The William C. Friday Award, established in 2000 and named for the former president of the University of North Carolina System, is an annual honor presented by the senior class of Park Scholars on behalf of the entire Park Scholarships program. This award honors Friday’s dedication and excellence in scholarship, leadership, service, and character, and recognizes individuals who emulate Friday’s dedication to those principles. Each year’s award recipient is invited to speak at a campus-wide event.
North Carolina State University’s Park Scholarships Class of 2022 presented the 23rd annual William C. Friday Award to Julius Tillery. Tillery is the founder of Black Cotton, a business that centers and uplifts the Black community closest to the cotton fields in Northampton County. He was selected for his outstanding advocacy for North Carolina’s agricultural and environmental sectors. As a fifth-generation cotton farmer and native of North Carolina’s Roanoke Valley, Tillery created BlackCotton to honor his roots and promote Black-grown cotton as profitable, beautiful, and empowering. He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of farmers and farming communities across both North Carolina and the entire United States.
Bree Newsome Bass is an artist, filmmaker, and activist from Charlotte, N.C. who has dedicated her life to improving communities. She gained national recognition in the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting in 2015 for climbing a flagpole to remove the Confederate battle flag atop the South Carolina State House, but that is one small facet of her work. As an anti-racist activist, housing rights advocate, and field organizer, Newsome Bass provides aid to under-resourced communities. She is a founding member for The Tribe, a grassroots collective that focuses on sustainable community organization, and uses her passion for film and the arts to advance social justice causes.
Maggie Kane is the founder and executive director of A Place at the Table, a pay-what-you-can cafe that provides community as well as healthy meal options. Kane was selected for her commitment to the Raleigh community, fighting hunger, and combating the stigma of homelessness. After graduating from NC State in 2013, Kane began working for a nonprofit with people experiencing homelessness. Through her work with people on the streets, she realized the power of community, the importance of dignity, and the beauty in bringing people together over incredible food. In February 2015, the foundation of A Place at the Table was started, and Kane never looked back. Its doors opened in January 2018 and began serving thousands of people in Raleigh with a dignified, healthy, and affordable meal.
Noran Sanford is the founder of GrowingChange, which converts decommissioned rural prisons into sustainable farms and education centers. Before founding GrowingChange, Sanford worked as a licensed clinical social worker, providing mental health treatment to youth and families served by the Department of Juvenile Justice in Scotland, Hoke, and Robeson Counties. He demonstrates his dedication to empowerment by involving local youth in these prison renovations—challenging them to rewrite their communities’ historic narratives of incarceration. Sanford’s work has garnered significant regional, national, and international attention, including the Open Society Foundation and the Ashoka Fellows, the NC Rural Center where he was named the 2017 Rural Leader of the Year, and Young in Prison, an international NGO. In addition to leading GrowingChange, Sanford has served as the board of directors president for the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center of Scotland County and sits on the board for Hospice of Scotland County.
Amy Gage Wright is the founder and CEO of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, an award-winning coffee shop in Wilmington, N.C., that employs over 40 intellectually disabled people. The Park Class of 2018 selected Wright for her commitment to service, entrepreneurship, and leadership as an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Wright founded the non-profit organization ABLE to Work USA, which owns Bitty & Beau’s Coffee. She was inspired to start the coffee shop after discovering that 70 percent of adults with IDD are unemployed. She named the shop after her youngest children, who have Down syndrome. In the two years since it opened in Wilmington, N.C., Bitty & Beau’s Coffee has received the Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year and Trillium’s Transforming Lives Award. The venture has transformed the lives of its employees and customers and expanded to Charleston, S.C. in early 2018.
Thomas W. Ross is president of the Volcker Alliance and president emeritus of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System. The Park Class of 2017 named Ross as its William C. Friday for his commitment to leadership in education, public service, and student advocacy. Prior to becoming UNC President, Ross served as president of Davidson College, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and a Superior Court judge. Ross was appointed president of the Volcker Alliance in May 2016. He also serves as the Sanford Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at the Duke University Sanford School for Public Policy. Ross has been involved in numerous civic and community activities, ranging from his current role on the Howard Baker Forum Cuba Consortium Advisory Board, to past board positions with the Center for Creative Leadership, the National Humanities Center, and the N.C. Biotechnology Center.
Joy Currey established CORRAL Riding Academy in 2008 with the goal of changing the trajectories of at-risk teen girls’ lives by providing a combination of equine assisted therapy, academic intervention, vocational training, and mentorship. Currey, who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, served as a Teach For America corps member and taught in an inner-city Philadelphia middle school. She went on to co-found a charter school in Brooklyn, N.Y. and earn a master’s degree in education from Columbia University. Currey founded CORRAL as part of her personal commitment to improving the lives of the young people most underserved by our educational system. The Cary, N.C.-based organization recently completed – ahead of schedule – a $1 million fundraising campaign to purchase the farm it has occupied since its founding and expand the program’s reach. CORRAL and its participants’ successes are the inspiration behind Unbridled, an upcoming feature film.
Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to helping people live more sensible – if not rational – lives by answering questions such as: Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest? Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around? Why do we overvalue things that we’ve worked to put together? What are the forces that influence our behavior? Ariely’s interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing, and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom.
Jim Whitehurst is the president and CEO of Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise software. Whitehurst is an avid advocate for open software as a catalyst for business innovation. With a background in business development, finance, and global operations, Whitehurst has proven expertise in helping companies flourish—even in the most challenging economic and business environments. Since joining Red Hat in January 2008, he has more than doubled the company’s revenue. Under his leadership, Red Hat was ranked 4th on Forbes’ list of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” in 2012, was added to Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock index in 2009, and named one of the best places to work in 2014 by Glassdoor.
