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James B. Hunt Jr. ’64 (LLB), who set education as a top priority in four terms as North Carolina governor, will address the issue in a Sept. 26 speech at UNC.
Hunt’s topic for the annual Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Lecture in Public Policy will be “North Carolina is Underinvesting in Education.” The free event is open to the public and will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Gerrard Hall.
Hunt served two terms as governor from 1977 to 1985, two terms from 1993 to 2001 and one term as lieutenant governor from 1973 to 1977. Among his education efforts, Hunt launched the early-childhood education program Smart Start. With the Carnegie Corp. of New York, he created the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which he chaired for 10 years. He also established the N.C. Biotechnology Center, the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.
In July, the National Association of State Boards of Education named him National Education Policy Leader of the Year. In 2006, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center listed Hunt as one of the 10 most influential people in American education, along with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Hunt is chair of the boards of directors of two institutes he founded — the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy at UNC and the Institute for Emerging Issues at N.C. State.
Named for the 1957 UNC graduate and former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the speech series was endowed in 2006 to bring to campus distinguished speakers who are practitioners or scholars of public policy, particularly those whose work addresses education, ethics, democratic institutions and civic engagement.
Lambeth served as administrative assistant to then-Gov. Terry Sanford ’39 and to then-U.S. Rep. Richardson Preyer. Later, for more than two decades, he was executive director of the Reynolds foundation. During his tenure, the foundation awarded grants totaling more than $260 million to address many of North Carolina’s most pressing policy issues, particularly social justice and equity, governance and civic engagement, education, community-building and economic development, and protection of the state’s natural environment.
Lambeth has had a strong personal impact on many key public policy issues in North Carolina and nationally, including leadership of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, Leadership North Carolina and a task force of the national Institute of Medicine on the problems of people who lack medical insurance. He also has been a national leader in improving the management and effectiveness of family philanthropic foundations.
Lambeth is a recipient of the GAA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Davie Award for service to UNC. He chairs the GAA-sponsored Tar Heel Network, which supports the University’s goals and priorities through advocacy with legislators, and serves on the GAA Board of Directors.