Holshouser Receives University Award

Former N.C. Gov. James E. Holshouser Jr. ’60 (LLB) of Southern Pines was honored this week for a lifetime of public service and leadership, including support for education at all levels, with the University Award, the highest honor given by the UNC System Board of Governors.

A native of Watauga County, Holshouser graduated from Davidson College in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in history and later received his law degree from UNC. He began his political career in 1963, when he was elected to the first of four terms in the N.C. House. In 1972, he was elected North Carolina’s first Republican governor since 1896.

As governor, Holshouser was a champion for educational improvement, presiding over the consolidation of the 16-campus UNC System and establishing a statewide public kindergarten program. His administration also advanced the state’s first capital funding for the community college system since its inception. The veterinary school at N.C. State University was created during his gubernatorial tenure, as was the statewide network of nine Area Health Education Centers, now considered a national model for health-care training and delivery.

In 1979, Holshouser was elected to an eight-year term on the UNC System Board of Governors and was re-elected to a four-year term when state legislation was changed in 1987. Since 1991, he has served as a member emeritus under special legislation that preserves this status for board members who are former governors of North Carolina.

In addition, Holshouser was tapped by his colleagues to head the search that led to the 1997 election of Molly Broad as UNC System president.