UNC Asheville Honorary Degree Recipients
Since 1986, UNC Asheville has presented honorary doctor of humane letters
degrees to prominent education, civic and arts leaders at the May Commencement
Ceremony. In the list of recipients below, Commencement speakers are indicated
by an asterisk.
Dr. Les Purce
Dr. Thomas L.
Dr. Purce has served as president of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.,
a nationally recognized public liberal arts institution, for nine years. Purce
has also held top-ranking administrative roles at Washington State University
and Idaho State University. He has been a civic leader as well. Purce was the
first black elected official in Idaho, serving as city councilman and then mayor
of Pocatello. He later served as director of Idaho’s departments of
Administration and Health & Welfare. In the private sector, Purce was partner
and CEO of Power Engineering Inc., a large electrical engineering firm in the
Arthel "Doc" Watson
"Doc" Watson, a native of Western North
Carolina, is a legendary guitar player, songwriter, and singer of bluegrass,
folk and country music. Blind since the age of one, Watson attended North
Carolina’s school for the visually impaired in Raleigh. Though he did well in
the classroom, his true love was music. Watson got his big career break at the
Newport Folk Festival in 1963, and recorded his first solo album the following
year. He has since won seven Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award,
the National Medal of the Arts and was inducted into the International Bluegrass
Music Hall of Fame.
Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole
Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole*
Renowned educator and humanitarian Johnnetta B. Cole made history when she
became the first African American woman to be named president of Spelman
College. Later, Cole served as president of Bennett College for Women. She is
the only individual to have served as the president of the two historically
black colleges for women in the United States. Much of her time is now centered
in her role as the chair of the board of the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity
and Inclusion Institute founded at Bennett College for Women. Cole is also
committed to community service. She serves on numerous prominent boards,
including the National Visionary Leadership Project, TransAfrica Forum and
Africa University in Zimbabwe. From 2004-2006, she was the chair of the board of
United Way of America--- the first person of color to hold that position--- and
she continues to serve on that board. She is on the advisory board of The
Atlanta Falcons and The Smithsonian's Scholarly Advisory Board for the National
Museum of African American History and Culture.
Ernest Gaines, a professor of English and
writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is
acclaimed for his novels and short stories, including the Pulitzer
Prize-nominated "A Lesson Before Dying" and "The Autobiography of
Miss Jane Pittman," which was made into a popular television movie.
Gaines was nominated
for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his 1997 novel, "A Lesson
Before Dying," which received the National Book Critics Circle
Award, Southern Book Award, Langston Hughes Award, Louisiana
Literary Award and Black Caucus of the American Library Association
Award. It was also named an Oprah Book Club Selection in 1997. Gaines is also a MacArthur Fellow, 1993 Louisiana Humanist of
the Year and 2000 Louisiana Writer of the Year. He is a member of
the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has received a National
Donald Sultan, a successful New York artist, is a
native of Asheville and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, where he earned
a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After receiving a Master of Fine
Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, Sultan moved to New York in
1975 to begin his career. Sultan quickly
established himself as a prominent painter, printmaker and sculptor.
He has exhibited his extensive body of work in some of the most
prestigious galleries and museums around the world. His works are
included in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern
Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Sultan’s art is on display in the
galleries of his alma maters and in the Museum of Fine Arts in
Boston, Australian National Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, North
Carolina Museum of Art, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens of the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, among others.
Dr. James E. Ferguson II
Doris W. Betts
James E. Ferguson II
Nationally renowned civil rights attorney James E. Ferguson II is a 1960
graduate of Stephens-Lee High School and the first president of the Asheville
Student Committee on Racial Equality (ASCORE), which held peaceful
demonstrations to desegregate local establishments during 1959-1965. A graduate
of Columbia University Law School, he has won numerous awards from organizations
such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
Doris W. Betts
Prize-winning author Doris W. Betts has produced nine short story collections
and novels, including "Souls Raised from the Dead" and "The Sharp Teeth of
Love." She taught creative writing for 35 years at UNC Chapel Hill, retiring as
Alumni Distinguished Professor of English in 2001. Betts received the 1975 North
Carolina Award in Literature and in 2004 was inducted into the North Carolina
Literary Hall of Fame.
