. The association has awarded the medals since 1978 to Carolina alumni and others who have provided outstanding service to the association or the University.
Caudill, chair of the UNC Board of Trustees, graduated from UNC in 1979 with a degree in chemistry and co-founded pharmaceutical-development company Magellan Laboratories. He has been a key supporter of science and entrepreneurship at UNC. The campus’s Caudill Laboratories is named for him and his wife, Susan, and he is chair of the Chancellor’s Innovation Circle, an adjunct professor of chemistry, a member of the chemistry department’s external advisory board and chair of the private-fundraising steering committee for the physical science complex. He is a member of the advisory working group for the entrepreneurship minor in the College of Arts and Sciences, is chair of the minor’s private-fundraising campaign and teaches in the minor.
Also at UNC, Caudill is vice chair of the executive board of the Educational Foundation and was a steering committee member of the $2.4 billion Carolina First Campaign. In 2008, he received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and in 2013 was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece.
Curtis, an alumnus from the class of 1963 and a UNC trustee, studied journalism and mass communication before launching a cable television company. He is chair and chief executive officer of Curtis Media Group, which operates 32 radio stations in North Carolina, along with various news networks.
Curtis’ service to Carolina includes four years on the Board of Visitors and as a member of the National Development Council. He has served on the UNC Healthcare System Board of Directors and continues to serve on the board of visitors of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Curtis serves on the executive committee of the Educational Foundation. In 2005, he received the William R. Davie Award from the trustees. He is a past chair of the General Alumni Association.
Frye was the first African-American to enroll at UNC as a first-year law student and received his degree in 1959. He went on to become the first black member and chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. Along the way, Frye achieved several other milestones in the state as an African-American: the first appointed an assistant U.S. attorney, 1963; the first elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in the 20th century, 1968; one of the first to open a bank in the state, 1971; the only one serving as a state senator during his term, 1981-82; and the first to be appointed to the state’s highest court, 1983. He became chief justice in 1999 and served in that position through 2000.
Now in private practice, Frye returns to UNC regularly to judge a moot court competition. He has been honored with UNC’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, its Davie Award and the UNC System Board of Governors’ University Award. He also received the Harvey Beech Award from the General Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Reunion.
Grumbles, who graduated with a history degree from UNC in 1975, retired from her career with Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta as corporate vice president of human resources, public relations and marketing. Following retirement, she served as UNC’s interim vice chancellor of university development from 2012 to 2013 while a search for a permanent vice chancellor was under way.
She has served the University in many other capacities. During the Carolina First Campaign, she co-chaired the Women’s Leadership Council. She has served on the executive committee of the UNC Health Care board and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center board of visitors. She chairs the advisory board for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, belongs to the Chancellor’s Innovation Circle and, until this year, taught an introduction to entrepreneurship course. She also personally mentors women, informally giving guidance to students as they begin their careers and through a Bible study for Carolina seniors she leads in her home. She received the University’s Davie Award in 2012 and a 2013 Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service to the College of Arts and Sciences.
McAllister, who received his medical degree from UNC in 1966, retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel and then was a cardiac physician, researcher and professor in Texas. He has a particular interest in combating heart disease. His financial support created the McAllister Heart Institute in the UNC School of Medicine, aimed at attracting young cardiac researchers to the University.
McAllister has served as president of the UNC Medical Alumni Association, on the University’s Board of Visitors and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Medical Foundation of North Carolina. In 2013, he received the Davie Award from the trustees. Outside of medicine, McAllister has an interest in art and has arranged substantial donations from his collection to UNC’s Ackland Art Museum, as well as donating a heart-like bronze sculpture for the entrance to UNC Hospitals.