John Sanders was cited for his selfless and extraordinary service to the University, the state and the people of North Carolina.
“He could have been an architect, a political scientist or a historian,” his citation stated. But instead Sanders, who retired in 1992 as director of the Institute of Government, dedicated his life to public service, becoming “the best administrator the University has produced in my lifetime,” a colleague stated.
“He is held in loving regard by those who know him best,” the citation noted.
A past student body president here, the professor of public law and government earned his undergraduate degree in 1950 and his law degree in 1954. After two years at the institute as an instructor and assistant director, he left to be executive secretary of the Governor’s Commission on Education Beyond the High School, which produced a report creating the community college system.
He also served as vice president for planning for the UNC system from 1974 to 1979, a period of strong growth. He led efforts to restore state capitol and rewrite the state constitution. Sanders was the longtime chairman of the University’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, head of the publication committee for the University’s Bicentennial Observance, and a past recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award and Alumni’s Distinguished Service Medal.