Catawba College's new vice president for external affairs, Phillip J. Kirk '67, was among six North Carolina leaders who were the recipients of the 14th annual UNC Wilmington Watson School of Education's Razor Walker Awards.
The ceremony was held at the Coast Line Convention Center in downtown Wilmington Monday, April 24. The Razor Walker Awards recognize the efforts and commitment of a select group of people who have improved the lives of and educational opportunities for North Carolina's children and youth.
The Razor Walker Award was established in 1993 by the UNCW Watson School of Education to recognize exceptional contributions toward the welfare of children and youth in the areas of: art/literature, business, educational administration, law, medicine, philanthropy, public service/policy and teaching/research. It is considered one of North Carolina's most prestigious and unique service awards.
Phillip J. Kirk, Jr., of Raleigh, Business — As an elected official, state government administrator, lobbyist and influential voice in public policy, Phil Kirk has worked tirelessly to ensure that high-quality education remains a priority in North Carolina. As president and secretary of the N.C. Center for Business and Industry for 16 years, he worked with the business community to encourage unwavering support of school improvement efforts at all levels of education.
During his tenure at NCCBI, the organization took the lead in successfully working for passage of the largest K-12 and higher education bond referenda in the state's history. Consequently, North Carolina has been held up as a model of school/business partnership, standing in sharp contrast to some states that have sacrificed educational needs to business interests.
Throughout his career, he has consistently emphasized public education and other programs for children. Chairman emeritus of the State Board of Education, Kirk serves on numerous other boards including the Public School Forum of North Carolina and the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching Foundation. He also has received two statewide "Friends of Education" awards from the Professional Educators of North Carolina and the I.E. Ready Award, the top award given by the North Carolina Community College System. He was recently named vice president for external affairs effective July 1, at his alma mater, Catawba College, where he has served as a trustee.
Other 2006 recipients include:
Camp Special Time, Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, honoring Ms. Wanda Bass, RN, and Ms. Angie West, RN, of Wilmington, Medicine — These pediatric nurses at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington had a vision to help military families with special needs children, giving the children a fun night away from home and their parents a needed respite.
Working with faculty and staff in the Exceptional Family Member Program at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, UNCW and Cape Fear Community College, West and Bass created Camp Special Time, a free overnight care program. Since the first weekend session was held in April 2003, more than 100 children have attended the camp.
Bass and West recruit, train and schedule all of the volunteers, nearly 100 per camp session. Many of the volunteers are students in nursing and recreational/occupational therapy from UNCW and Cape Fear Community College, who gain first-hand knowledge of the physical, emotional, behavioral and clinical needs of special needs children.
Dr. Lloyd V. "Vic" Hackley of Chapel Hill, Educational Administration — A nationally recognized figure in character education, Hackley is chancellor emeritus of Fayetteville State University, former president of the North Carolina Community College System, chairman emeritus of the National CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition and a member of the Board of Governors of the Josephson Institute of Ethics. He now volunteers full-time with CHARACTER COUNTS! as a nationally certified ethics and character development instructor.
Since January 1997, Hackley has taught or conducted personally more than 3,400 seminars, workshops and lectures in ethics and character development throughout America and abroad, for parents, teachers, children and professionals who work with children, as well as for businesses, universities and other organizations.
Twice, he has been presented the N.C. PTA's highest award for service to children. As an educational administrator, he has shown commitment and dedication to the state, its children and its families.
Mr. David L. Jones of Wilmington, Philanthropy — As a philanthropist, business leader, elected official and volunteer, Jones has unselfishly worked to provide current and future generations of Wilmington's children and youth with needed programs and facilities. As former president of the UNCW Seahawk Club and a member of the Board of Visitors, he raised funds for athletic scholarships and athletic equipment and made significant financial contributions to the new athletic locker room to ensure that student athletes have high quality facilities. His companies also employ many UNCW students and graduates.
Beyond the university, Jones has been generous with his time and resources for many other organizations focused on youth, and he established an endowment fund for students at Cape Fear Community College.
Mayor of the City of Wilmington from 1999-2001, he also served as secretary of the N.C. Department of corrections and music director of the Craven County Public Schools. He currently serves on the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research Committee and is a member of the N.C. Commission on National and Community Service.
Dr. Noel K. Jones of Wilmington, Teaching and Research — As a teacher educator in the UNCW Donald R. Watson School of Education since 1977, Jones developed strong literacy programs in public schools and universities. His work significantly impacted the field of early literacy and provided the opportunity for many children to become readers. He also fostered reflection and collaboration among teacher education students.
Beginning in 1990, he initiated the study of a new literacy program originating in New Zealand called Reading Recovery. He led the acceptance of this program by the literacy faculty and served as program director at UNCW, which became one of only 22 university training centers for Reading Recovery in the United States. As program director, he monitored the implementation of Reading Recovery for 30 school sites in North Carolina and Virginia and developed the Southeastern Regional Reading Recovery Conference, which began in 1994 with 400 participants and grew to 1,600 in 2005.