RALEIGH – Since 1964, more than 250 North Carolinians have received the state’s highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award. Six outstanding North Carolinians received the award at the ceremony at the N.C. Museum of History on Thursday night. The North Carolina Award, the state’s highest honor, was presented by Gov. Beverly Perdue in the areas of Fine Arts, Literature, Public Service and Science. The award is administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
F. IVY CARROLL – SCIENCE
Frank Ivy Carroll, soon to celebrate fifty years as a research scientist at Research Triangle Institute, has dedicated his career to undoing the damage done by the specter of addiction. Carroll has made novel and significant contributions to scientific research, studying the biochemical mechanisms of cocaine and developing pharmacotherapies that have lead to the treatment of devastating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
Born in Norcross, Georgia, in 1935, Carroll studied at Auburn University, where he graduated in 1957, and completed a doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of North Carolina in 1961. In December 1960 he began his long association with the nonprofit Research Triangle Institute, at the heart of the newly-established Research Triangle Park. There he rose steadily to become Director of the Center for Organic and Medicinal Chemistry. Today he is a Distinguished Fellow for Medicinal Chemistry.
Carroll’s discoveries have been fundamental to advances in the treatment of substance abuse. In particular, his synthesis of 3-phenyltropane analogs has opened the opportunity to treat cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin addicts more effectively. Products based on his advances are marketed and used in treatment centers all over the world. The availability of therapies to counteract the effects of addiction clearly alleviates human suffering, both that of the patient and the family members. The treatments hold the promise of reducing the financial burden on society. Carroll’s work also has led to the development of therapies for nicotine addiction (smoking cessation) and treatments for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. His discoveries have made significant contributions to cancer, radiation, and malaria research.
The author or co-author of 392 publications and 32 book chapters, Carroll holds 36 patents. He is active in the American Chemical Society and is a contributor to the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Drug Development Research, and other scholarly publications. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2006 Carroll received the Nathan B. Eddy Award from the College on Problems on Drug Dependence, one among many professional honors to come his way in recent years. In his five decades at Research Triangle Institute, he has trained over 100 postdoctoral fellows.
F. Ivy Carroll, a widower and father of a daughter and son, lives in Durham.
ROBERT W. EBENDORF – FINE ARTS
Master metalsmith, jewelry designer, and one of the leaders in the burgeoning crafts field, Robert Ebendorf brings distinction to North Carolina through his creative combination of traditional materials and found objects. Ebendorf fashions his widely collected works from broken bits of Formica, crab claws, lost keys, and rusted bits of metal.
Born in Kansas in 1938, Ebendorf recalls that his mother took him to weekly arts and crafts sessions in Topeka where he glued together shells and wrapped string around wine bottles. His father took him to visit his grandparents, laboring away in their tailors shop, setting for him examples of craftspeople doing precision work that would adorn the body. His formal education came at the University of Kansas where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and in Norway as a Fulbright Fellow and where for a year he studied jewelry design courtesy of a grant from the Tiffany Foundation. In 1969 he was a co-founder of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
Ebendorf is an artist who works intuitively, learning in a primarily visual way when he turned his dyslexia, which remained undiagnosed until college, to advantage. His work has taken him to teaching posts at Stetson University, the University of Georgia, SUNY-New Platz, Guest Professor at the University of West England, UK, and since 1999, at East Carolina University, where he is the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor in the Department of Art. He suggests to his students, whom he views as collaborators, that they enlarge their view of art. Ebendorf has created necklaces, brooches, and even chairs, but considers his collection of crosses, using secular materials such as broken glass to create Christian symbols, to be among his strongest pieces.
Of North Carolina, where he has taught at Penland School of Crafts since 1962, Ebendorf says, “What a wonderful state that seems to thrive in the old and the new, and the exchanging of ideas.” His work is recognized well beyond the state’s boundaries and can be found in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Montreal, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was been the subject of a retrospective at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian and he has been honored by the 92nd Street Y Arts Center in Manhattan.