Address was given by Chancellor Anne Ponder.
Dr. Martha C. Nussbaum
William Ivey Long
Martha Craven Nussbaum*
Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and
Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School; she also holds appointments in
the university’s Philosophy Department, Divinity School and Law School. The
recipient of many academic awards and honors, Dr. Nussbaum is a prolific author
and editor whose books have brought her worldwide acclaim as a legal theorist, a
philosopher and a classical scholar.
William Ivey Long
Native North Carolinian William Ivey Long is a four-time Tony Award-winning
costume designer in New York. William comes from a family with great theater
tradition, and grew up, quite literally, on stage. He is the National Theatre
Conference’s Person of the Year for 2000, and he is the recipient of the School
of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Legend of Fashion Award.
A native and lifelong resident of Big Cove on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern
Band of Cherokee, Amanda Swimmer works in a time-honored tradition that was
almost lost during the 19th-century Cherokee removal to Oklahoma. A founding member of
the Cherokee Potters Guild, Mrs. Swimmer began creating pots with local clay in
the 1930s. She continues to teach—at Cherokee Elementary School, where she is
passing the gifts of knowledge and creativity to the younger generation, and
throughout Western North Carolina, including the renowned John C. Campbell Folk
School and a number of colleges.
Sharon Begley has been the science columnist at The Wall Street Journal since
April 2002 when she launched the "Science Journal." She is widely known for her
ability to break down complex scientific theories and write about them in
elegant prose. During her 25 year career at Newsweek, she wrote numerous award
winning articles. She has discussed science issues on news programs such as The
Charlie Rose Show, Today and The CBS Morning Show, and her articles have
appeared in Smart Money, National Wildlife, Modern Maturity and Astronomy
magazines. Begley is co-author of the books "The Mind and the Brain" (2002) and
"The Hand of God" (1999). She holds a bachelor's degree in combined sciences
from Yale University.
Evan S. Dobelle
Evan S. Dobelle is a noted educator and politician. He has served as president
of the University of Hawaii, Trinity College, Middlesex Community College and
City College of San Francisco.
His career in public
service included posts as commissioner of environmental management and natural
resources for Massachusetts and U.S. chief of protocol for the White House in
the Carter administration. He holds three degrees in education from the
University of Massachusetts and a master's degree in public administration from
Harvard University. After his leadership in the revitalization of the Hartford,
Conn., neighborhood surrounding Trinity, Dobelle was named New Englander of the
Year and was inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame in
Atlanta in 1999. The Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College
recognized him in 2002 as a "drum major for the social potential movement."
Charlotte businessman Jerry Richardson is the founder and owner of the Carolina
Panthers. A two-time All-American at Wofford College and member of the Baltimore
Colts' 1959 championship team, Richardson invested his playoff check in a
Hardee's restaurant in Spartanburg that was the foundation for Flagstar
Companies Inc. His impact on the city is far-reaching. Richardson spearheaded
the fund-raising effort for a new library and built the tallest structure in
Spartanburg as headquarters for his food-service company, thereby helping to
revitalize the downtown. Richardson's contributions to the community have been
recognized through a number of distinguished awards, including the Order of the
Long Leaf Pine and the Order of the Palmetto, North and South Carolina's highest
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.*
Wharton was chairman and chief executive officer of the largest pension fund in
the world, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and the College Retirement
Equities Fund (TIAA CREF), from 1987 to 1993, when he became President Clinton's
Deputy Secretary of State. During the 1970s and '80s, he was president of
Michigan State University and chancellor of the State University of New York
system. An economist with degrees from Harvard, Johns Hopkins University and the
University of Chicago, Wharton spent his early career in foreign economic and
agricultural development in Latin America and Southeast Asia working for the
Rockefeller family philanthropic interests. He has held appointments under six
Presidents and received the 1983 President's Award on World Hunger.
