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The Department of Geography and Environment offers the following award opportunities to majors:

McNally Award for Excellence in Geography and Environment

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 and environment 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 submit nominations along with resumes for the nominees. These should be provided to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by February 7. Nominations will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Awards Committee, as a winner will be selected after the review.

Melinda Meade Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

This is a department award honoring 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 and Environment. All students receiving the 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.

John Douglas Eyre Award for Outstanding Leadership

This is an award of the Department of Geography and Environment, honoring Dr. John  “Douglas” Eyre, who was a Professor of Geography at UNC from 1957 to 2001.

Eligibility. This award is granted to a student demonstrating outstanding leadership relevant to the Geography and Environment Department and/or the field of Geography and Environment 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 and Environment Graduation Celebration and includes a cash award of $250 and an honorary gift.

Burgess McSwain Award

This award is held in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid and administered by the Department of Geography and Environment. It honors the memory of Burgess McSwain who was a coach 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