Honoree Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr.
James B. Hunt is the longest serving governor in North Carolina history. He served four terms from 1977-1985 and 1993-2001. During his service he maide incredible strides in North Carolina culture, reforming education and changes to the economy. He focused on expanding equal opportunities for minorities and is noted as being “the first governor to bring women and minorities into central roles in the government.” – Jim Hunt: A Biography by Gary Pearce. While in office he installed the first African Americans as cabinet secretary, Court of Appeals judge, Supreme Court Justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and was an advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. With education near and dear to his heart, his focus was to improve the state of the North Carolina school system from kindergarten to college. Public schools improved their test scores under his leadership. His Smart Start programs was nationally recognized and received the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Former Governor Hunt was one of the three founding fathers along with Former Senator and Duke University President Terry Sanford and academician and author John Ehle of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. The hope is to fully educate the students so they can help to become a part of society and help to address and impact economic issues from health, equal opportunities for everyone, education to the preservation of the environment.
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