President Jo Allen Receives Order of Long Leaf Pine Award

Dr. Jo Allen has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor for service in the State of North Carolina. The Office of the Governor grants the award to individuals with 30 or more years of service to North Carolina.

Allen will retire from Meredith College in June 2024 after 13 years of service as the College’s first alumna president. Her time as the eighth president of her alma mater was part of a 44-year career in higher education that included 31 years of service in North Carolina.

The award recognizes Allen for leading Meredith to a position of strength. During her presidency, Meredith has exceeded its enrollment and retention goals; raised more than $90 million in its largest fundraising campaign ever and over $167 million in total; earned the highest rating from the U.S. Department of Education for financial responsibility; and launched StrongPoints®, a signature coaching and personal advising program. 

In addition to her efforts toward addressing the quality of life for all, addressing North Carolina’s employment needs has also been a focus of the new academic programs launched during her time at Meredith. Under Allen’s leadership, Meredith has launched new academic programs in healthcare, criminal justice, hospitality management, and more to help meet North Carolina’s workforce needs. She has also expanded support of the ongoing strengths of Meredith’s academic programs in STEM and K-12 education.

During her tenure, 5,518 bachelor’s and master’s degrees have been conferred with another 442 students expected to complete degrees in May 2024. A large percentage of these graduates continue their lives and careers in North Carolina.

Allen’s impact on higher education nationally includes substantial scholarly research and leadership service on numerous educational association boards, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU), USA-South Athletic Conference, the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC), as well as accrediting bodies, SACSCOC and Middle States Commission. In January 2024, she began as Senior Advisor and President in Residence with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), where she is advising the council on the annual Presidents’ Institute. 

The nomination summarizes her impact on Meredith College and the state of North Carolina: “Jo Allen’s professional life has been dedicated to producing generations of leaders, including preparing women to lead in North Carolina. Since enrolling at Meredith as a first-year student in 1976, Allen has seen higher education as a significant force for economic and social change in North Carolina. Her commitment, especially to women in the state, produced programs and research that will have an enduring impact on North Carolina and its citizens.”

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330
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