Dr. Frank Rhodes
Frannk Rhodes is professor of geological sciences and president emeritus of
Cornell University, where he served for 18 years. A native of Great Britain, he
has resided in the United States for many years and has come to be regarded as
one of America's most respected educational leaders. Rhodes holds three degrees
from the University of Birmingham, England and is a former Fulbright scholar and
Fulbright distinguished fellow, a National Science Foundation senior visiting
research fellow, a visiting fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, and an honorary
fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. Rhodes has published widely in the fields of
geology, paleontology, evolution, the history of science and education. He is
the former chair of the American Council on Education, the Association of
American Universities, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching,
and the National Science Board.
Henry Frye served as Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court from 1999 to 2001,
and prior to that he served for 16 years as an associate justice. His career began in
1968, when he became the first African-American to be elected to the N.C. House
of Representatives in the 20th century. He served in the State House for 12
years and was then elected to a two-year term in the N.C. Senate. He is a
distinguished visiting professor of political science and justice at North
Carolina A&T State University. Frye holds degrees from N.C. A&T State and the
UNC Chapel Hill Law School.
Moses, a nationally acclaimed cultural anthropologist, is an expert on cultural
diversity. She is the author of numerous articles on issues related to cultural
change in the United States and in the Caribbean as well as cultural change and
diversity in public policy and higher education. Moses is president of the
American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), a professional membership
association for leaders of the nation's colleges and universities. Prior to
assuming this role, she served from 1993-1999 as president of The City College
of New York and was the first African-American to serve as president of the
11,000-member American Anthropological Association. Moses earned her bachelor's
degree at California State College at San Bernardino and her doctorate from the
University of California at Riverside.
Hugh Morton is one of North Carolina's most effective advocates for conservation
of the state's natural environment. As the owner of Grandfather Mountain, he has
been an exemplary steward, preserving this natural treasure while providing
access and environmental education for visitors. Morton has also played a
crucial role in raising public awareness of the threat posed by air pollution
through the production of a major documentary for PBS. In addition to his
distinguished public leadership, Morton is an accomplished photographer and
photojournalist, whose work has appeared in publications ranging from road
atlases to sports histories.
LeRoy T. Walker
LeRoy T. Walker*
LeRoy Walker began his 45-year career in education as an athletic coach at N.C.
Central University, where he eventually served as chancellor from 1983-1986. The
first African-American to earn a doctorate in exercise physiology and
biomechanics from New York University, Walker became one of the nation’s most
successful track and field coaches, producing 111 All-Americans, 40 National
Champions and 12 Olympians. Walker also coached Olympic teams from Ethiopia,
Israel, Jamaica, Kenya and Trinidad-Tobago. In 1976 he became the first African-American to coach a U.S. Olympic team. Twenty years later, at the apex of his
four-year term as president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, his influence and
stature were cited as pivotal reasons for the 1996 Summer Games to be held in
his native Atlanta. In addition, he served as president of the Special Olympics
World Games in 1999. Walker has earned an array of awards and recognitions,
including an induction into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Thomas J. Fazio
Fazio is a world-renowned designer of golf courses and a notable benefactor
of children’s causes. Many of the most acclaimed golf courses built in the
United States in recent decades bear his stamp. The popular journal Golf Digest
discontinued its poll for best modern-day golf course architect after Fazio
claimed that award three consecutive times. He and his wife Sue, who are the
parents of six children, reside in Hendersonville. They are active in a variety
of charitable endeavors, both in the local community and beyond. Fazio and his
wife share a special interest in the welfare of children, providing support for
children’s causes throughout the nation via the Tom Fazio Children’s Charity
Muriel Siebert is a national leader in field of finance. In 1967, she became the
first woman to be named a member of the New York Stock Exchange and for the next
ten years was the only female among its more than one thousand members. Her
firm, Muriel Siebert & Co., was an innovative leader in introducing discount
brokerage services in 1975. From 1977 to 1982, Siebert served as Superintendent
of Banking for the State of New York. Resigning from that post to run for the
United States Senate, she lost the Republican primary but remains active in
civic and charitable activities.
