Christopher Turner, long-time Executive Director for Finance & Research Administration for the Department of Pharmacology retired June 1 after 30 years with the University. Chris was well-loved by the people that worked with him and though we are quite sad to see him go, we are happy for him and wish him all the best. The Pharmacology Administrative staff held a good-bye luncheon for Chris at the City Kitchen Restaurant in Chapel Hill where he was presented with a monetary gift in appreciation of his service from faculty and staff.
Chris saw the department through many years of budget cuts by the state. Due to his excellent financial management skills, the department was able to weather these cuts well. Chris excelled not only at finances but also in caring about, appreciating and encouraging the development of the staff that worked with him.
Chris started his career in the Department of Chemistry on 12/28/1985. He left there in 1986 and went to the Division of Extension & Continuing Education. From there he worked for two years in the Department of Computer Science in accounting and HR. He then went to work in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center as an accounting tech in 1989 and came to Pharmacology as the accounting manager on July 29, 1991. He took over as the Director on July 1, 1993 and held that position until he retired June 1, 2014.
The highlight of Chris's career was winning the distinguished "Research Administrator of the Year Award" in December, 2011 (W. Scott Blackwood Award), which was a campus wide award. What made Chris such an outstanding administrator can be exemplified by some of the quotes from co-workers when he was nominated for that award as well as for another prestigious award he received in May, 2011, the Outstanding Encouragement of Learning and Development (OELD) Award.
"Chris has been nothing short of outstanding as the departments’ administrative leader."
"Chris is the chief accounting officer and has an absolutely amazing grasp of the details for every account in the department."
"… it is clear to everyone in the department, including me, that Chris is the “go to” guy. He can either effectively help you or inform you of the process or person you need for the issue at hand. He is an extraordinary facilitator and leader for the department. We simply could not function at the high level we strive for without his leadership."
"The environment Chris creates in Pharmacology is one of unity and mutual respect. Because of this very positive environment, the support staff in the department work extremely well together to continue to improve the skill set needed for optimal efficiency."
"As a person, Chris is extremely organized and has outstanding people skills. He realizes the need for people to advance in their lives and helps them to do so."
"Chris is a motivator who praises all of his staff, who cares about our growth and development and wants to see all of us succeed."
"Chris exemplifies what every supervisor should strive for. He is supportive, encouraging and very passionate about his staff and the department as a whole. ... From him, all things grow, including the people around him."
We will miss Chris a lot. We wish him all the best in wherever life takes him.
Photos below: Left, Chris at his retirement luncheon. Center, Chris with some of the staff when he received the OELD Award, 2011. Right, Chris holding his 2011 Research Administrator of the Year Award. Click for larger views.