Awards and Scholarships
The Department of Geography offers the following award opportunities to majors:
McNally Award for Excellence in Geography
This is a University of North Carolina Chancellor’s Award, established to honor the memory of Andrew McNally IV, Geography, Class of 1963. The award, which includes formal recognition, an international atlas, and a monetary prize of $500, is bestowed each spring, by the Department of Geography, to a graduating Geography Major who has demonstrated excellence in the field of Geography. Recipients of the McNally award are honored at the annual Chancellor’s Award Ceremony, the only campus wide student recognition ceremony at Carolina.
Eligibility. The recipient of the McNally Award will be a graduating geography student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement from the standpoint of academic performance, as well as leadership in the discipline, including outreach or service in geographically relevant areas of societal or environmental concern. The awards committee will look at GPA as well as for engagement with the discipline beyond excelling in the classroom, including involvement in geographic research beyond that required for regular classes, presentation of geographic work in public or professional forums, and leadership and involvement both inside and outside of the classroom.
In late-January, a list of all likely graduating seniors is distributed to faculty and nominations are solicited from faculty at that time. Faculty members are asked to submit nominations and a resume from the nominee. These should be provided to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by February 7. Nominations will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Awards Committee.
Melinda Meade Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
This is a department award honoring the memory of Dr. Melinda Meade, professor of Geography at UNC from 1978 to 2013.
Eligibility. This award is granted each year to a student conducting an Honors Thesis in Geography. All students receiving highest honors are automatically nominated for this award. The Undergraduate Awards Committee will read the theses and also attend the honors thesis presentations, which will also be considered in selecting the awardee. The award will be presented each spring at the Geography Graduation Celebration and includes a cash award of $250 and an honorary gift.
Douglas Eyre Award for Outstanding Leadership
This is a Geography Department award honoring Dr. J. Douglas Eyre, professor of Geography at UNC from 1957 to 2001.
Eligibility. This award is granted to a student demonstrating outstanding leadership relevant to the Geography Department and/or the field of Geography or which otherwise includes a significant geographic element. This may include leadership service and public engagement in geographically situated social or environmental causes. Prospective awardees must be nominated by the first business day in April. Any faculty, graduate student or undergraduate major may nominate someone for this award, and students may self nominate. Nominations must include a letter explaining why the nominee should be considered for the award. Materials can be provided to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Nominations will be evaluated by the Undergraduate Awards Committee. The award will be presented each spring at the Geography Graduation Celebration and includes a cash award of $250 and an honorary gift. Nominations are requested.
This award is held in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid and administered by the Department of Geography. It honors the memory of Burgess McSwain who was a tutor to the UNC men’s basketball team for five decades. The award is open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors for a “dream” summer travel experience within the United States of the student’s own design. Preference is given to students who have had few opportunities for travel.
John W Florin Award for the Best Research Paper on the United States, with a preference for studies of the South and North Carolina
Peter J Robinson Award for Best Research Paper in Environmental Geography
Stephen S Birdsall Award in Human Geography
McNair Travel America Fund