SOE News

Willis Whichard, former N.C. Supreme Court justice, to give graduation remarks

May 12 ceremony begins at 1 p.m. in Smith Center

Willis “Bill” Whichard, former N.C. Supreme Court justice, will be the guest speaker at the School of Education’s graduation ceremony on May 12.

Whichard, who is the only person in North Carolina history to have served in both houses of the General Assembly and on both of the state’s appellate courts, serves on the School of Education’s Board of Visitors.

“We are delighted that Judge Whichard will speak to us on this special day,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of the School of Education. “He knows North Carolina and has been engaged with issues involving education for many years.”

Whichard is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carolina, getting a bachelor’s degree in history in 1962, then his law degree from UNC’s School of Law in 1965. He began practicing law in Durham the next year.

He was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1969, serving until 1974 when he was elected to the state Senate. In the General Assembly, Whichard served on House and Senate committees that considered legislation relating to education. He served as a senator until being appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 1980, before being elected to the state Supreme Court in 1986.

After retiring from the Supreme Court, he served as dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University from 1999 to 2006. During his deanship, Whichard taught in every semester, teaching an ethics/professional responsibility course in the fall and a course in judicial process in the spring.

He continues to practice law at Tillman, Hinkle & Whicard, PLLC in Chapel Hill.

Whichard is a member of the boards of directors of the Public School Forum of North Carolina and the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching Development Foundation. In addition to serving on the School of Education’s Board of Visitors, he also serves on the Board of Advisors of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work.

Whichard has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Legislator Award from the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers; the Distinguished Alumnus Award from UNC-Chapel Hill; and, the Distinguished Service Medal from the University of North Carolina General Alumni Association.