SOE News

Bob Eaves, Luther Hodges, Tom Lambeth join Foundation Board

Photo of Robert Wendell Eaves, Jr.

Robert Wendell Eaves, Jr.


Photo of Luther Hartwell Hodges, Jr.

Luther Hartwell Hodges, Jr.


Photo of Thomas Willis Lambeth

Thomas Willis Lambeth

Three new members have been elected to the Board of Directors of the School of Education Foundation. They are:

  • Robert Wendell Eaves, Jr. (B.S.B.A. ’58), a businessman and accountant who is majority owner of the Right Stuff Food Stores, former CEO of Globe Oil, a member of the Foundation Board of the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, and currently serving as North Carolina’s First Gentleman, residing in Raleigh, N.C.
  • Luther Hartwell Hodges, Jr. (A.B. ’57), a commercial banker, president of Phoenix Associates, Inc., former deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and former chairman of the Board of North Carolina National Bank (now Bank of America), from Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Thomas Willis Lambeth (A.B. ’57), former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, current senior fellow at the ZSR Foundation, chairman of the board of BB&T Funds Group, and a member of the Foundation Board of the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, from Winston-Salem, N.C. 

The Board welcomed these newly elected members at its meeting on May 8, 2009, in Chapel Hill. Dean Bill McDiarmid (A.B. ’69) updated the Board on the State of the School. “Like everyone else, we’re dealing with budget cuts,” he said. “But despite the budget situation, the School of Education is in an extraordinary place. Both the provost and the chancellor are very strong advocates of our School, which is rare at a research university.”

McDiarmid described several initiatives that the faculty wants to undertake including the creation of a Rural Education Center, a model to support early career teachers, a Center to Support Data Use and serving as the lead institution to pilot test the Teacher Performance Assessment Project in North Carolina.

“These are critical areas of need in North Carolina,” McDiarmid said. “We want to build on our resources and the stellar work already done by our faculty in these areas.”

In other business, the Board received an unqualified opinion on its most recent audit report, was given an update on fundraising activities and formed a committee to develop a strategic plan for the Board.

William C. Friday Distinguished Professor Lynne Vernon-Feagans (A.B. ’67) described the work in rural education that she and many of her colleagues are doing in the School of Education, including the Family Life Project and the initiatives of the National Research Center on Rural Education Support.

“I don’t think anyplace else in the country has made the kind of commitment to work with rural schools that we at Carolina have made,” she told the Board members.

Tom Lambeth emphasized the importance of this work by relating comments from some of North Carolina’s corporate leaders who gathered recently in Raleigh to consider North Carolina’s place in the global economy. “When asked what North Carolina could do to be more competitive in the international economy, they all said, ‘Make K-12 education the best in the country,’” Lambeth said. “One corporate leader made a strong plea for avoiding the perpetuation of geographic disparities in the state, saying, ‘You’ve got to be doing the same thing in rural schools that you’re trying to do in urban.’” So, Lambeth noted, in addition to improving the lives of children, Vernon-Feagans’ work also impacts economic development in North Carolina. “What you’re doing is really important in this state,” he concluded.

Outgoing members Marjorie Buckley (A.B.Ed. ’62) and Musette Morgan (A.B.Ed. ’76) were recognized for their service on the Board of Directors. “Both Musette and Marjorie have provided great leadership and support with the revitalization of the Board, at meetings and between meetings,” said Wendy Gratz Borman, assistant dean for external relations and executive director of the Board. “That kind of advocacy is hard to find! We will continue to cherish them as we enjoy a more informal relationship with them.”

Musette Morgan commented on the progress made by the Board of Directors during her term of service. “In the three years I’ve served on this Board, it has come a long way,” she said. “The Board has been revitalized and people are enthusiastic. … That’s very exciting!”

Dean McDiarmid underscored the importance of the Board, whose primary responsibilities are to serve as advisors to the dean regarding strategic planning of the School’s investments and to assist in strengthening the School’s financial base by helping to secure private contributions for support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships and priority initiatives.

“Your ideas are absolutely critical to our work,” said McDiarmid. The Board meets at least twice a year in Chapel Hill.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Board of Directors or being considered for membership is invited to contact Assistant Dean Wendy Gratz Borman at or (919) 843-4536.