Two awards for public service, one for literature and one for fine arts have been presented to UNC alumni among six people given the state’s highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award.
Two men long involved in philanthropy in the state, Joseph Bryan Jr. ’58 and Tom Lambeth ’57, received public service awards. The literature and fine arts awards went to two members of the UNC creative writing faculty, Randall Kenan ’85 and Bland Simpson ’70.
Lambeth, former director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, is a former chair of the UNC trustees. He is a member of the GAA Board of Directors and chair of the Tar Heel Network.
Bryan, a philanthropist and advocate for the arts and for higher education, has made a significant impact on arts and charitable organizations such as the N.C. Art Museum, the Eastern Music Festival and Wake Forest University.
Kenan, an author and teacher, explores issues of race and identity through fiction, nonfiction and storytelling. His 1992 story collection Let the Dead Bury their Dead was nominated for several high awards and won a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction.
Simpson, a decorated UNC teacher who directs the creative writing program, is the author of several books and a member of the Tony Award-winning musical group the Red Clay Ramblers.
The other awards, presented this week by Gov. Mike Easley ’72, went to Betty Debnam Hunt, a journalist who created the child-friendly newspaper insert “The Mini Page,” for public service; and Mansukh Wani, who was instrumental in the discovery of two cancer-fighting agents, for science.