Pamela DeGraffenreid ’80, director of the Western Carolina University Bookstore and vice chair of the University of North Carolina System’s Staff Assembly, is the 2017 recipient of the Thomas W. Ross Visionary Leader Award. The award was created in 2016 to honor UNC President Emeritus Thomas W. Ross, who was known as an inspired leader and advocate for staff members across the university system during his tenure as president, said Pernell D. Bartlett, university program specialist in the Office of Sponsored Programs at Elizabeth City State University and outgoing chair of the UNC Staff Assembly, who presented the award to DeGraffenreid.

DeGraffenreid, former chair of WCU’s Staff Senate, becomes only the second recipient of the award, which is presented to a UNC Staff Assembly delegate who has proven to be an exemplary leader who models the way for others to follow and inspires a shared vision on his or her campus, throughout Staff Assembly and across the UNC System.