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Oliver Max Gardner Award

Award Details


This award is currently not open for nominations.


All full-time faculty members are eligible. Nominations can be submitted by faculty, students, administrators, or alumni of UNCW.


The UNC Board of Governors has provided the following information and guidance about the O. Max Gardner Award:

  • Because the will stipulates that the award shall go to the faculty member “… who … has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race,” the award should not be viewed solely as one for community service nor for excellence in teaching.
  • The Board’s committees have considered nominations in broad terms of service to the human race; any nominee, no matter how remarkable or unselfish their contributions may have been, is at a disadvantage if the service is limited to a particular community. 
  • The majority of those chosen in the past have been persons who made notable contributions of national or international scale or persons whose contributions, although local, served as models nationally or internationally. (Most of the UNC campuses already have their own awards for recognition of excellence in teaching, and many campuses have awards that specifically recognize community service.)
  • The nominee’s contributions to the welfare of the human race, however technical the field, should be described in terms a layperson can understand.
  • The selection procedure, which must begin in the fall, makes it difficult to adhere strictly to that provision of the will, which states that the award shall recognize a contribution made “during the current scholastic year.” In order to give as much weight to this clause as is feasible, the Board of Governors committee usually looks for nominees who recently made contributions or whose work and service recently culminated in a major contribution.
  • The award recipient is selected by a committee of the UNC Board of Governors, and then presented at the May meeting. All UNC system institutions are invited to submit a nomination. 


Nomination package required contents:

  1. Completed nomination form, including dean and department chair signatures.
  2. Letter of nomination, to include a summary of the nominee’s achievements and how they have contributed to the welfare of the human race. (maximum of 3 pages)
  3. A list of highlights of the nominee’s recent accomplishments related to the award and associated contribution to the public welfare. (maximum of 5 pages)
  4. Updated curriculum vitae.
  5. A 500-word executive summary describing the nominee’s achievements that contribute to the “welfare of the human race.” This summary will be submitted to the UNC Board of Governors and should be written in concise, clear language.