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Mangum honored with C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award

Clinical Assistant Professor Ronald L. Mangum is among six university employees selected to receive the 2018 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award, one of the most prestigious distinctions earned by faculty and staff.

Created in 1980 by the late C. Knox Massey of Durham, the awards honor recipients for “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” and service to the Carolina community and beyond, said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. Winners each receive a $10,000 stipend.

“These amazing people, through their hard work and dedication, day in and day out, create the Carolina we love,” Folt said. “They are incredible community builders, and we thank them for their service and commitment to excellence.”

The 2018 award winners were selected from a pool of campus-wide nominations and were honored at a luncheon hosted by Folt on April 14. In addition to Mangum, this year’s recipients include: Martina Kendrick Ballen, senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer, department of athletics; Gregory J. Gangi, associate director for education, the UNC Institute for the Environment; and associate teaching professor, environment and ecology; Nan Kham, housekeeper, Taylor Hall; Daryl Maurice Odom, housekeeper, the Kenan Center; and Barbara Polk, deputy director and senior associate director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

For Mangum, who recently announced his retirement, the award was a surprise and a confirmation that he has spent the last 20 years doing exactly what he was meant to do.

“This award, for me, crystallizes the many good intentions done over my life,” he said. “My goal in serving is to make a difference, if not for a lifetime, at the least, for a few moments in a person’s life.”

Born and raised in Durham, Mangum joined the School of Social Work in 1998 as a licensed clinical addictions specialist and as a licensed employee assistance professional in the state of North Carolina. He has spent four decades working to improve services for vulnerable children and at-risk youth and to support people with mental illness and addiction issues.

This service has included working with practitioners and community leaders in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties to address juvenile justice recidivism and to assess and develop protective factors in communities for youth. In addition, Mangum has trained child protective services workers across the state on topics such as child abuse and neglect and substance use. Additionally, he has helped educate community partners working with the State Bureau of Investigation on cases involving children exposed to meth labs.

For the last 12 years, Mangum’s work has focused primarily on developing and maintaining the N.C. Certified Peer Support Specialist credentialing program. Peer support specialists are people recovering from symptoms of substance use, mental health and/or co-occurring disorders. Peer support specialists serve in both hospitals and community-based settings on recovery teams providing assistance to men and women seeking services. Frequently referred to as one of the model programs for the country, the program enables people to translate their “lived experiences” with mental illness and addiction into meaningful work that supports others in need. As a result of this program, nearly 3,000 peer support specialists have been certified in North Carolina, including active duty military personnel and veterans.

The success of the peer support specialists speaks to Mangum’s commitment to developing people, said Tara Bohley, program coordinator with Behavioral Health Springboard and Mangum’s colleague. His ability to see potential in others and to create opportunities for them to thrive is a lasting gift to this state, she added.

“Ron has provided service, mentorship and leadership on behalf of the most vulnerable populations in our state,” Bohley said. “He has truly been a bridge builder between state government, academia, and the people of North Carolina. And he has represented us all well.”