Six North Carolina residents to receive state’s highest honor | State News
The state’s highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award, will be presented to six distinguished North Carolinians on Tuesday, November 15 at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Governor Roy Cooper will present the awards.
The award was established by the General Assembly in 1961 to recognize significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine art, literature, public service and science.
The 2022 recipients are The Honorable Eva Clayton for Public Service, The Honorable Mickey Michaux for Public Service, Eric Church for Fine Arts, David Zucchino for Literature, Dr. Stanley Riggs for Science and Dr. Priya Kishnani for science.
“These individuals have enriched North Carolina and our nation with their extraordinary accomplishments,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Each of them has enhanced the lives of the people of North Carolina through their enduring achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public service.”
Since the award’s inception, more than 250 notable men and women have been honored by the state of North Carolina. Past recipients include Selma Burke, William Friday, James Taylor, Etta Baker, Charles Kuralt, Maya Angelou, Lee Smith and Branford Marsalis.
•Eric Church was born in Granite Falls, where his musical journey began at age 13 when he started writing songs and learned to play the guitar. He earned a marketing degree from Appalachian State University before moving to Nashville to pursue a music career. The recipient of multiple ACM and CMA awards, including the 2020 CMA Entertainer of the Year award, Church has also garnered numerous GRAMMY nominations while amassing a passionate worldwide fanbase known as the Church Choir. . In 2013, Church and his wife, Katherine, founded the Chief Cares Fund, a charitable organization that helps people in need, in the United States and around the world.
•Eva M. Clayton, the first African-American woman to represent North Carolina in Congress, was also the state’s first black female representative since 1901 when she took office in the final months of the 102nd Congress in 1992 Clayton, a strong advocate for agricultural interests, relaunched the Rural Caucus with Missouri Republican Jo Ann Emerson. They brought together more than 100 House members who pledged to continue federal support for farmers, create new rural jobs and expand technology initiatives. After retiring from Congress in January 2003, Clayton spent three years in Rome, Italy, as Deputy Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. There, she facilitated the creation of 24 national alliances to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty in countries around the world.
•Dr. Priya S. Kishnani followed a path to medicine first traced by her mother, a pediatrician in India. She has treated patients and conducted groundbreaking basic and clinical research at Duke University School of Medicine for nearly 30 years. Currently, Kishnani is the Chen Family Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Head of the Division of Medical Genetics. Kishnani’s work applies basic scientific discoveries to clinical trials and the pioneering approval of new therapies. His innovative contributions translate laboratory science into treatment for people with lysosomal storage disorder (LSD), glycogen storage disease (GSD), Down syndrome and other rare inherited disorders.
•HM “Mickey” Michaux Jr. has spent more than 50 years as an activist, businessman and politician. He served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1973 to 1977 and later from 1983 to 2019. His time at the State House made him the longest serving member of the body. In 2020, at age 89, he was nominated to temporarily fill a seat in the North Carolina Senate. Michaux was instrumental in the preparation of several state budgets as senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and held numerous leadership positions in the House. Michaux was appointed in 1977 to the post of American attorney, becoming the first African American to hold that post in the South since Reconstruction.
•Dr. Stanley R. Riggs began his work as a marine geologist in the 1960s at a time when few people recognized the importance of climate change research. Riggs began working at East Carolina University in 1967 and spent 33 years teaching geology and tracking changes within North Carolina’s coastal system. He was one of five scientists recruited by ECU for its geology department to launch the university’s new geology and marine science program. He has published several books on coastal dynamics and climate change, including “Drowning the North Carolina Coast” and “The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast”.
• David Zucchino, New York Times contributor and 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner for his book “Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy”, has covered wars and civil strife in more than three dozen countries . Zucchino began his journalism career as a generalist reporter at the Raleigh News and Observer. He then worked for 20 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer as bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon; Nairobi, Kenya; and Johannesburg, South Africa and worked as a foreign and domestic correspondent for the Los Angeles Times from 2001 to 2016, focusing on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. He is the author of “Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad” and “Myth of the Welfare Queen”.