Wake County Public School System

Hall of Fame


John Palmour

A WCPSS graduate from Broughton High School, John Palmour continued his education, earning his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from NC State in 1982 and 1988. Palmour and several fellow NC State graduates co-founded Cree, Inc., a successful Durham-based LED lighting company. Cree, now Wolfspeed, focuses on the design and manufacturing of silicon carbide and GaN materials, power-switching devices, and RF devices. Palmour most recently served as Chief Technology Officer of Wolfspeed until his passing in November 2022. Wolfspeed’s large manufacturing facility is under construction in Chatham County and will be named the John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide. The facility will be the world’s largest producer of silicon carbide. Palmour’s career included 142 patents and 386 scientific publications.

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