North Carolina Awards

North Carolina Award Medal

Established by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Award is the highest civilian honor given by the state. Presented annually since 1964, the award recognizes significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine art, literature, public service and science. Though given by the governor, the award is administered by our agency.

History of the Award

Since its inception, more than 250 notable men and women have been honored by the state of North Carolina. Past recipients include William Friday, Romare Bearden, James Taylor, Gertrude Elion, John Hope Franklin, David Brinkley, Maya Angelou, Billy Graham and Branford Marsalis.

Learn More About the Award's History and See a Complete List of Winners

Annual Awards Gala 

The state's highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award, will be presented to six distinguished North Carolinians Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. Governor Roy Cooper will present the awards at the 7 p.m. banquet and ceremony.

Sponsorship Information

No state monies are used to produce the annual gala. We rely entirely on the generosity of individuals and organizations. This event is generously sponsored by Diamond Sponsors Martin Marietta and Bob Barker Company, RTI International; Ruby Sponsors Thomas Kenan III, Joseph M. Bryan Jr., Capitol Broadcasting, INC Research and UNC-Charlotte; and Sapphire Sponsors PepsiCo and Perkins+Will. 

Learn More About the Benefits of Sponsorship

The 2017 North Carolina Award Winners

Margaret Donovan Bauer for Literature

Philip G. Freelon for Fine Arts

R.K.M. Jayanty for Science

The Honorable Loretta E. Lynch for Public Service

Jane Smith Patterson for Public Service

James H. Woodward for Public Service

Submit a Nomination