The UNC School of Medicine Department of Allied Health Sciences (DAHS) awarded its second-ever Dr. Lee McLean Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring to Vicky LeGrys, a longtime faculty member in the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science, on April 24, 2019.
The award is named for Lee McLean, chair emeritus of the DAHS, and it recognizes faculty mentors who have supported junior faculty, particularly in the realms of research, teaching, and clinical work. McLean served as DAHS chair from 2000 until 2013.
Stephen Hooper, DAHS chair and associate dean, said McLean’s generosity in securing the endowed award drives much-needed efforts to produce outstanding faculty.
“We need to continue this support going forward,” Hooper said. “We wouldn’t be here without the vision and generosity of Dr. Lee McLean.”
Tara Moon, an associate professor in the division, said she has benefitted from LeGrys’ mentorship from Moon’s time as an undergraduate student to her joining LeGrys as a colleague. Moon estimated that during LeGrys’ more than 35-year-career she has taught more than 600 students.
“She is always striving for excellence, and she’s the perfect role model for our students,” Moon said. “My experiences with Vicky as a colleague have truly helped shape my professional growth.”
Specifically, Moon said LeGrys has taught her the importance of accuracy and fairness in working with students. Moon also said LeGrys has invited junior faculty to work with her on a variety of research endeavors, including writing manuscripts and professional presentations, to provide them with opportunities to begin their careers.
“She has an attitude of ongoing exploration and collegial exchange; she is always open to new ideas and willing to adapt and improve,” she said.
During her career, LeGrys has become known for her research of diagnostic tests for cystic fibrosis, garnering international recognition as a leader in the profession and in sweat chloride testing for CF. She has worked with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Clinical & Laboratory Standards Institute, and the College of American Pathologists.
McLean said her role as chair was a wonderful capstone to her career, and she is grateful that her legacy will secure supporting faculty who often undertake demanding work in teaching, research, and in the clinic.
“One of the most important things you can do in your career is to support the next generation of faculty,” McLean said. “You have to make sure that you’ve prepared your successors to pick up the gauntlet and move forward.”
Upon receiving the award, LeGrys said it is both rewarding and validating to be able to participate in professional growth of faculty and students.
“I’m so blessed to work with people I respect and admire,” LeGrys said. “They make work meaningful, and they make work fun.”
The Division of Clinical Laboratory Science is housed in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Vicky LeGrys, DA, MT(ASCP), is a professor in the division. Susan Beck, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, is the division director. Stephen Hooper, PhD, has served as chair and associate dean since 2013. Lee McLean, PhD, is faculty emeritus in the DAHS. Tara Moon, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM has served on the division’s faculty since 2002.