Villella is a preeminent figure in dance. Principal dancer with the New York
City Ballet from 1958 to 1976, he later became founding artistic director and
chief executive officer of the Miami City Ballet, a post in which he continues
to serve. Villella has the distinction of being the only American ever asked to
dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He has served as a visiting
artist at a number of the nation’s leading institutions of higher education,
including Harvard, Yale and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Villella serves as a trustee of the Wolf Trap Foundation and the School of
Dr. John Hope Franklin
John Hope Franklin*
John Hope Franklin, born in Oklahoma in 1915, earned his doctorate at Harvard
University. During the course of his career, he has served in a number of
distinguished academic positions, including that of Pitt Professor of American
History at Cambridge University. He is now the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus
of History at Duke University. He is the author of numerous publications,
including the landmark "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of
African-Americans," now in its seventh edition. In 1995, Franklin was awarded
the Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, the highest honor an American
civilian can receive. Franklin has also been called upon for important roles of
civic leadership, including his recent past service as chairman of the advisory
board of One America: The President’s Initiative on Race.
Myra Janco Daniels
Myra Janco Daniels, who achieved outstanding success as an advertising industry
executive, now serves as chair, president and chief executive officer of the
Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Fla. At age 24, she founded her own
advertising agency, rising through the ranks of the industry to become president
of the national firm Draper Daniels. She organized a fund-raising drive in 1983
that led to the creation of the $21 million Philharmonic Center, which opened in
1989. Daniels also founded the Naples Museum of Art, a subsidiary of the
Adelaide Daniels Key grew up in Raleigh but has lived in Western North Carolina
for most of her adult life. She was the guiding force in the creation of the
Lewis Rathburn Center, an innovative facility providing a caring and supportive
residential environment in Asheville for serious illness. She also inspired the
creation of UNC Asheville’s Key Center for Service Learning, which is named in
her honor. Key served two terms on the University's Foundation Board, is
currently chair of Western Carolina’s Board of Trustees, and has served on
Warren Wilson’s Board of Trustees. In 1999, Key was presented the UNC
Asheville's Chancellor’s Medallion, one of the most distinguished honors the
University can bestow.
Dr. William C. Friday
William C. Friday has long been a champion of quality education in North
Carolina. He was named president of the University of North Carolina in 1956, at
the age of 36, and held that position for three decades. During that time, he
successfully saw the university through consolidation into a 16-campus system
and dealt with a host of social and political issues. Friday played an important
role in national education policy, serving as chair of the American Council on
Education in 1964 and the President's Task Force on Education in 1966-67, among
others. Friday's approachable personal style and lively intellect are key
factors in the popularity of his weekly show, "North Carolina People," airing on
Roy Carroll, who served as interim chancellor at UNC Asheville in 1990-91,
recently retired from the University of North Carolina after a 45-year career.
Carroll holds a doctorate in history from Vanderbilt University, and served as
the chair of Appalachian State University's history department before joining
the University of North Carolina's General Administration in 1979. There he
served first as vice president for planning and later as senior vice president
and vice president for academic affairs in 1996. He has published articles in
professional historical journals in the U.S. and England, and has written
extensively on academic program development, teaching and tenure, and governance
in higher education.
Girard Etzkorn, an internationally known scholar of medieval manuscripts and an
emeritus professor, has devoted his life to making accessible the texts of
important medieval thinkers. During his 22 years at the Franciscan Institute of
St. Bonaventure University, he worked an editor of the institute's research
projects, overseeing the publication of key modern editions of medieval
philosophers William of Ockham and John Duns Scotus.
