Former Gov. Bev Perdue, the North Carolina’s first woman chief executive, launched the J-school's Women in Media Leadership Series Jan. 17 in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the FedEx Global Education Center on the UNC campus.
After her opening remarks, Perdue discussed leadership on stage with UNC journalism Dean Susan King, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Karen Gil and top journalism students Averi Harper and Jessica Kennedy.
Harper, a senior, co-anchors the school’s “Carolina Week” television newscast. Kennedy, also a senior, is a political journalism student who covered the 2012 Democratic National Convention for The Charlotte Observer.
King created the Women in Media Leadership Series to bring influential women leaders and communicators to campus to share their experiences and mentor students.
“At the J-school, we’re training the next generation of media leaders, and more than 75 percent of our students are female,” King said. “We want to demonstrate to our students that, if they work hard, top leadership roles should be their expectation. We’re honored that the first woman to lead our state will share her perspective and experiences with our students and the campus community.”
Perdue, who also served as lieutenant governor (2001-09), was elected to two terms in the N.C. House of Representatives and five terms in the state Senate, where she became the first woman to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee. She was part of several landmark initiatives, including raising teacher salaries from 43rd to 21st in the nation, starting the Children’s Health Insurance Program and creating the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
Before public service, Perdue earned a doctorate in education administration and worked as a public school teacher and as a director of geriatric services in her hometown of New Bern.