Sophia McFarlane is this year’s recipient of the Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Senior Award.

Beech was the first African-American student to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1952. The award named in his honor recognizes an African-American graduating senior who has excelled academically, displayed outstanding leadership, and has been a pillar within the campus community.

Sophia said she was surprised to receive the award and felt fortunate even being considered.

“I look up to my fellow Black peers and leaders on campus, and I’m motivated by the work they’re doing,” she said.

Sophia attended Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, North Carolina. Since arriving on campus in 2015, she said her experience was shaped by a drive for social justice.

“Whether it is my community outreach with Health Girls Save the World Inc., or programming with the University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I realized that majority of my work is focused on transforming spaces. I wouldn’t be able to do the work that I do today if it wasn’t for the social crusaders who came before me.”

Sophia said she is grateful for—and hopes to live up to—Beech’s commitment to service and the legacy he left behind.

Sophia McFarlane, Morehead-Cain Class of 2019

Sophia McFarlane, Morehead-Cain Class of 2019