A major American writer of fiction and essays, Cynthia Ozick's the author of
many widely acclaimed works of fiction, including "The Shawl," "The Puttermesser
Papers" and "The Pagan Rabbi." She has also published three collections of
essays, "Art & Ardor," "Metaphor & Memory," and "Fame & Folly," and is a regular
contributor to The New Yorker magazine. She has received many prestigious
awards, including the Jewish Theological Seminary's Distinguished Jewish Letters
Award, the National Jewish Book Council Award for Distinguished Literary
Contribution, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Strauss Living Award.
William Raspberry, who holds a 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary,
was named one of the top 50 most influential journalists in the national press
corps by Washingtonian magazine. His syndicated commentary on topics ranging
from education to justice appears in 225 newspapers. Raspberry joined the
Washington Post in 1962; his coverage of the 1965 Watts riot in Los Angeles
earned him the Capital Press Club's "Journalist of the Year Award." Among his
honors is the 1994 National Association of Black Journalists' Lifetime
Achievement Award. Raspberry teaches at Duke University, where he is the Knight
Professor in Communications and Journalism.
degrees were presented in 1999.
The Commencement Address was given by Chancellor Patsy Reed.
Julius L. Chambers
Julius L. Chambers*
Julius L. Chambers is a noted civil rights attorney and chancellor of North
Carolina Central University. Chambers opened his law practice in Charlotte in
1964 and the practice became the first integrated law firm in North Carolina.
The firm successfully litigated civil rights cases and won landmark U.S. Supreme
Court rulings. In 1984, Chambers left the firm to become director-counsel of the
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York. He returned to North Carolina
in 1993 to become chancellor at North Carolina Central University.
Glenn L. Bushey
Glenn L. Bushey served as president of UNC Asheville's predecessor
institution, Asheville-Biltmore College, from 1947 to 1962. He presided over a
number of critical transitions in the University's history and helped prepare
the institution to become a four-year university. When Bushey became president
of Asheville-Biltmore College, it had an enrollment of 250 and was located on
Merrimon Avenue. Bushey oversaw the college's moves to Seely Castle on Town
Mountain Road in 1949 and to the present location in 1961.
James R. Schlesinger
James R. Schlesinger*
Longtime civil servant James R. Schlessinger currently serves as senior advisor
to the investment banking firm of Lehman Brothers and is chairman of the MITRE
Corporation Board of Trustees. He first rose to prominence when President Nixon
selected him to become chairman of the Atomic Energy Comission in 1971, a post
he held until he was named director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1973.
Later that year, he was appointed secretary of defense, a post he held until
1975. In 1976, President-elect Carter asked Schlesinger to become assistant to
the president, charged with drafting a plan for the establishment of the
Department of Energy and a national energy policy. Schlesinger became the
nation's first Secretary of Energy in 1977 and held this post until 1979. He has
received numerous awards, including the National Security Medal and the Dwight
D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Medal. Schlesinger holds a doctorate from
Claudio Malo Gonzalez
Claudio Malo Gonzalez, a leading figure in intellectual and cultural affairs in
Ecuador, served as Fulbright Visiting Professor of Humanities at UNC Asheville
in 1989, helping to expand cultural understanding and internationalize the curriculum.
Wilma Dykeman Stokely
A native of Asheville, Wilma Dykeman Stokley is a venerable Southern writer. She
began writing as a child and earned degrees from Biltmore Junior College and
Northwestern University. She and her husband, poet and non-fiction writer James
R. Stokley, collaborated on several books. In addition, Dykeman Stokley wrote
radio scripts, short stories and articles for Harper's, New York Times Magazine
and Reader's Digest. In all, she published more than sixteen books, including
the acclaimed "The French Broad" and "The Tall Woman." Dykeman Stokley received
many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 1985 North Carolina Award
Native North Carolinian Charles Kuralt is an esteemed newsman. During his
37-year career at CBS News, he and his "On the Road" camera crew visited every
state many times. For 15 years, Kuralt was also the host of "Sunday Morning" on
CBS. His work earned three Peabody Awards and 14 Emmy Awards. He is also a
well-known author. Kuralt has published six books, and his memoir "A Life on the
Road," was the number one non-fiction best seller of 1990. Hailed by Time
Magazine as "the laureate of the common man," Kuralt began his journalism career
at UNC Chapel as editor of the "The Daily Tar Heel."
