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Two Pediatrics faculty members were recently awarded distinguished professorships by vote of the Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Appointment to a distinguished professorship is one of the highest faculty honors the University can bestow. Recognized faculty have shown excellence and leadership in their field or across disciplines. Congratulations Dr. Joyner and Dr. Savoldo.

Benny Joyner, MD, MPH


Benny L. Joyner, Jr., MD, MPH has been appointed the Charles Everette & Katherine M. Brewer Professor, effective January 19, 2024. With over 17 years as faculty at UNC, Dr. Joyner is a Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, and Social Medicine, Vice Chair for Quality and Safety in Pediatrics, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Chief Quality Officer for UNC Children’s. The Charles Everett and Katherine M. Brewer Professorship in Pediatrics was established in 1999 by the estate of the late North Carolina couple.

Charles Brewer was born in 1902 in Tarentum, PA., and graduated from high school in 1920. He received his BS in business administration in 1925 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, a national honor economics fraternity. After college, Charles worked for the Tennessee Coal Iron and Railroad Co. in Fairfield, Alabama, but returned to Tarentum three years later. He was an accountant and treasurer for Stockdale Hardware Co. and the Allegheny Lumber and Supply Co. until he retired in 1956. He and his wife then moved to Chapel Hill, where he remained until his passing in 1988.

Katherine Brewer was born Katherine Margaret Koch in 1915, also in Tarentum. She graduated from high school in 1934 and Duffs Business College in Pittsburgh, PA., in 1936. She also took courses at Penn State University and UNC-CH. Katherine was an executive secretary at the Allegheny Lumber and Supply Co. until she and her husband retired and moved to Chapel Hill. She became active in the Women’s Auxiliary of North Carolina Memorial Hospital, today part of the UNC Health Care family. Katherine stayed in Chapel Hill after her husband’s death and remained there until her passing in July 1998.

The Brewers generously bequeathed an additional $1.4 million to create the Charles Everett and Katherine M. Brewer Children’s Fund, an endowment for the advancement of children’s research and health-care programs. The couple was childless but chose to benefit hundreds of children for years to come with their gift.

Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD


Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD has been appointed the Champion Mitchell Distinguished Professor, effective January 19, 2024. Dr. Savoldo, a faculty member at UNC for nearly 9 years, following 17 years of research at Baylor University, she has been a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and is the Assistant Director of Immunotherapy Program with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her current research is focused on the gene modification of T-cells to redirect them to tumors by transgenic expression of alpha-beta TCRs or of chimeric tumor-specific receptors (CARs), in particular for hematological malignancies such as CD19+ leukemia/lymphomas and CD30+ Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Champion Mitchell Distinguished Professorship was created in 2022 through a $1 million gift by Etteinne “ET” and W. G. Champion “Champ” Mitchell of New Bern, NC. This gift was matched with $1 million from the UNC Lineberger Cancer Research Professorship Challenge Fund associated with the establishment of the UNC Lineberger Center for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) Research, to fund a full $2M professorship.

Champ Mitchell earned undergraduate and law degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill and is now a retired lawyer and business executive whose career included serving as CEO of Network Solutions. ET Mitchell, also retired, graduated from the University of the South and served two decades as a military intelligence officer.