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Memorial Lectures

Over the years, the Ruth Pauley Lecture Series has been the recipient of several endowment gifts. These endowments are reflected in the annual lectures given in name of the honorees or givers.


Sam Ragan Lecture

The Sam Ragan Lecture is named in honor of Samuel Talmadge Ragan (1915-1996). He and his wife, Marjorie, were honorary chairs of the Ruth Pauley Lecture Series from its inception. He was editor and owner of the The Pilot from 1968 until his death. Prior to coming here, he was executive and managing editor of the Raleigh News and Observer.


Sam Ragan was one of North Carolina’s leading men of letters for more than 50 years. He was NC’s Poet Laureate, first secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources, and first chairman of the North Carolina Arts Council. In addition to many other services, he helped make the arts and other programs accessible to a wide and varied audience in the state. After Ragan’s death, the owners and publishers of The Pilot established an endowment for the Pauley Series to honor his memory.


Carl Munro Lecture

The Carl B. Munro Lecture is named in honor of Carl Bruce Munro (1936-2009). Before retiring to Foxfire Village in 1992, Munro was involved with Total Quality Management, a program that creates a Strategic Plan to turn negative attitudes to positive actions. Carl used this training in his work with the Moore County Schools, Moore County Board of Education, Friend to Friend, Foxfire Village and the Pauley Lecture Series. Munro received the Moore County Board of Education’s Crystal Apple award (1999) that recognized his contributions to the Moore County Schools through the Educational Advisory Committee.


Carl’s recommendation to the Ruth Pauley Lecture Series was to develop endowment funds, the interest from which could support the cost of yearly lectures. A fund in his memory has been created by donations.


The Agnes O’Connell Buckley Memorial Lecture

The Buckley Lecture is named in honor of Agnes O’Connell Buckley, an active Ruth Pauley Board member from 2009 until her passing on June 20, 2013. Agnes’s involvement and active interest in the communities in which she lived were wide and deep. In 1992, Moore County became a beneficiary of her vast experience when she and her late husband Bill moved to Whispering Pines.


Agnes donated her time and expertise to organizations committed to improving the quality of life and environment for those in and around the community including Keep Moore County Beautiful, the Master Gardeners Club, the Senior’s Health Insurance Information Program and the Garden Club of Whispering Pines. She also served on the Whispering Pines Planning and Zoning Board.


Lee and Ellen Airs Lecture

Since arriving from Australia in Feb 1998, Lee (1920-2013) from Joliet, IL, and Ellen from Mt. Airy, NC, volunteered and supported Habitat for Humanity, Autism Awareness, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Linden Lodge, Moore County Literacy Council, Family Promise, Northern Moore Family Resource Center, and Sandhills Community College.


Ellen served on the Pauley Board as Secretary (2007-2010) and assisted in arranging speakers, including the actress Patty Duke, to discuss various brain illness issues. The Airs felt that this important subject needs addressing to “bust the stigma” of mental illness with education so that those affected can receive proper treatment which will lead to wholesome and healthy lives. Ellen says, “Supporting the Pauley Board with this lecture series on mental health is our way of giving back to these wonderful Sandhills - both the area and the community college!”

Sue Williamson Lecture
Sue served as a professor of Chemistry at Sandhills Community College for 25 years. She was much beloved by her students and model of professionalism to her colleagues. The often marveled at her ability to unravel the mysteries of chemistry for students of all levels of ability. After her retirement, she became a member of the Ruth Pauley Lecture Series Board of Directors. She passed away in 2021 at the age of 87.

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