Michell Hicks is Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Hicks is the leader of the only federally-recognized Native American tribe in North Carolina. Since his election to the role of Principal Chief in 2003, he has overseen more than 14,000 members and 56,000 acres of land in the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, a self-governing nation in western North Carolina. Hicks, a certified public accountant and the youngest chief to lead his nation, has helped the tribe adopt a successful new economic strategy.
James A. Joseph serves as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa from 1996 to 1999. He was awarded the Order of Good Hope from the Republic of South Africa, the highest honor presented to a citizen of another country. Following this appointment, Joseph launched the United States – Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values, a partnership between Duke University and the University of Cape Town, where he is currently Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies and executive director. Joseph has held positions such as chairman of the board of directors of President Clinton’s Corporation for National Service, Undersecretary of the Department of Interior, and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations.
Ping Fu is the co-founder of Geomagic, a leading U.S. software company pioneering technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed, engineered, and manufactured around the world. From automobiles to medical devices, Geomagic enables manufacturers to innovate new products and services, shorten time to market, and improve quality. Under Fu’s leadership, Geomagic has been an active participant in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Fu was selected for the William C. Friday Award for her resilience in the face of adversity, as well as her outstanding achievements in industry, leadership, and innovation.
Keith L. Fishburne, President and CEO of Special Olympics North Carolina, was selected as the 2010 recipient of the William C. Friday Award. Fishburne was honored for his efforts to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Fishburne has worked with Special Olympics North Carolina for over 20 years. Special Olympics North Carolina currently has more than 38,000 registered athletes who participate in 100 local programs serving every county in the state. Fishburne aspires to build the program so that it can reach as many as possible of the approximately 200,000 individuals in the state who are intellectually disabled. Under Fishburne’s leadership, the organization has moved beyond the state to create global partnerships, like that with Special Olympics Bharat.
Historian Dr. John Hope Franklin authored several books on African-American history in the Southern United States, including From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, first published in 1947 and now in its seventh edition. Dr. Franklin received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1941 and was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for eighteen years before joining the faculty at Duke University. In addition to receiving honorary degrees from over one hundred institutions of higher education, he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History and was president of The American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975), and the American Historical Association (1979).
Dr. Jim Goodnight is the founder and CEO of SAS Institute, a world leader in business analytics software and a fixture on “Best Places to Work” lists. Ann Goodnight is a member of the UNC Board of Governors and a recipient of the 2008 North Carolina Award for Public Service. Both are NC State University alumni, and Dr. Goodnight served on the faculty from 1972-1976. The Goodnights have focused much of their philanthropy on education, helping to engineer the construction of SAS Hall, NC State’s mathematics and statistics building; co-founding Cary Academy in 1996 ; and funding NC State’s Goodnight Scholarship program for students majoring in STEM disciplines.
Tammi Sutton is a former Teach for America corps member recipient of several Teacher of the Year awards. As a part of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) network of charter schools, Ms. Sutton co-founded Gaston College Preparatory in 2001 and Pride High School, the first KIPP high school in North Carolina, in 2004. These schools are comprised primarily of minority and low-income students that consistently outperform their national grade-level peers. Ms. Sutton’s work was featured in One Day, All Children…, a book by Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp.
Jill Staton Bullard is the Executive Director of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS), a non-profit organization devoted to pioneering innovative, transformative solutions designed to end hunger in the community. Based in Raleigh, IFFS is a member of Feeding America, a national network of food banks and food rescue organizations. As a founding director of IFFS, Ms. Bullard played a significant role in the passage of the North Carolina Good Samaritan Act, which allows businesses to donate unsellable food items without fear of legal action.
Arlinda Faye Locklear is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a 1976 Duke Law graduate. The first American Indian woman to appear before the Supreme Court, Locklear is considered a pioneer in American Indian law and has handled a wide range of claims relating to water and land, reservation boundaries and sovereignty, and federal recognition of tribes.
Lee Smith is an American fiction author who has published 12 novels and four collections of short stories. Her novel The Last Girls reached the New York Times bestseller list in 2002. She is a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Smith served on the NC State faculty from 1989 to 1998.
Dr. Phyllis Crain was an education advocate and the Executive Director of the Crossnore School, a century-old residential education campus for abused and neglected children. Crain received her doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina and was a teacher and administrator for many years. She served as the first female superintendent of schools in Avery County, North Carolina before joining the Crossnore School in 1999. During her time at the school, she helped renovate the campus, gain accreditation, and raise the endowment from $1 million to over $20 million.
Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton served as the 14th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001. He was born and raised in North Carolina and completed a degree in textile engineering from NC State. During his 38 years in the United States Army, Gen. Shelton completed two tours in Vietnam, commanded the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, and made significant improvements to the military retirement and healthcare programs. He is the Chairman of the Board of Red Hat, Inc., and serves as the Executive Director of NC State’s General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center.
Dr. Larry King Monteith served as the eleventh Chancellor of NC State University from 1989 to 1998. After receiving an undergraduate degree from NC State and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University, he joined the NC State Department of Electrical Engineering in 1968, where he served as Department Head and Dean of Engineering. As Chancellor, he presided over the development of Centennial Campus, established the NC State chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and played a critical role in the creation of the Park Scholarships program.
William C. Friday served as president of the University of North Carolina System from 1956 to 1986. He helped to revolutionize higher education in North Carolina, with significant roles in the creation of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the formation of the Research Triangle Park, and the consolidation of the 16-campus UNC System. He was the founding co-chairman of the Knight Foundation Commission of Intercollegiate Athletics, an organization that works to ensure that athletics programs operate within the educational mission of their colleges and universities. After retiring in 1986, he hosted the public television talk show North Carolina People that ran for more than 40 years.