Speakers included Board of Governers' member John Fennebresque, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and Nancy A. Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte. A video on Reiter was shown during the reception and can be viewed on UNC TV.
The Board of Governors established the award in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize, and reward distinguished public service and outreach by faculty across the University. The 2012 award carries a $7,500 cash prize and was presented to Reiter in October by UNC President Tom Ross and Public Service Award Committee member Ed McMahan of Charlotte.
"When UNC Charlotte was named a community engaged university by the Carnegie Foundation, the work of faculty like Harold Reiter was the reason why,” said Dr. Joan Lorden, UNC Charlotte Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “His dedication and creativity in fostering a love of mathematics in children in our community and across the state is unparalleled. We are proud that Harold is the second member of the UNC Charlotte College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to receive this honor.” Dr. James Cook, psychology, received the award in 2009.
Reiter joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in 1972. Over the past 40 years, he has made it his personal mission to enhance and advance the field of mathematics education. Instead of limiting his efforts to teaching at the college level, he has been deeply involved as a community volunteer in providing math enrichment opportunities for gifted children of all ages.
“Harold Reiter inspires as a faculty member who understands and embraces the intersecting mission of teaching, service and research,” Gutierrez said.
“He has balanced and blended these roles in a manner that shows others how we can have even greater impact than we might first envision,” she said. “As Harold says, university faculty members may be uniquely qualified to help studentsbroaden and deepen their development in mathematics – and, I would say, in other areas. Harold makes those vital connections between research and practice. Harold also shows us that working together across institutional lines in new and creative ways is essential.”
Reiter has tutored and mentored dozens of youngsters exceptionally gifted in mathematics and opened the door for them to be able to enroll in college-level courses at UNC Charlotte. Many have gone on to receive doctorates in mathematics and are on university faculties. He is described as a "problem solver" - someone who can present students with challenging problems that make them think, that motivate them to sharpen their math and problem-solving skills, and that build their confidence in their own abilities and potential.
Reiter has conducted countless workshops for mathematics competition coaches and K-12 mathematics teachers and attracted grant support to establish the CharlotteTeachers’ Circle. This group meets on a monthly basis and provides opportunities for teachers to work and learn together in a collaborative setting. He also conceived and created the Carolina Panthers Number Crunch math competition. Sponsored by the Carolina Panthers, the competition uses football variables to challenge students in physics, geometry, and other problem-solving disciplines. It is the only program of its kind in the National Football League.