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UPDATED: 3/30/20 - 1:28 p.m.

'67 Alumnus Phil Kirk Receives N.C.'s Highest Civilian Honor

November 22, 2013

Category: Alumni

Kirk and Gov. Pat McCrory

L-R: John Hart, Dr. Walt Wolfram, Dr. John Harding Lucas, Gov. Pat McCrory, Dr. Myron S. Cohen, Phil Kirk, and John E. Cram.


Catawba College Alumnus Phil Kirk '67 was one of six individuals honored with the North Carolina Award, the state's highest civilian honor, in a ceremony held Nov. 21 in Durham. Kirk, a native of Rowan County who now makes his home in Raleigh, received the award for public service.

The awards ceremony was held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center and presentations were made by Governor Pat McCrory '78, also a Catawba College alumnus. Other 2013 honorees included novelist John M.H. Hart, Jr. of Keswick, Va., the award for literature; Dr. Myron S. Cohen of Chapel Hill, the award for science; John E. Cram of Asheville, the award for fine arts; Dr. John Harding Lucas of Durham, the award for public service; and Dr. Walt Wolfram of Cary, the award for public service.

The awards are administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, which is headed by Susan Kluttz, a former mayor of Salisbury. She noted that each of the award recipients “has enriched the lives of our citizens and propelled North Carolina onto the national and world stages.”

Kirk, who currently serves as Director of Brady Energy Services, has many noteworthy former positions to his credit. He is chair emeritus of the N.C. State Board of Education and the N.C. Chamber of Commerce. Early in his career, he was a newspaper reporter and a public school teacher of English and journalism in the Salisbury City Schools before joining state government. In 1970, the people of Rowan County elected him to the N.C. State Senate, and he became its youngest member in state history at that time. He later served as chief of staff for N.C. Governors Jim Holshouser and Jim Martin, and for U.S. Senator Jim Broyhill. He also served two governors as Secretary of the N.C. Department of Human Resources. He also served Catawba for several years between July 2006 and April 2009 as Vice President of External Relations.

The North Carolina Awards were created by the General Assembly in 1961 and have been presented annually since 1964. They are presented to individuals in recognition of significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine arts, literature, public service and science.

For more information about the North Carolina Awards, visit


PhotosVIDEO: 2013 N.C. Award Winner for Public Service: Phillip J. Kirk Jr by Ashlee Kirk


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