Skip to Main Content

Class of 2028!

Are you ready to apply to live on-campus?

Click Here to Learn More
Carolina Housing

Keith Shawn Smith Chancellor's Award

In remembrance of Keith Shawn Smith, Carolina Housing has created the Keith Shawn Smith Chancellor's Award for Community Development and Mentorship. The award is granted to the Resident Advisor that has created a strong community, meaningful mentoring relationships, and campus connections. Most importantly, the RA must have made a positive impact in the lives of their residents and on the community they serve.

Nominate an RA Today!

About Keith Shawn Smith

Keith Shawn Smith served as a Resident Advisor for the third floor of Stacy Hall in the Old Campus Lower Quad Community during the 2005–06 academic year. During his short career here at UNC, Keith Shawn epitomized the efforts of a great RA. He motivated and coached his residents about Carolina and about life.

He helped to develop a bond in his community that grew very strong. That strength helped the community survive February 24, 2006, the day that a tragic accident unexpectedly ended the life of Keith Shawn Smith.

Keith encouraged the setting of personal goals and identifying future aspirations. He connected with his residents, getting to know each one individually. He connected his residents to each other and to campus life. The residents of the third floor of Stacy looked to Keith Shawn as a mentor. They became invested in themselves and in the success of their community.

Watch the video to hear how Keith Shawn's residents adored him and continue to get together to this day to celebrate his life and the impact he had on their group of lifelong friends.


Resident Advisors in good standing with Carolina Housing, and in good academic standing with the University, are eligible for this award.

RA Nominations

Residents within the community can nominate their RA for the award. The nomination must include:

  • One (1) initial nomination testimonial of the impact of the RA in areas of community building, making connections with the campus community and resources, mentoring, and leadership (no more than 500 words).
  • · At least two additional (2) letters of support (submitted independently, no more than 500 words) from residents in the RA's community (wing, floor, etc.).

The nomination form is now open. Click Here to Nominate!

"As our RA, Maddie has helped us make connections with the broader campus community. She hosts many events throughout the semester that provide residents with contacts for campus resources. However, Maddie goes further than that. She talks with residents about her experiences with the Learning and Writing Centers, CAPS, Campus Health, and more..."

Resident Testimonial on Past Keith Shawn Smith Nominee, Maddie Swisher


A committee comprised of leaders from Carolina Housing, Residence Hall Association (RHA) and National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) will review all nominations that meet the award criteria to select one recipient.


The recipient of this award receives a ceremonial plaque, as well as a monetary award.

“As I write this letter, I am thinking back on the people who have made some of the best impacts on my life. My parents come to mind, as well as some teachers, but none have shown such great compassion, helpfulness, and friendship as Justin Fouts.”

Resident Testimonial on Past Keith Shawn Smith Nominee, Justin Fouts

Previous Recipients:

  • 2022-23: Junye Ou
  • 2021-22: Miguel Reyna
  • 2020-21: Paige Pennebaker
  • 2019-20: Richard Fernandez
  • 2018-19: Christian Dickens
  • 2017-18: Victoria Kwon
  • 2016-17: Nyla Numan
  • 2015-16: Madison Alexander
  • 2014-15: Deanna Zhong
  • 2013-14: Jasmine Sun
  • 2012-13: Christopher Silva
  • 2011-12: Michael Goodling
  • 2010-11: Leigh Fairley
  • 2009-10: Nicole Watts
  • 2008-09: Latreicia Allen
  • 2007-08: Bria Marcelo
  • 2006-07: Sekou Sidibe

"Junye is a beneficient and selfless friend who puts others’ needs above his own. He frequently hosts community events and works tirelessly to prepare them, spending his afternoons brewing teas, cooking apple cider and organizing student life experiences to take our minds off of coursework while bringing residents together who would otherwise never meet...No matter what career we are pursuing, these characteristics will help us become more compassionate and successful citizens in the long run. I’m both extremely happy to see Junye graduate but at the same time saddened that he’ll go because as long as he is around, every day is a Great Day to be a Tar Heel.”

Resident Testimonial for 2022-23 Keith Shawn Smith Award Winner, Junye Ou

Continue Reading Testimonials Here.

Sharing and printing options:
menu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram