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L-R: Betsy Oakley, Tilden Hagan, Chip Hagan, Carrie Stewart, Chancellor Gilliam, Dr. Antonia Richburg, Elrick Richburg, Evelyn Avery, David Avery, Mona Edwards
Betsy Oakley, Tilden Hagan, Chip Hagan, Carrie Stewart, Chancellor Gilliam, Dr. Antonia Richburg, Elrick Richburg, Evelyn Avery, David Avery, Mona Edwards
L-R: Betsy Oakley, Tilden Hagan, Chip Hagan, Carrie Stewart, Chancellor Gilliam, Dr. Antonia Richburg, Elrick Richburg, Evelyn Avery, David Avery, Mona Edwards

UNC Greensboro formally awarded its most prestigious public service honors to the late Senator Kay Hagan and Dr. Antonia Monk Richburg ‘87, ‘00 MPA during the Distinguished Service Awards ceremony held at the Elliott University Center Auditorium on Oct. 27. The recipients were selected in 2020, but the presentation was postponed as a result of the pandemic. 

UNCG’s motto is “Service.” In honor of the University’s unwavering commitment to service, the Board of Trustees annually confers upon deserving North Carolinians the Charles Duncan McIver Medal and the Holderness/Weaver Award in recognition of exemplary public service and civic engagement. The Charles Duncan McIver Medal, named for UNCG’s founding president, recognizes outstanding service at the national or international level. The Holderness/Weaver Award is named for Adelaide Holderness ‘39, the first woman to serve on UNCG’s Board of Trustees, and H. Michael Weaver, a long-time UNCG supporter who has served the University in many capacities. The award recognizes exceptional service at the state or local level. 

Senator Kay Hagan
Senator Kay Hagan

Senator Kay Hagan was posthumously awarded the Charles Duncan McIver Medal in recognition of her uncommon dedication to the state of North Carolina and to the welfare of its citizens.

Her husband Chip Hagan and two of their children, Carrie Stewart and Tilden Hagan, accepted the award on her behalf. Senator Hagan’s distinguished career in public service included 11 years in the North Carolina Senate and six years in the United States Senate. During her tenure in the state Senate, she focused on protecting equal rights, promoting education, and advocating for businesses in her district.

While in the US Senate, she was an unwavering advocate for North Carolina children and families, the military community, education, and health.

In accepting the medal on her late mother’s behalf, Carrie Stewart said, “For each of us who knew her, she amplified our every triumph and consoled our every defeat. So it feels really great to celebrate her triumphs tonight. Thank you to each of you who are here to remember her life.” 

Dr. Antonio Monk Richburg
Dr. Antonio Monk Richburg

Dr. Antonia Monk Richburg ‘87, ‘00 MPA accepted the Holderness/Weaver Award in acknowledgment of her decades of devoted service as a community leader and volunteer in Greensboro. Dr. Richburg is vice president and senior program officer for Cone Health Foundation and has spent nearly 30 years in nonprofit management. Through her work and tireless volunteerism, Dr. Richburg advocates for access to health care and support services for the disenfranchised. Her personal and professional efforts empower minorities, low-wealth, mentally ill, and homeless populations. She is committed to social justice and is a leader in advancing racial and religious tolerance. 

In accepting the Holderness/Weaver Award, Dr. Richburg spoke about her mission, those who have helped her, and her own life journey. “I was born in poverty and deemed to be at risk when I came to this University. But through perseverance, prayer, and great parents, I defied the odds and successfully made the journey from Head Start to the 1% of the country with a PhD,” she said. “I hope that my actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, serve more, and become more as they seek meaningful opportunities to effectively address poverty, racism, the opioid crisis, economic inequality in our community, affordability of health care – and to empower others to seek justice for all.” 

“Both of our honorees set the standard for selfless service in our community, our state, and our nation,” said UNCG Board of Trustees Chair Betsy Suitt Oakley. 

Annually, UNCG accepts nominations of individuals who embody the ideals of committed public servants. 

View the Distinguished Service Awards ceremony


Story by Rachel Kelly, Advancement Communications
Photography by Mike Micciche

 
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