The UNC – Chapel Hill Board of Trustees recently presented four alumni with its highest honor, the William Richardson Davie Award, in recognition of their “dedication, commitment, loyalty and service.”
The award recipients, Alston Gardner of Chapel Hill, Sheldon Peck of Boston, Massachusetts, Sallie Shuping-Russell of Chapel Hill and John Townsend of Greenwich, Connecticut, were honored at a dinner at the Carolina Inn by trustees and Chancellor Carol Folt.
Established by the trustees in 1984, the Davie Award is named for the Revolutionary War hero who is considered the father of UNC-Chapel Hill. It recognizes extraordinary service to the University or society.
Gardner works in the tech industry and founded OnTarget, Inc., a consulting and training firm focused on the information technology industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Carolina and completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in psychology at Columbia University. Garner’s involvement at UNC includes the Chancellor’s Innovation Circle, Kenan-Flagler Business School Board of Visitors and the Kenan-Flagler Foundation Board. He served on the Steering Committee for the Carolina First Campaign, chaired the University’s Global Advisory Board and helped lead the effort to build the FedEx Global Education Center. He served on the UNC Board of Trustees and was vice chairman from 2013 to 2015.
Peck received both his bachelor’s degree in dentistry and his D.D.S. from Carolina. After practicing orthodontics in Boston, Massachusetts, he became a professor of developmental biology at Harvard University’s School of Dental Medicine. Peck has a passion for art and is a collector of rare drawings. Earlier this year, Peck and his wife donated 134 drawings, including seven Rembrandts, to the Ackland Art Museum. Peck has served on the National Advisory Board of the Ackland Art Museum, the Collections Committee of the Harvard University Art Museums, and the visiting committees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He is currently an adjunct professor of orthodontics at UNC.
Shuping-Russell is a well-renowned leader in investment and financial management. She has helped found numerous companies and is currently serving as a senior advisor with BlackRock’s Private Equity Partners group. Shuping-Russell graduated from Carolina with a degree in English and political science and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She has served on the UNC Health Care System Board, the UNC Board of Trustees and is currently vice chairman of the UNC Investment Fund. She also chairs the newly established Carolina Research Ventures Board, which invests in companies formed from technologies developed at UNC. In 2011, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNC General Alumni Association.
Townsend is an investment banker who previously worked at Goldman Sachs & Co., where he was a general partner and managing director, and in leadership positions for numerous companies, including Tiger Management, LLC. Townsend graduated from Carolina with an undergraduate degree in English and history as well as an M.B.A. He has served on the executive committee of the UNC Investment Fund, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Board of Visitors and Ackland Art Museum’s National Advisory Board. Townsend is a former member of the UNC Board of Trustees and co-chairs the Campaign for Carolina, the University’s current $4.25 billion fundraising drive. He and his wife recently made a $50 million gift that will benefit areas and programs across campus, including the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Ackland Art Museum.