Leah and Morris Karpen
Leah, who grew up in Asheville, was on the first individuals to earn a master's
of liberal arts degree from UNC Asheville. Morris, who moved from New York to
the Asheville area for an intended retirement, went on to found Karpen Steel
Products Inc. and Laser Precision Cutting Inc. in Weaverville. They have been
generous donors to educational and community causes in Western North Carolina.
UNC Asheville's Karpen Hall is named in their honor.
Charlotte philanthropist Irwin Belk is the retired president of the Belk Group
of department stores. A generous contributor to higher education in North
Carolina, Mr. Belk served two terms on the UNC Board of Governors. He is a
former state senator and was appointed a U.S. delegate to the 54th United
Nations General Assembly. Belk served as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee
and as president of the American Cancer Society Foundation.
Dudley E. Flood*
Dudley E. Flood is a popular inspirational speaker and well-known educator. He
has served as a high school teacher, school principal and associate
state superintendent. Flood is executive director of the North Carolina
Association of School Administrators.
Rodrigo Borja Cevallos
Rodrigo Borja Cevallos is former President of the Republic of Ecuador. He acted as
president from 1988-1992. A native of Quito, Ecuador's capital city, he
helped found the Party of the Democratic Left, a socialist political party which
quickly gained strength. He served several terms in Congress, and ran for the
presidency three times before successfully winning office. Like all Ecuadorian
presidents, he was not allowed to seek a second term. After his presidency, he
remained the leader of the Party of the Democratic Left.
author Clyde Edgerton has achieved national acclaim with his short stories and
novels, including "Walking Across Egypt," "Raney" and "Killer Diller."
Considered an authority on Southern literature and founder of the Algonquin
Books publishing company, Edgerton was a distinguished professor of
English at UNC Chapel Hill. He served as editor of several literary journals,
including the Hollins Critic and the Southern Literary Journal. He was awarded a
Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 and the Lyndhurst Prize in 1991.
Louis D. Rubin Jr.
Editor, novelist, essayist, teacher and publisher Louis D. Rubin Jr. has had an
immeasurable effect on a generation of North Carolina writers and readers. A
native of Charleston, S.C. and a World War II vet, Rubin holds a bachelor's
degree from the University of Richmond and master's and doctorate degrees from
Johns Hopkins University. As a graduate student, he co-edited his first book,
"Southern Renascence," which established Rubin as a major figure in Southern
literature. He has continued to write prolifically, publishing more than 40
books. Following a distinguished newspaper career, Rubin taught at the
University of Pennsylvania and Hollins College before joining the faculty at UNC
Chapel Hill, where he stayed for 22 years.
broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns was a correspondent and program anchor from
1969 to 1986. He received 28 major awards, including a George Foster Peabody
Award, a Humanitas Prize and two Christopher Awards for writing. Dobyns has
worked in 47 states and 46 countries, including two years as Paris bureau chief
and European correspondent and two years as Tokyo bureau chief and senior Asia
correspondent. He specializes in international economics and the worldwide
quality movement and is co-author of "Quality or Else" and writer-narrator of
the Public Broadcasting Service documentary "Quality… Or Else!"
Jason McManus is
Time Warner's fourth editor-in-chief.
He joined Time Inc. in
1957 as a summer intern with Sports Illustrated magazine, then worked at the
company full-time as a writer in Time magazine's World section after wrapping up
a Rhoades scholarship at New College, Oxford University.
