2016 Oliver Max Gardner Award


via Citizen Times – A to David A. Shapiro, the Robert Lee Madison Distinguished Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western Carolina University, for being honored by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors with the 2016 Oliver Max Gardner Award. It’s a big deal, the highest honor the board presents to faculty of the 17-campus system. It has been presented since 1949 in recognition of faculty who have “made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” Shapiro was presented the award by UNC President Margaret Spellings and Board of Governors Chairman Lou Bissette. Shapiro, in his work as a speech-language pathologist and board-certified specialist in fluency and fluency disorders, has aided people on every continent except Antarctica, including countries where people afflicted with stuttering can face discrimination or even death. Shapiro joined the WCU faculty in 1984. In accepting the award he said, “Over these years, I have worked with many people… A man who never ordered a meal at a restaurant for his wife in their 40-year marriage now does so and communicates independently. A young woman who looked away and spoke little so that her boyfriend would not see her stutter now looks him in the eye and says, ‘He’s going to hear what I have to say whether he wants to or not.’ A child who stuttered severely and was bullied now speaks without hesitation and is an advocate for others.’’ Well done.

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via Chapelboro.com – The UNC Board of Governors awarded UNC Chapel Hill’s Dr. Aziz Sancar and Western Carolina University’s Professor David A. Shapiro with the highest faculty honor.

The O. Max Gardner Award, named after a North Carolina governor, recognizes faculty who have “made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” The award includes a $20,000 cash prize and is the only award which faculty members across all 17 campuses are eligible.

Sancar is the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on self-repairing DNA and has mentored over 100 students in the fields of biology and chemistry.

At the University of North Carolina, Sancar worked on bacterial light-dependent photolyase and nucleotide excision repair. He studied the mechanisms of both systems and discovered the roles they play in sunlight damage to human skin and cancer cell damage to DNA. This work culminated in a map of the entire human genome which his lab published in 2015.

He has received many honors for his accomplishments including the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the American Society for Photobiology Research Award and the Vehbi Koç Award from the Koç Foundation of Turkey.

Sacar was born in 1946 in Savur-Mardin, Turkey. He is the seventh of eight children in a family that emphasized education. He first studied at Istanbul Medical School, then moved to the U.S. to continue his education at Johns Hopkins, the University of Texas at Dallas and Yale University.

In Chapel Hill, Sacar and his wife Dr. Gwen Sancar, founded the Carolina Turk Evi – a Turkish House near the campus which hosts Turkish scholars and seeks to promote increased ties between the U.S. and Turkey.

David A. Shapiro. Photo via NC.edu.
David A. Shapiro. Photo via NC.edu.

Shapiro is a speech-language pathologist and board-certified specialist in fluency and fluency disorders. He is president of the International Fluency Association and he expanded the organization’s membership from the U.S. and United Kingdom to countries across the globe.

His advocacy efforts assist people with fluency disorders in developed and developing nations. His work helps those whose speech impediments ostracize them from their communities and can lead to discrimination, injury and even death. He has working in over 30 countries on six continents, ranging from the Czech Republic to several African nations, and from Japan to Norway.

Shapiro studied at the State University of New York at Albany, the University of Vermont-Burlington and Indiana University-Bloomington. He taught at a number of different universities across the U.S. before finally coming to Western Carolina University where he has mentored and trained hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students.

Shapiro wrote a book, “Stuttering Intervention: A Collaborative Journey to Fluency Freedom,” and has written or co-authored more than 85 academic papers and articles in seven languages. Over the years he has received more than $1.3 million of grant funding, and in North Carolina, received the UNC Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching. Other awards include the Clinical Achievement Award from the NC Speech, Hearing and Language Association, a fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Award of Distinction for Outstanding Clinician from the International Fluency Association.

Shapiro received his award May 27 from UNC President Margaret Spellings and Board of Governors Chairman Lou Bissette during the Board’s May meeting. Sancar, who is out of the country, will be recognized at the July meeting.

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