Almost 450 business leaders, educators and elected officials attended the 26th annual meeting of Wake Education Partnership on Thursday. The event focused on the need to create a world-class school system that prepares all students for a global economy.

It also provided an opportunity to present a tribute to the late Sen. Vernon Malone for his work in integrating and strengthening Wake County’s public schools through the years.

”Sen. Malone belonged to an elite group of people in Wake County who knew what was right when the school system found itself at a critical crossroads in the 1970s,” said Richard Urquhart, president of Investors Management Corp., in presenting the tribute.

In a letter read to those gathered, Gov. Beverly Perdue said of Malone: “He stood for all the right things – the things that make North Carolina better. And he stood for all of us.”

The Partnership’s annual Friend of Education Award was renamed the Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award as part of the tribute. Dargan and Blount Williams of Raleigh were the first recipients of the newly-named award in recognition of their support of Wake’s schools. Blount Williams is president of Alfred Williams & Company.

The Partnership also honored long-time educator and current UNC Board of Governors member Dudley Flood with its first Lifetime Achievement Award. Flood began his work as a teacher in the segregated schools of North Carolina and later worked extensively throughout the state to help integrate schools.

It was also announced that Doug Vinsel, CEO of Duke Raleigh Hospital, will serve as chairman of the Partnership’s Annual Campaign for Public Education. The campaign raises money to support the Partnership’s work on issues such as world-class education standards and continued commitment to diversity in the schools.

About the Partnership

Wake Education Partnership is an advocacy organization dedicated to making world-class schools possible in Wake County through business and community involvement. It plays a critical role in bringing local leaders together to improve public schools and in educating the public on current education issues. For more information, please visitwww.wakeedpartnership.org.

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