He was the magazine's
first European Common Market reporter and directed the creation of a European
edition. As senior
editor from 1969 to 1976, he directed the magazine's coverage of Watergate.
McManus holds a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University.
Best-selling author Gail Godwin is a native of Asheville. A graduate of UNC
Chapel Hill's journalism school, Godwin began her writing career at the Miami
Herald. Later she earned a master's and doctorate degree in English from the
University of Iowa. Her thesis became her first published novel, "The
Perfectionists." That book launched a prolific writing career; she has published
nine books and has been nominated for a National Book Award three times. Three
of her recent books were New York Times bestsellers.
Godwin has lives in
Woodstock, N.Y., with her longtime companion, the composer Robert Starer.
Arnold Kimsey King
Arnold Kimsey King, former vice president for University of North Carolina Institutional
Studies, is a longtime friend of UNC Asheville. He was instrumental in the
decision to bring Asheville-Biltmore College, UNC Asheville's predecessor
institution, into the state university system. In addition, King served as acting chancellor in 1977, while Chancellor William Highsmith recovered from a serious
Eugene Pleasants Odum
Distinguished scientist Eugene Pleasants Odum is widely heralded as "the father
of modern ecology." He brought the word "ecosystem" into common parlance by
making it the organizing concept in his groundbreaking 1953 book "Fundamentals
of Ecology." Through that textbook, which was translated into 12 languages, and
through his many other books and articles, he has led the way toward the study
of nature in terms of ecosystems powerfully influenced the development of
ecosystem ecology. Odum grew up in Chapel Hill and earned his A.B. and A.M. in
zoology from UNC Chapel Hill. He holds a doctorate in zoology, with a major in
ecology, from the University of Illinois in 1939.
Walt W. Rostow
Walt W. Rostow*
Economist and author Walt W. Rostow served in a number of high-level government
positions. In 1961, President John F.
Kennedy appointed Rostow as deputy special assistant to the president for
national security affairs. He was later appointed counselor of the U.S.
Department of State and chairman of the Policy Planning Council of the
Department of State. In 1964, the President appointed him to the additional duty
of United States member of the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for
Progress with the rank of ambassador. He served in these latter two capacities
until early 1966, when President Johnson called him back to the White House as
his special assistant for national security affairs. After leaving Washington,
Rostow taught economics and history at University of Texas at Austin. The author
of more than 30 books, Rostow holds a doctorate from Yale and attended Balliol
College, Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar.
Russell Edgerton is chairman of the American Association for Higher Education.
He began his career in higher education as an assistant professor in the
Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He
then moved into public service as a special assistant to Department of Health,
Education and Welfare secretaries Robert Finch and Elliot Richardson, and as a
member of the Planning and Evaluation Staff in the Office of the Secretary. He
was deeply involved in working on the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and
helped author several national reports on higher education. Edgerton grew up in
Los Angeles and holds a doctorate in public law and government from Columbia
John M. Reynolds
Buncombe County native John M. Reynolds is a longtime contributor to the
University. Following four years in the Navy and completion of college, Reynolds
was asked by the chairman of the
County Commissioners to serve on the board of Asheville-Biltmore College, UNC
Asheville's predecessor institution. Reynolds, along with his uncle A. C.
Reynolds, became very active in the school's development. He was instrumental in
obtaining a $500,000 bond for the College, raising other funds, and in deciding
on the school's present location. In 1977, he
received UNC Asheville's
Distinguished Service Award.
Robert L. Gale*
L. Gale’s distinguished career has spanned higher education, government service,
publishing and consulting. For 18 years, he was president of the Association of
Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the only national
association serving public and private university board members. Prior to his
appointment to AGB, he founded Gale Associates Inc., a consulting firm that
worked with nonprofit organizations on strategic planning, program development
and fundraising. In addition, he was the first director of recruiting for the
Peace Corps and later acted as director of public affairs. Gale is a member of
the board of directors of the National Peace Corps Association and was a founder
and board member of the National Center of Nonprofit Boards.