Bob Ebendorf and his wife, Aleta Braun, a painter and mixed media artist, live in Greenville.
R. MICHAEL LEONARD – PUBLIC SERVICE
Hikers and picnickers at Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock state parks have reason to thank R. Michael Leonard. A key participant in the dealings resulting in the recent addition of these two iconic places to North Carolina’s public spaces, Leonard has dedicated three decades to land preservation.
Professionally, Mike Leonard is an attorney in Winston-Salem at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, and his work on behalf of the environment has been entirely without fee. The interest began early. Young Leonard, raised in suburban Charlotte, once built a boat in his backyard and floated it miles downstream to the Catawba River. By age sixteen he was hiking the Appalachian Trail and, while in high school, he won an essay award from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation.
After completion of undergraduate studies in 1975 and graduation from the University of North Carolina School of Law, Order of the Coif, three years later at Chapel Hill, Leonard took a job with a law firm in Birmingham. There he commenced work on land conservation. His dream of connecting Alabama with the Appalachian Trail came true after twenty-two years of work, long after his return to North Carolina in 1986. In time Leonard took on a national leadership position as a board member with The Conservation Fund. His work has benefitted from the fact that the Tar Heel State has one of the nation’s strongest networks of regional land trusts.
Leonard specializes in mass tort litigation and has been recognized as a leader in the field. The skill set involved in organizing attorneys and paralegals and in complex document production also applies to land conservation. Conservation colleagues praise Leonard for his ability to think strategically and his “completely selfless” devotion to his goals. His method is to work behind the scenes to raise the dollars and political support necessary to leverage major land deals to benefit all North Carolinians.
The cumulative impact of Leonard’s work to preserve the state’s natural heritage is astounding, resulting in the protection of over 125,000 acres in twenty-two counties. In Asheville he recently facilitated development of the state’s first municipal watershed. He helped raise money to protect lands around the Cowee Mound in Macon County and to permit the state to acquire the William R. Davie House in Halifax.
The father of two daughters, Mike Leonard and his wife Michelle live in the 1770 “Cornwallis House” in Bethania, where he heads the historical association and has facilitated local land preservation.
MARGARET S. “TOG” NEWMAN – PUBLIC SERVICE
Tog Newman is a visionary leader who has been at the helm of countless arts, education, and non-profit organizations at the state and national levels for more than forty years. She is vital to Winston Salem’s reputation as a cultural center. She has been described as “a leader, a lover of the arts, an advocate for equality, fairness and justice, and a very able administrator with a passionate and generous soul.”
Newman was born and raised in Charlotte, where she was educated in the public schools. She attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, for two years and earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina in 1958. After graduation she worked in New York City until moving to Winston Salem, where she has lived since 1962. She began her lifelong involvement with arts organizations in 1964 when she managed the Winston-Salem Gallery of the Arts (now the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art). While serving on the Winston-Salem Symphony Board, Newman helped establish the Association of Symphony Orchestras of North Carolina. With enthusiasm for arts advocacy she has led the state and the nation in organizations such as Arts North Carolina, the North Carolina Arts Council, the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, the Southern Arts Federation (now South Arts), and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. She has served the state broadly in many capacities including the Heritage and Cultural Tourism Board, the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, the North Carolina Conference for Women, and the Board of Trustees at Winston Salem State University.
Strategic and energetic, Newman is the quintessential volunteer. During the opening of the Roger L. Stevens Center for the Performing Arts, she took on what she called “a full-time volunteer job” overseeing 240 committee members. She is a team builder as well as a team player. She motivates people to achieve their goals and to seek new challenges. As a leader she builds partnerships and inspires creative thinking as she helps committees and boards to realize the possibilities of progress and the opportunities for service.
Tog Newman lives in Winston Salem with her husband Michael, an architect. They have two adult children and three grandchildren.
