The 2012 honorees are Dr. B. Jayant Baliga, of Raleigh, for Science; Gary Neil Carden, of Sylva, for Literature; Lou Donaldson, of Bronx, N.Y., and Thomas H. Sayre, of Raleigh, both for Fine Arts; and Janice H. Faulkner, of Greenville, and Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, of Greensboro, both for Public Service. The awards are administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
“We are honored each year to pay tribute to men and women who embody the very best of our state with their imagination, exploration, creativity, and humanitarian service,” said Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle. “They have made a difference in many lives.”
The ceremony will take place at 8 p.m., preceded by a reception for the recipients.
Science: Dr. B. Jayant Baliga
Dr. B. Jayant Baliga is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in electronics engineering and is included among the “Eight Heroes of the Semiconductor Revolution” by Scientific American. Baliga invented, developed, and commercialized the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) while working for General Electric. This device is used in consumer, electrical, medical, renewable, and other products. His work has saved consumers more than $15 trillion dollars, and now helps form the basis for the emerging smart grid. He is the author of 18 books and holds more than 120 U.S. patents. In 2011, Baliga received a National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama – the highest honor bestowed by the United States on scientists, engineers, and inventors.
Literature: Gary Neil Carden
A literature and drama teacher turned storyteller, Gary Neil Carden is an award winning playwright whose tales are informed by mountain life in North Carolina. Growing up with his grandparents in Jackson County, he heard stories at family reunions, funerals and weddings. Instructive, frightening, funny, or downright peculiar, these stories fueled several collections, including “Mason Jars in a Flood,” that received the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year prize. The tales also provided inspiration for the PBS documentary “Mountain Talk.” His play, “The Prince of Dark Corners,” is based on a real life outlaw and now is a PBS film. He has been awarded by the North Carolina Folklore Society and presented an honorary doctorate by Western Carolina University.
Fine Arts: Lou Donaldson
One of the most popular alto saxophonists to record for the famed Blue Note label, Stanly County native Lou Donaldson has played and recorded with jazz legends. He grew up in Badin, attended N.C. A&T State University, and was drafted into the Navy in 1945 where he played with the Great Lakes Navy Band. In the 1950s, several musicians were first recorded with Donaldson, including Horace Silver, Donald Byrd, and Curtis Fuller. He played with Art Blakely, Milt Jackson and Clark Terry, and on the milestone live recording, A Night at Birdland. His most successful albums are Blues Walk, Lush Life, and Alligator Bugaloo. He has toured in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and in 1996 was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame, and was declared a 2013 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. At 85-years-old, he still plays locally in New York, where he lives.
Public Service: Janice H. Faulkner
Former Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. tapped Janice H. Faulkner to lead three North Carolina agencies in the 1990s. Each time, she rose to the challenge and transformed the workplaces. Hunt appointed her Secretary of the N.C. Department of Revenue in 1993, Secretary of State in 1996, and Commissioner of the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles in 1997. Faulkner grew up in Martin County, lives in Greenville, and is a strong and effective advocate for regional economic development, and for her alma mater, East Carolina University. She is a member of the East Carolina University Foundation, was the inaugural chair of the Board of Visitors, and founding chair of the ECU Women’s Roundtable. She has received the Distinguished Alumna Award and the school’s highest award, the Jarvis Medal.
Public Service: Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter
Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter is founder of Pace Communications in Greensboro, the nation’s largest custom publishing company that serves an array of Fortune 500 firms. She is the first female chairman of the American Red Cross, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2004 and reappointed in 2007. Also appointed as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland by President Bush, she served in that post from 2001 to 2003. A long time philanthropist and charitable cause activist, McElveen-Hunter founded the United Way Billion Dollar National Women’s Leadership initiative, which has raised more than 600 million dollars. She has served on numerous boards, including Habitat for Humanity, United Way of America, the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts, and N.C. Museum of Art.
Fine Arts: Thomas H. Sayre
Thomas H. Sayre creates art that makes original interpretations of place, often as monumental sculptures that emerge from the landscape. His most recent project, Across the Grain in Lenoir, illustrates this well. He creates public art that is respectful of venue and also engages the community, such as the Shimmer Wall, in downtown Raleigh. A co-founder of Clearscapes, an art+ architecture design firm in Raleigh, Sayre’s clients include municipalities, museums, and universities in North Carolina, Colorado, Turkey, and Hong Kong. He explores the relationship of objects man made or nature made. He also serves on the board of the N.C. Arts Council, on the Raleigh Public Art and Design Board and others.
Created by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Awards have been presented annually since 1964. The award recognizes significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine arts, literature, public service, and science. For additional information call (919) 807-7389 or (919) 907-7256.
About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources:
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit www.ncdcr.gov.