Fred D. Chappell
Canton native Fred D. Chappell is a widely acclaimed author. Chappell's first
novel, "Dagon," is a recasting of a Cthulhu
Mythos horror story as a psychologically realistic Southern Gothic. It was named
Best Foreign Book of the Year by the Academie Française. Chappell joined the UNC
Greensboro English Department faculty in 1962 and recently received the
O. Max Gardner
Award, the highest teaching award given by the UNC system.
Ernest A. Mills
Businessman Ernest A. Mills founded Mills Manufacturing in New York City in
1935. The company moved to Asheville in 1952 and since that time has been
devoted entirely to the manufacture of military parachutes and related
components. Mills and his wife Albina have established a number of important
endowments at the University, including the Mills Foundaiton, which provides a
variety of scholarships. Mills Residence Hall was constructed and named in their
honor in 1987.
Noted author John Ehle is a native of Asheville. He is the author of 17 books --
ranging from historical novels to nonfiction surveys of French wine and cheese -- which have been
translated into more than six languages.
As a member of North Carolina Governor Terry
Sanford's staff in the 1960s, he was the "idea man" and an integral part of the
creation of the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Governor's School. He
went on to serve with the White House Group for Domestic Affairs and on the
First National Council of the Humanities. Ehle also helped start the North
Carolina Film Board, North Carolina Institute of Outdoor Drama, the North
Carolina Advancement School and the North Carolina School of Science and Math.
Five-time winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for fiction, Ehle holds
bachelor's and master's degrees from UNC Chapel Hill, where he also taught for
Virginia Bryan Schreiber
Virginia Bryan Schreiber joined the faculty
of Buncombe County Junior College, UNC Asheville's predecessor institution, in
1928. For many years she taught freshman composition and sophomore English
literature and served as Dean of Women. Schreiber and her students formed the
Bluets, a creative writing magazine, which won several national awards.
Merrimon A. Cunninggim*
North Carolinian Merrimon A. Cunninggim served as president of Salem College in
Winston-Salem, N.C., from 1976-79. A Rhodes Scholar, Cunninggim holds degrees
from Vanderbilt University, Duke University, Oxford University and Yale
University. He served as professor of religion at several institutions before
becoming dean of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist
University. Cunninggim has served as advisor to the president of the Ford
Foundation and as executive director of the Danforth Foundation. He is the
author of several noted books, including "The College Seeks Religion," "The
Protestant Stake in Higher Education" and "Private Money and Public Service: The
Role of Foundations in American Society."
Sarah Belk Gambrell
Sarah Belk Gambrell is an
accomplished businesswoman and civic leader in Charlotte and the Southeastern
United States. She serves as a director for Belk, Inc., which includes 210
department stores spread across sixteen states. She is also very active in
business and civic affairs and the arts in New York City, where she maintains a
Gambrell has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to the cultural life of
the state, especially music and the visual arts. She was a longtime board member
of the Friends of Art and the Friends of Music at Queens University and was the catalyst
for a creative collaboration between the Friends of Music and Charlotte Sister
Roy A. Taylor
Roy A. Taylor is a 1929 graduate of Asheville-Biltmore College, UNC Asheville's
predecessor institution. He continued his education at Asheville University Law
School, earning a law degree. He practiced law in Asheville until World War II.
Taylor served in the Navy and was a commanding officer of a tank landing ship.
After the war, Taylor went into politics and was elected to the North Carolina
Congress, where he served two consecutive terms. He went back to practicing law
but in 1960 North Carolina Congressman David
M. Hall died while in office, and Taylor was elected to take his place. Taylor
served out the term as the 12th District Representative, and was elected to
eight more terms as the 11th District Representative. Throughout his legal and
political career, Taylor has remained dedicated to his alma mater. He served on
the Board of Trustees for 11 years and created the Roy A. Taylor Public Speaking
Contest, which offers cash prizes to students.