The Board of Trustees has honored four recipients with the William Richardson Davie Award, the board’s highest honor.
The trustees on Wednesday honored Fred Eshelman ’72, founder of PPD Inc., of Wilmington; Richard Krasno, executive director of the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, of Chapel Hill; Gov. Beverly Perdue of Raleigh; and Richard “Stick” Williams ’75, senior vice president of environmental health and safety at Duke Energy Corp., of Charlotte.
Established by the trustees in 1984, the Davie Award is named for the Revolutionary War hero who is considered the father of the University. It recognizes extraordinary service to the University or society.
Eshelman has transformed UNC’s pharmacy school, now named the Eshelman School of Pharmacy in his honor, by supporting Carolina with his commitment of time, service and gifts totaling more than $33 million.
Eshelman has been a member of the pharmacy school’s board of visitors for more than a decade and has lectured as an adjunct faculty member. He has created five $1 million distinguished professorships that helped to recruit world-renowned faculty. He established six scholarships for doctor of pharmacy students and fellowships that last year were awarded to eight graduate students. He provided seed money to begin construction of the school’s 70,000 square feet of laboratory space in the new Genetic Medicine Building. He established a Fund for Excellence to support innovation at the school. Eshelman also is a past recipient of the GAA’s Distinguished Service Medal.
Because of Eshelman’s support, the school has added expert faculty in many disciplines, enrolled promising students from around the country and world, and increased faculty research funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Krasno has led the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust since 1999, and he serves as president of the four related William R. Kenan Jr. funds. Combined, Kenan family and philanthropic foundations have given more to the University than any other private donor.
In the Carolina First Campaign, UNC’s most recent major fundraising drive, they gave nearly $70 million, the campaign’s highest total from a single contributor. Under Krasno’s leadership, the Kenan Trust and associated funds have advanced numerous key priorities at Carolina, including the arts, the honors program, the faculty and building projects.
Krasno and his wife, Carin, have supported Carolina personally, with gifts to the PlayMakers Repertory Benefit Fund and Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Before joining the Kenan Trust, Krasno was president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a professional graduate school, and deputy assistant secretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education. He also coordinated international educational activities for the Ford Foundation. The University of Illinois graduate earned a doctorate from Stanford University. He is a former chair of the Rhodes Scholar selection committee in North Carolina.
Before Perdue became the state’s first woman governor, she served as lieutenant governor for eight years. That tenure followed two terms in the N.C. House of Representatives and five terms in the state Senate, where she became the first woman to serve as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Before entering public service, Perdue worked as a public school teacher and as director of geriatric services at a community hospital in her hometown of New Bern. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, she earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in education administration from the University of Florida.
She is married to Bob Eaves ’58, and her two sons are Carolina graduates. The governor and Eaves met while serving on UNC’s Board of Visitors. Together, they have supported many areas of the University with their time and gifts. She was the featured speaker during the University Day convocation last Oct. 12.
Williams’ leadership roles at Carolina have shaped many facets of University life. During his tenure as the UNC Board of Trustees’ first African-American chair, he guided the trustees and administration through a process that identified priorities for becoming the leading public university, guided deliberations about tuition and worked to improve town-gown relations. The former longtime Chapel Hill resident also focused attention on student issues and faculty retention. He is a past chair of the UNC General Alumni Association and a past recipient of the GAA’s Distinguished Service Medal.
Williams attended Carolina on an academic scholarship and earned his degree in business administration. He began his career at what is now Duke Energy as a financial analyst and served as branch, district and general manager. Now he is senior vice president of environmental health and safety, as well as president of the Duke Energy Foundation.
Williams’ wife, Teresa, earned her degree in psychology at UNC. Two of their three daughters are also Carolina graduates. The Williamses have supported UNC causes including the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, Kenan-Flagler Business School, the N.C. Botanical Garden Foundation and the Memorial Hall Renovation Fund.