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In 1981, her senior year, Summer Montgomery took a class unrelated to her major in radio, television and motion pictures: Botany 10. Now, 43 years later, Montgomery works as a student service specialist for UNC-Chapel Hill’s biology department in Coker Hall, just down the hall from where that class was held in Room 201.

The botany course’s instructor made a big impact on the young Tar Heel.

“His name was Dr. William Koch, but he made sure everyone called him Willy,” Montgomery said. “He taught me how to think outside of the box, expand my mind and realize that it’s never too late to learn something new.”

Montgomery credits much of her personal success to this advice. That success includes the 2024 Massey Award, which honors “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by University employees.


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