Retired Director John Sanders to Receive Honorary Degree at Spring 2019 Commencement

John L. Sanders

Retired faculty member and then-Institute of Government Director John L. Sanders will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Spring Commencement on Sunday, May 12. Along with the other 2019 recipients, Sanders will be recognized for his “devotion to and support of our University” and “outstanding service to our state of North Carolina.” To earn this honor, Sanders was nominated by the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee, recommended by the Faculty Council, and approved by the Board of Trustees.

In his more than sixty years of public service, Sanders has devoted his career to the School of Government, the wider University and its parent system, as well as the state. As a faculty member and two-time director of the Institute of Government, he worked extensively with legislative commissions to reorganize state government, revise the state’s constitution, and expand access to higher education. Sanders more than doubled the size of the faculty at the Institute throughout his tenure there, furthering its ability to provide training, education, and advice to our state’s public officials.

Sanders’ footprint of service has also made a considerable impact beyond the halls of the Knapp-Sanders Building. Throughout his career, he played a vital role in shaping North Carolina’s legislation, higher education processes and systems, and how we preserve the state’s history. As vice president for planning for the UNC System, he drafted the first affirmative action and long-range planning documents for North Carolina’s public higher education institutions. As chair of the University’s building and grounds committee and president of the State Capitol Foundation, he helped secure funding for the preservation of many of the state’s most historic structures.

Sanders’ areas of expertise include state government organization, reorganization, and administration; state constitutional revision; legislative representation; and higher education organization and administration. He earned both his undergraduate degree and his juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.