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Larry KeithA life –long educator, administrator and student advocate, Mr. Keith was the assistant dean for admission and associate director of the Office of Educational Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

He also served as the director of special programs, where he made continuous contributions to the health professions by helping countless underrepresented minority students attend medical and dental school.

Mr. Keith earned his bachelor of science in biology from N.C. A&T State University in 1975, and went on to earn two masters of science degrees – the first in biology from Virginia State University in 1976, the second in anatomy from Carolina in 1985. He has been at Carolina for 24 years, and currently holds five titles in the School of Medicine: associate director of the Office of Educational Development; assistant dean for admissions; director of special programs; director of recruitment; and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. His mission, as all of us gathered here know quite well, has been to increase the number of underrepresented and disadvantaged minorities in the health care professions.

Since 1992, Mr. Keith has directed the Medical Education Development Program, which offers coursework and support services to prepare minority and disadvantaged students for medical and dental school. In 1998, he became director of the Research Apprenticeship Program, linking minority or disadvantaged high school students with faculty mentors who help them gain competence in laboratory research and explore biomedical careers. Mr. Keith has been vital in establishing and maintaining a community within the medical school that supports, nurtures, and challenges students.

Beyond these programs, Mr. Keith partnered with organizations to create a pipeline for minority and disadvantaged student recruitment, preparation, and retention. With collaborators from Carolina’s Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the North Carolina Health Careers Access Program, the campus chapter of the Student National Medical Association, undergraduate campuses at Carolina and five historically minority universities in the UNC system, all nine regional Area Health Education Centers, and local public school systems, he created the UNC Health Careers Opportunity Program, a federally funded initiative that now serves as a national model. He also received federal funding for the Center of Excellence for Minority Health in the School of Medicine.

Mr. Keith was a 2006 recipient of the University’s C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award. Also in that year, the Mr. Keith D. Keith Loyalty Fund Scholarship was established. He has received the NAMME Award for Outstanding Contribution to Medical Education and the AAMC GSA-MAS Special Recognition Award.

Larry Keith passed away on February 17, 2010. To read more about Larry, see the School of Medicine’s memorial article about his life.