State of North Carolina
Office of the Governor
Michael F. Easley
Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Sara Clark
Date: 11/8/2006 Phone: (919) 733-5612
GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY PRESENT STATE’S HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR TO SEVEN DISTINGUISHED NORTH CAROLINIANS
Raleigh - Gov. Mike Easley and First Lady Mary Easley today presented seven distinguished North Carolinians the prestigious North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state can bestow. An awards committee selected the recipients in fine arts, literature, science and public service, from nominations submitted by the public.
“The North Carolina Awards recognize and celebrate creativity and innovation, two values which sustain our economy, our culture and our people,” said Easley. “I commend these distinguished poets, writers, journalists, scientists and public servants for having the vision and the determination to use their talents to make a difference in our state and throughout the world.”
Created by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Awards have been presented annually since 1964. More than 200 outstanding North Carolinians have been selected as recipients from citizens’ nominations from across the state.
The 2006 N.C. Award winners are:
SCIENCE: Charles A. Sanders, M.D. of Durham has championed the importance of research to medical advancement as a cardiologist, as a professor, as an executive at major pharmaceutical companies and through his service on the boards of biotechnology firms. Sanders, who started the cardiac catheterization unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1962, became director of that hospital in 1972. His work in pharmaceutical research included positions at Squibb Corp., and later as CEO of Glaxo Inc. He also helped create the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation, which works to reduce infant mortality through education.
PUBLIC SERVICE: Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. of Winston-Salem has had a long and distinguished career as a teacher, scholar and administrator. As president of Wake Forest University, he led the transformation from a respected regional institution to a nationally prominent university. By his retirement in 2005, Hearn had served for 22 years, among the longest tenures for an American university president. The university has been consistently ranked in the top tier of higher education institutions for the past decade. His many examples of leadership off campus include work with the Piedmont Triad Development Corporation, the Center for Creative Leadership, the Piedmont Triad Research Park and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
PUBLIC SERVICE: James E. Holshouser, Jr. of Southern Pines became the first Republican governor of North Carolina in the 20th century upon his election in 1972. He was also the century’s youngest Tar Heel governor. His accomplishments in office include consolidation of the state university system under the Board of Governors, capital improvement funding for the community college system, statewide enrollment for kindergarten and establishment of health clinics in rural areas not served by local physicians. After leaving office, he returned to the practice of law, and was elected to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, where he still serves as member emeritus.
PUBLIC SERVICE: Roy Parker, Jr. of Fayetteville has been covering North Carolina news for more than 50 years, writing for every type of newspaper from small weeklies to major dailies. His career led him to Washington, D.C., where he served as the Washington correspondent for the News and Observer from 1963 to 1972. That year, he returned to North Carolina as the press secretary for Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles’campaign for governor. After the campaign, Parker became the founding editor of The Fayetteville Times in 1973. Parker wrote the newspaper’s book column for 25 years and worked as a contributing editor until his retirement in 2001.
FINE ARTS: William T. Williams of New York City was born in 1942 in Cross Creek, now part of Fayetteville. Williams’ paintings are in noted collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Whitney Museum, and corporations such as Chase Manhattan Bank. Williams’ talent has garnered many awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was also the first African American contemporary artist to be included in the 1986 edition of the legendary reference work, “The History of Art” by H. W. Janson.
LITERATURE: Emily Herring Wilson of Winston-Salem is a writer who focuses attention on the importance of lives of women, their overlooked moments, and their contributions through her poetry, nonfiction and teaching. She studied poetry with Randall Jarrell at Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro), graduating in 1961. She earned her master’s degree in 1962 from Wake Forest University, where she taught for two years. Wilson’s poetry collections include; “Balancing on Stones,” “Solomon’s Seal,” “Arise Up and Call Her Blessed,” and, in 2001, “To Fly without Hurry.” Wilson has served on the boards of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the People for the American Way, and the advisory panel for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. She has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
LITERATURE: Michael F. Parker of Greensboro writes about characters who struggle with love, family and relationships. Parker studied with Lee Smith, Daphne Athas and Marianne Gingher, all noted novelists, in the creative writing program at UNC Chapel Hill, graduating with honors in 1984. He later earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Virginia. His first novel, “Hello Down There,” was published in 1993 to critical acclaim. Other novels include “Towns Without Rivers,” “Virginia Lovers,” and “If You Want Me to Stay.” Parker, who is a professor of English at UNC Greensboro, has also had more than 20 short stories published in journals and anthologies.