In the spring intake next month, four people will receive honorary degrees from the University. Keynote speaker Frank A. Bruni Jr. will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters. Algenon Lamont Marbley, Millie Ravenel and Eddie Smith Jr. will receive honorary doctorates of law.
Frank A. Bruni Jr.
doctor of letters
Frank Bruni ’86 began his journalism career in Carolina as a Morehead Scholar, English major, and student reporter for the Daily Tar Heel. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, he worked as a reporter for the New York Post and then the Detroit Free Press, where he covered the first Persian Gulf War and was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the writing feature films.
Bruni is best known for his work for The New York Times, where from 1995 to 2021 he wrote as a columnist, White House correspondent and chief food critic. He now contributes opinion pieces and writes a weekly newsletter for The Times. He is the author of several books, including “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania” and the 2022 memoir “The Beauty of Dusk,” about finding optimism again. after partially losing his sight.
The Tar Heel recently returned to North Carolina to become the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of Journalism and Public Policy Practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, citing a desire to move to a quieter area. , to teach and to have more time to reflect.
Bruni credits Carolina and the faculty members who “were wonderful, committed teachers and made learning a joy” for providing diverse experiences and preparing him for a career in journalism.
Algenon Lamont Marbley
doctor of law
Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley ’76 is a Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
On the recommendation of Senator John Glenn, President Bill Clinton appointed Marbley to the bench in 1997. Marbley became Chief District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio on September 14, 2019, becoming the first African American to hold that position. job.
In his 24 years as a district court judge, Marbley presided over some of the most important cases in central Ohio and the country, deciding issues ranging from voting rights to policing. . Prior to serving on the bench, Marbley was a partner in the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, where he practiced civil, criminal and administrative law for 11 years.
Marbley, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Carolina and a JD from Northwestern University, also remains active in the community. He has served on the board of trustees of The Ohio State University and serves on the boards of the Knowledge Is Power Program School and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The Washington Post adopted one of his statements during a trial as its motto: “Democracy dies in darkness.” Marbley is married and has two adult sons, a stepson and three granddaughters.
doctor of law
Millie Ravenel embodies the spirit of public service which, along with teaching and research, is the central mission of great public universities in the United States.
In 1979, Ravenel, working with the government of the time. James B. Hunt and his wife, Carolyn, became the founding executive director of the North Carolina Center for International Understanding. Their vision for the center, which operated as a public service project of the UNC system, was to demystify other nations and cultures in an increasingly interconnected world through people-to-people exchange. Planes from North Carolina traveled overseas to live for a week in the homes of people in India, Japan, Kenya and other countries, while more than 1,000 visitors from other countries made even in North Carolina homes.
Over the next three decades under Ravenel’s leadership, the center expanded its mission to promote global awareness among state leaders in a wide range of sectors. It has sent more than 10,000 North Carolina educators, legislators, and other leaders to 50 different countries and hosted more than 5,000 international guests. His Latino Initiative tackled North Carolina’s changing demographics by sending state and local politicians to Mexico to learn about immigration and develop strategies for integrating Latino residents into Carolina communities. North. Through its Global Teachers Fellowship, which has often given North Carolina teachers their first international experience, more than 1,100 teachers have participated in professional development programs in 19 countries and have returned with expanded worldviews and plans. lessons to teach their students. Global Policy programs have connected North Carolina leaders with best practices in education, economic development, and energy policy around the world. And the center has become a national leader in establishing Chinese language and culture classrooms that have enabled 7,000 North Carolina students to study Mandarin Chinese. In 2017, the Center adopted a new name – Go Global NC – reflecting its focus on a forward-looking North Carolina.
Although she retired as executive director in 2011, Ravenel, a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science, continues to pursue her vision of a globally connected North Carolina. She is working to build an endowment that will eventually allow one teacher from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties to participate in a global professional development program each year.
Eddie Smith Jr.
doctor of law
Eddie Smith ’65 is President and CEO of Grady-White Boats Inc., the world’s leading builder of outboard motor sport fishing boats, based in Greenville, North Carolina. The company manufactures 27 boat models, from 18 to 45 feet in length, which are distributed nationally and internationally through independent Grady-White dealers.
During his 50 years at the helm of Grady-White Boats, which he rescued from near bankruptcy, Smith took on leadership roles in numerous industry and charitable organizations, including serving as Chairman of the Board of administration of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
But it’s Smith’s passion for all things Carolina, where the first-generation student played football and earned a bachelor of science degree, that really shines. He is a former member of the UNC Educational Foundation Executive Committee and the University Board of Trustees. The Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, which he started with his late wife, has made philanthropic donations to Lineberger Cancer Center, School of Medicine, UNC Health Foundation, Kenan-Flagler Business School, College of Arts & Sciences and other schools and programs.
He and his family have been especially generous when it comes to Carolina Athletics. Smith saw athletics as the “gateway to UNC” for how the sport inspires alumni to come back and connect. He endowed a football scholarship in his father’s name in 1987, launching decades of investment in the expansion and renovation of Kenan Stadium, the construction of the Stallings-Evans Sports Medicine Center and the Eddie Smith Field House, also named in honor of Smith’s father. Chris Smith Field at Kenan Stadium is named after Smith’s son, a 1987 alumnus, who died of ALS in 2021.