The state's highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award, will be presented to six distinguished North Carolinians Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. Governor Roy Cooper will present the awards at the 7 p.m. banquet and ceremony.
The 2017 honorees are Margaret Donovan Bauer of Greenville for Literature; Philip G. Freelon of Durham for Fine Arts; R.K.M. Jayanty of Cary for Science; the Honorable Loretta E. Lynch of Durham for Public Service; Jane Smith Patterson of Chapel Hill for Public Service; and James H. Woodward of Charlotte for Public Service. The awards are administered by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
"It is such a privilege to honor these remarkable people who have made North Carolina better through their extraordinary accomplishments," said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N. C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. "Each of them has enriched the lives of our citizens and enhanced our state’s reputation as a center of culture, arts, science and public service."
Literature: Margaret Donovan Bauer
A native of south Louisiana, Margaret Donovan Bauer is the Rives Chair of Southern Literature and Distinguished Professor of Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at ECU. Since 1997 she has served as editor of the award-winning “North Carolina Literary Review.” Bauer is the author of “The Fiction of Ellen Gilchrist,” “William Faulkner’s Legacy,” “Understanding Tim Gautreaux,” and “A Study of Scarletts: Scarlett O’Hara’s Literary Daughters,” as well as numerous articles on Southern writers in scholarly journals. In 2007, Dr. Bauer was named one of ECU’s 10 Women of Distinction and received the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. She is also a recipient of ECU’s Scholar/Teacher Award, Centennial Award for Excellence in Leadership, and, most recently, Lifetime Achievement Award in Research and Creative Activity.
Fine Arts: Philip G. Freelon
Phil Freelon is one of the most acclaimed architects of his generation. He was the founder of The Freelon Group, and is Design Director of the North Carolina practice of global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. He defines architecture to be both art and science, and appreciates both. He is the architect of record for the widely-acclaimed Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, visited by nearly two million in its first year. Freelon has left his mark locally and across the country with designs of museums and cultural institutions, from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to the Museum of the African Disapora in San Francisco. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and recipient of many professional awards.
Science: R.K.M. Jayanty
Born in a small village in India, R.K.M. Jayanty was a frail child who did not begin attending school until the age of eight. Today he is a distinguished scientist with advanced degrees in engineering and chemistry. He has served on the N.C. Science Advisory Board, which led to the regulation and reduction of 21 toxic air pollutants and toxins. His work on fine particulates and air pollution detection techniques has contributed to effective monitoring and improvements to the environment and human health worldwide. He has conducted workshops in India and China on air pollution measurements, and advises NASA on advanced indoor monitoring systems for space exploration. He is recipient of the American Chemical Society Southern Chemist Award and many other professional recognitions.
Public Service: Loretta E. Lynch
Loretta Lynch grew up in Durham, the daughter of a Baptist minister father and school librarian mother. She earned undergraduate and law school degrees at Harvard University and became U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York before serving as U.S. Attorney General. She is the first African American woman in that post, and has prosecuted cases on tax evasion; racketeering, most prominently of FIFA (the international governing body of soccer); and the hate crime case against the Charleston Church assailant. During her tenure as U.S. Attorney General, she focused on homegrown extremism, cybersecurity, domestic violence and civil and human rights. In her service to the nation she has been unafraid to prosecute high ranking officials, gamblers, gangs or anyone who compromises the safety and security of the American public. She is the recipient of the Harvard Law School Alumni Award and many other honors.
Public Service: Jane Smith Patterson
Jane Smith Patterson has been a pioneer in North Carolina politics and digital communications, and an advocate for equality for women and minorities throughout her life. A native of Tabor City, she has worked tirelessly to promote access to technology and broadband communications in rural North Carolina, to “help even the playing field” to ensure rural citizens’ access to education, jobs and a better quality of life. She served as executive director of the e-NC Authority, an organization with a goal of bringing affordable high-speed Internet access to the citizens, businesses and institutions of North Carolina, particularly in rural areas. Patterson worked for North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt through his four terms in office, first as secretary of administration, then as chief advisor for policy, budget and technology, and finally as senior advisor for science and technology and director of the office for technology.
Public Service: James H. Woodward
James H. Woodward, served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte from 1989 to 2005, and has made enormous contributions to educational and cultural institutions in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina. Prior to coming to UNC Charlotte, Dr. Woodward, a U.S. Air Force veteran, worked in private industry and taught at N.C. State University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he served as senior vice president for academic affairs. Known in the community for his integrity, leadership skills and vision, Dr. Woodward has been called upon numerous times by community and state leaders to provide counsel, as well as to direct educational institutions and initiatives. Dr. Woodward has received numerous honors, including the naming of the UNC Charlotte science and technology building in 2005 as James H. and Martha H. Woodward Hall in recognition of his 16 years of service to the university.
This event is generously sponsored by Diamond Sponsors: Martin Marietta, RTI International and Bob Barker Company; Ruby Sponsors: Thomas Kenan III, Joseph M. Bryan Jr., Capitol Broadcasting, INC Research, and UNC-Charlotte; and Sapphire Sponsors: Perkins+Will and PepsiCo. No state monies are used for this event.
Created by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Awards have been presented annually since 1964. The award recognizes significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine arts, literature, public service and science.