DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University alumni and longtime Nicholas School of the Environment friends Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, N.C., have received the prestigious 2008 North Carolina Award for public service.

Gov. Mike Easley and First Lady Mary Easley presented the awards, which are the highest civilian honor the state can bestow, to the Stanbacks and eight others at a ceremony on Nov. 17.  

“This is a richly deserved honor for Fred and Alice, whose lifelong commitment to environmental education and stewardship has made our state a better place to live,” said William L. Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School. “Fred and Alice, and the entire Stanback family, lead by example. They are galvanizing forces in the land conservation movement in North Carolina, and in the support of educational opportunities for future environmental leaders.”  

In 1995, the Stanbacks established the Stanback Internship program to provide stipends for Nicholas School students, enabling them to intern at non-profit conservation organizations for the summer. To date, more than 200 students have been recipients of the internships.

The Stanbacks also have funded a partnership between the Nicholas School and the Duke Cancer Center to spur collaborative research investigating links between environmental toxins and cancer.

Fred (T’50) and Alice (WC’53) Stanback have served on numerous boards and councils for institutions including the Nicholas School, the Duke Marine Lab, the Duke University Cancer Center, the N.C. Nature Conservancy, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Land Trust for Central North Carolina and Catawba College. They have helped to protect some of North Carolina’s most treasured landscapes, including Chimney Rock, part of Grandfather Mountain, Jocassee Gorges and the Blue Ridge Parkway.    

The North Carolina Awards were established by the N.C. General Assembly and have been presented annually since 1964. An awards committee selects each year’s recipients from nominations submitted statewide by the public. The awards are presented for contributions in the fine arts, literature, public service and science. 

Other recipients of North Carolina Awards this year include Charles Frazier, author of  Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons; philanthropist and business leader Ann Goodnight, director of communications at the SAS Institute; former Gov. James Martin; and former UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball coach Dean Smith.