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Six to receive the North Carolina Award

Posted October 16, 2014

Gov. Pat McCrory will present the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state can bestow, to six people on Thursday, Nov. 13.

"It is an honor to pay tribute to these remarkable individuals who have made North Carolina better by their extraordinary involvement in this state," Susan Kluttz, secretary of the state Department of Cultural Resources, said in a statement. "Each has enriched the lives of our citizens and propelled North Carolina onto the national and world stages."

Created by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Awards have been presented annually since 1964. The categories included fine arts, literature, public service and science, and the 2014 winners are as follows:

Public Service: Betsy M. Bennett
As director of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for more than 20 years, Bennett has transformed the museum and created a global destination for science and understanding. She has snared dinosaurs, recruited world class scientists, won over legislators and enlisted a group of financial supporters. Bennett is a past president of the Association of Science Museum Directors, among other professional leadership posts. She serves on the boards of the Kenan Institute for Science & Engineering, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Triangle Land Conservancy, Kidzu Children's Museum and others. The new Museum of Natural Sciences opened in 2000, and Bennett began working on the Nature Research Center, which opened in 2011. The duet drew 1.2 million tourists in 2012, making it the most visited attraction in North Carolina.

Public Service: Robert A. Ingram
While leading a professional career in pharmaceuticals, Robert "Bob" Ingram has also made an impact as a public servant. Ingram is chairman of the Research Triangle Foundation, Glaxo Foundation and a partner in Hatteras Ventures Partners, seeking venture capital to fund the next bright idea in the science or medical field. Ingram was asked by President George H.W. Bush to form the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Institutes of Health Cancer Advisory Board. He serves on the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy. He has been on the cover of Business Leader and Forbes magazines.

Literature: Lenard D. Moore
Lenard D. Moore believes in the magic and the music of words. The experiences of his eastern North Carolina roots spring forth in his poems, short stories and haikus. He mastered haikus so well that he became the first Southerner and the first African-American to be president of the Haiku Society of America. He is winner of the Haiku Museum of Tokyo Award and executive chairman of the North Carolina Haiku Society. Currently a professor at the University of Mount Olive, he organizes its literary festival and mentors young writers. He is founder of the Carolina African American Writers Collective and co-founder of the Washington Street Writers Group. His essays and reviews have appeared in more than 350 publications, and his work has been translated in several languages.

Science: Jagdish (Jay) Narayan
Jagdish (Jay) Narayan leads the age of nanotechnology. As the John Fan Family Distinguished Chair Professor in the Department of Material Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University, he continues research on infinitely small nano-materials. Narayan discovered how to manipulate atoms so that molecules are directed to perform as desired. This groundbreaking research led to the LED light bulb, and his work was cited by the 2014 Nobel Prize winners for physics. Narayan’s three most prestigious awards include the Robert Franklin Mehl Award, the Acta Materialia Gold Medal and Prize and the ASM Gold Medal. He is one of five scientists alive to receive this triple-crown.

Literature: Alan Shapiro
Alan Shapiro, Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is among the nation's most distinguished poets. Shapiro is the author of 12 books of poetry such as “Night of the Republic,” a finalist for the National Book Award. One of his two memoirs, “The Last Happy Occasion,” was a finalist for the National Book Circle Critics Award in autobiography. Shapiro's poems have appeared in more than 40 journals and magazines, including The New Yorker. He was elected in 2004 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at Stanford University, Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Warren Wilson College. Shapiro has twice received the highest prize for a North Carolina poet, the Roanoke-Chowan Award.

Fine Arts: Ira David Wood III
For 40 years, millions have witnessed Wood's performance as the miserly Dickens villain in “A Christmas Carol” at Theatre in the Park, where Wood is executive director. A graduate of The North Carolina School of the Arts, he was raised in Enfield. Wood wrote and directed the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympic Festival - the largest single event ever held in North Carolina. His original production, “A Capitol Idea,” was the highlight of Raleigh's bicentennial celebration. Four of his original productions have aired on WRAL-TV. Wood has often been credited with raising the bar of theatrical excellence in the Triangle area. He has been presented three keys to The City of Raleigh as well as honorary citizenship awards from Columbia, S.C., and Compiegne, France. Wood has appeared on screen with stars such as Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Neil Patrick Harris, Cliff Robertson, Matthew Modine, James Earl Jones, Burt Reynolds and Louise Fletcher.


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