DONALD SULTAN – FINE ARTS
Since the 1980s Donald Sultan has been at the forefront of contemporary art, producing singular, visceral paintings and sculptures with tools that are more common in the construction industry than in the art world. Creating paintings that include the use of tar, spackle, and vinyl floor tiles, his technique alone is extraordinary. His iconic abstract still lifes have an industrial feel and a three dimensional presence that both echoes classic artists and evokes modern milieus.
Sultan was born in Asheville in 1951. His father, a successful tire merchant, painted recreationally, not believing he could earn a living as an artist. The younger Sultan, determined to find an outlet for creative expression, initially studied drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He gravitated to filmmaking before settling on painting, which offered what he considered “complete control” of his artistic vision. He graduated with a B.F.A. in 1973 and continued his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, completing an M.F.A. two years later.
Moving to New York in 1975, Sultan built artists’ lofts until landing a job as a handyman at an art gallery. Riding the elevator in the gallery one day, he struck up a conversation with men who were laying linoleum tiles around a key hole in the floor. Sultan asked the men for some of their tiles and has never looked back. The vinyl floor tiles and other construction materials became the foundation on which he built a remarkable career. Of his success he merely comments, “I met a lot of interesting people and a lot of artists in construction. I thought I’d just give it a shot.” With a diverse art history background, Sultan draws upon traditional themes and images to paint abstract still life representations that he describes as “heavy structure, holding fragile meaning.”
Sultan’s artwork has been featured in exhibitions around the world and is held in numerous public collections including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tate Gallery in London.
Father of two, Donald Sultan lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.
CAROLE BOSTON WEATHERFORD – LITERATURE
Frederick Douglass, the subject of one of Carole Boston Weatherford’s many books, could have been describing her work when he wrote, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for juvenile audiences, she has published 40 books since 1995. With the goal of sparking children’s imaginations, Weatherford frequently performs readings at schools. Fostering adults’ imaginations, she conducts educational workshops and teaches literature at Fayetteville State University. Her celebrated writing career has always been tightly focused on mining the past for “family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles.
Weatherford was born in 1956 in Baltimore, Maryland, a hometown she shares with Harriett Tubman, about whom she would later write. She composed her first poem when she was in the first grade on her way home from school-her mother pulled the car off the road to write down the words. Weatherford’s father, a printing teacher at the local high school, later surprised her by printing her work on index cards. She went on to receive her B.A. from American University, an M.A. from the University of Baltimore, and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Weatherford worked for twenty years in the field of public relations, publishing occasional poems on the side, before she made the transition into writing children’s books. Having honed her writing skills in the realm of concise and effective public relations copy, she notes that “quality children’s literature compresses language, distills feeling, evokes scenes, and can be experienced on multiple levels.”
Weatherford certainly found her niche with children’s literature. Her books have garnered wide acclaim, including the Golden Kite Honor for Picture Book Text, the NAACP Image Award, Caldecott Honor, the Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor, and several “Best Book of the Year” awards and lists. Weatherford promotes books and literacy in the schools through lively teacher workshops that focus on historical literature and poetry. Her comprehensive reading and discussion guides support teachers’ use of her books in the classroom. Weatherford often emphasizes North Carolina history with subjects such as the Pea Island Lifesavers, John Coltrane, and the Greensboro Sit-Ins. With her courses in children’s and adolescent literature which are designed to introduce students to writing from different genres and ethnic origins, Weatherford shares her extensive experiences with the next generation of writers and educators.
Carole Boston Weatherford lives in High Point with her husband Ronald. They have two children.
North Carolina Awards
Details about the North Carolina Awards, programs, and biographies of prior recipients are available at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncawards/ . Nominations for the 2011 North Carolina Award, may include biographies, resumes and letters of support, and may be submitted by anyone. They should be sent to the North Carolina Awards Committee, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, 4601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4601.