Congratulations to Mark West, a colleague who has devoted his 35-year career at UNC Charlotte to advancing children’s literacy, for having been awarded the Governor James E. Holshouser Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service.
Given by the UNC System Board of Governors, this award recognizes and rewards sustained, distinguished and superb achievement in university public service and outreach and contributions to improve the quality of life of the citizens of North Carolina.
West, who is a professor of children’s literature and former chair of UNC Charlotte’s Department of English, attributes his success to his father.
“I know I would not be a professor today if it were not for my father reading aloud,” he said. “We did not have a television, but my father read to us every single night all through my childhood, up through eighth grade. Because my father read aloud to me, it allowed me to develop a love of literature even though I struggled to read as a child.”
Throughout his career, West has been a strong advocate for children’s literacy and has brought his expertise into the community with his work with Charlotte-area schools, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and others. His commitment to civic engagement is underscored by a recent grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council for the project, “The Child Character in Southern Literature and Film,” a partnership with area schools and the Charlotte Public Library to raise awareness about diversity and the history of childhood in the South as reflected in children’s literature. For more information visit Inside UNC Charlotte.