Barry Lentz, Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics and Director of the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics, was the 2011 winner of the UNC Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement. This award, established by the Board of Govenors in 1997, acknowledges a lifetime of contributions to a broad range of teaching and learning, particularly mentoring beyond the classroom. It rewards those who help students to develop and attain their full potential in important ways during and after their departure from campus. The mentor award is given annually to a tenured faculty member from each UNC campus and the winner receives a one-time stipend of $5,000 and a framed citation.
Barry has been a faculty member with UNC since 1975 and his research focuses on membrane and molecular biophysics. Barry received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, his PhD in Biophysical Chemistry at Cornell University under the mentorship of Professor Harold Scheraga, and he completed his postdoctoral training with Tommy Thompson at the University of Virginia. Notably, Barry was also the previous president of the Biophysical Society from 2006-2007.
Barry's Teaching Philosophy: “What should one do to create a top educational program? First, put the students above all else. That has been my mantra in building the biophysics graduate program and undergraduate summer course in biophysics. Second, make learning a group activity; create a community in which all participants (faculty and students) enjoy learning from each other. Third, care about people. Finally, rejoice in your students' growth and take pride in their success."
Excerpt from his award citations: “Barry’s dedication to the students in the biophysics program is legendary. Once you’re a member of that program, you’re imprinted into Barry’s daily thoughts, and he gives you all the time imaginable (and more) to making sure your classes go well, your rotations are fruitful and your thesis research is successful. I can think of no mentor at Carolina more dedicated to his flock than Barry.” ... His “mentorship applies not only to our endeavors as scientists but also to our pursuit of happiness as people. Personally, I have met few people of Dr. Lentz’s prestige that are as eager to assist in the development of the next generation of researchers, while also remaining humble enough so that he is known to his students simply as Barry.”
On February 6, 2011, during halftime of the UNC men's basketball home game against Florida State (UNC won 89-69), Chancellor Holden Thorp announced the winners of this year's university teaching awards and congratulated Barry for his lifetime achievement award. Officially on April 14, 2011, at the university teaching banquet reception, Barry was honored for his achievement and presented with his framed citation.
View all 2011 UNC Teaching Award Winners here.
View past winners of the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement here.