Frayda Bluestein Honored with Prestigious Edward Kidder Graham Award

Frayda Bluestein stands in front of the School of Government in a blue jacket and black top.

In her 30-year-career, UNC School of Government faculty member Frayda Bluestein has become one of North Carolina’s most trusted and valued experts on governmental structure and powers, conflicts of interest, and transparency laws. Her work has stretched to every corner of the state and equipped local government officials with the tools they need to maintain trust and credibility with the communities they serve.

In recognition of this extraordinary service to North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill has announced it will honor Bluestein with the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award. Bluestein, the David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, will receive the award at a University Day ceremony on October 12, 2022.

Established in 2010, the award recognizes outstanding service by a member of the Voting Faculty and calls to remembrance Graham’s ambition “to make the campus co-extensive with the boundaries of the state.”

Bluestein’s work is the embodiment of Graham’s vision. During her career, she was a fixture in flagship courses that educated thousands of public officials, including Municipal and County Administration, Essentials of Municipal Government, the Municipal Attorneys Winter Conference and Fundamentals Workshop, and Ethics for Elected Officials. Her expertise is regularly sought by state and national media outlets in matters related to transparency, public records, open meeting laws, and First Amendment issues affecting public bodies. Bluestein has written extensively on local government authority and her published scholarship is considered a source of record by officials across the state.

Bluestein also made profound contributions to the School itself. She served more than a decade as the School’s associate dean for faculty development and was a mentor and friend to many. Upon announcement of her retirement, a colleague described her as “the heart and soul of the School.”

She is the second School of Government faculty member to receive the award. Bluestein joins David Owens, the inaugural recipient of the award and a renowned expert in land use law, in this honor.

In 2021, she reflected on what brought her to the School of Government—and what made her stay.

“What drew me to this work is that it’s interesting, it affects people in so many ways, and it’s so practical,” Bluestein said. “Academia isn’t always practical. At the School, we get to work with people who are in government, but we also help people understand how government works and help people in government make it work well for its community members. I believe in that.”

Bluestein’s phased retirement has brought an outpouring of thanks and recognition from the officials and community members she has worked alongside during her career. Last year she was honored at the North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorneys conference. She was given lifetime membership in the Association, and an award was established in her name.

The School also launched the Frayda S. Bluestein Scholarship Fund for Municipal and County Administration. This endowed scholarship provides funding to public officials wishing to attend the course and gives first preference to those whose participation is, in part, dependent upon financial support.