By Hannah Montgomery, Graduate Writer and Social Media Manager

Dr. Philip Gura, William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of English & Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill, was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine on May 7th. First awarded in 1963, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the highest honor bestowed by the North Carolina Governor.

Dr. Gura is a literary and cultural historian who has published widely in American literature and religious history, as well as nineteenth century-American music history. He served as the editor of Early American Literature for a decade and was on the editorial board of the multi-volume History of the Book in America. He is also the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including, the 2008 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Division on American Literature to 1800 of the Modern Language Association and the American Antiquarian Society’s 2006-07 Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is awarded to “friends of North Carolina” who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Honorees are conferred the rank of “Ambassador Extraordinary” by the governor to honor a proven record of service to North Carolina or other special achievement.

Dr. Gura was surprised and delighted by the award, saying “it means that after thirty years at UNC, I am almost a native of the state!” He looks forward to being allowed to make the Old North State toast:

Here’s to the land of the Long Leaf Pine,

The summer land where the sun doth shine,

Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,

Here’s to Down Home,

The Old North State!

Previous winners include Maya Angelou, Andy Griffith, Michael Jordan, Tennessee Williams, and Oprah Winfrey. Clearly, Dr. Gura is in good company!

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