UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder has been named to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the governor of North Carolina. The award, begun in 1963 and presented in recognition of extraordinary service to the state, was bestowed by Gov. Pat McCrory.
N.C. Representative Nathan Ramsey, a UNC Asheville graduate, nominated Ponder for the award. Ramsey joined with N.C. Senator Terry Van Duyn in presenting the award to Ponder at a reception held in her honor on July 10.
Ramsey, who served as a member of UNC Asheville’s Board of Trustees from 2009-2012, said, “Chancellor Ponder grew up in Asheville and is proof that one can truly go home again. Under her leadership, she has helped solidify the reputation of the university as one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the nation.”
“UNC Asheville is stronger than ever, thanks to Chancellor Ponder’s leadership,” said King Prather, UNC Asheville board chair. “Despite the recession during her tenure, the university was able to protect and improve academic programs, earn a stellar national reputation, add new facilities and renovate older ones, and acquire adjoining properties to facilitate future growth. Her successor will assume the reins of a university poised to serve North Carolina in bigger and better ways.”
Ponder will retire from her position as UNC Asheville’s chancellor August 31.
Distinguished recipients of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine honor include William Friday, Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, Coretta Scott King and many other leaders in business, education, public service, arts, entertainment and sports.