Alumni association honors cancer center director

Dr. H. Shelton “Shelley” Earp III, the director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill was honored Friday (Jan. 8) with the General Alumni Association’s Faculty Service Award.

The association’s Board of Directors presented the award to Dr. Earp, who also is a professor of pharmacology and medicine and Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research. He joined the faculty in 1977 after earning both his medical degree and a master’s in biochemistry in 1970 from UNC.

The alumni association’s award, established in 1990, honors faculty members who have performed outstanding service for the University or the association.

Besides his role as director of the cancer center, Earp’s service to the University includes chairing the committee for the current provost search. He also has chaired a search for a medical school dean and served on search committees for a chancellor and a provost.

Earp has served on Faculty Council and the steering committee for the self-study of the University’s research mission. He chaired the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Naming of Facilities. He was the faculty representative to the alumni association’s Board of Directors in 2001-02.

Earp’s teaching awards include the Medical School Basic Science Teaching Award and the Kaiser-Permanente Medical School Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2008, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award, recognizing a faculty member who, through personal influence and performance of duty in teaching, writing and scholarship, has best exemplified the ideals and objectives of Thomas Jefferson.

“I’m not sure any faculty member on the Chapel Hill campus has done more to serve the University than he has,” said medical school dean Dr. William L. “Bill” Roper.

Earp developed his political acumen early, as student body president at Johns Hopkins University. More recently, he was instrumental in generating statewide support for the University Cancer Research Fund, which now provides $50 million a year toward research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The North Carolina Cancer Hospital, clinical home of the Lineberger Center, opened last fall. Earp, an endocrinologist, has devoted more than three decades to researching cancer cells and the signals that regulate cell growth and differentiation. He still keeps an active laboratory and sees patients once a month.

Lineberger director since 1997, Earp has served on the board of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, which comprises 95 leading cancer research centers in the United States. He was association president from 2005-07. He also is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Association of American Physicians and the American societies of clinical oncology, hematology, cell biology, microbiology and clinical investigation.

The General Alumni Association is a self-governed, nonprofit organization serving alumni and friends of the University since 1843.