Order of the Long Leaf Pine

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The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, created in 1964, is an honor that can be granted in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Although the Longleaf Pine is often quoted as the official state tree of North Carolina,[1] the actual state law refers only to a generic pine.[2] As of 2009, it was believed the Order had been awarded to more than 15,000 people.[3]

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Contributions to their communities, extra effort in their careers, and many years of service to their organizations are some of the guidelines by which recipients are selected for this award. The honor is most often presented when a person retires.

A state employee can be awarded The Order if the employee has contributed more than 30 years of dedicated and enthusiastic service to the state of North Carolina.

The Order is similar to honors bestowed in other states, such as the Kentucky colonel and South Carolina's Order of the Palmetto. The Order began as a symbolic honor for visiting dignitaries, but later it became an honor for notable North Carolinians. Although sometimes called the state's highest civilian honor in an order of precedence, that distinction legally belongs to the North Carolina Award.[4] After the North Carolina Award and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the next award in order of precedence is the Old North State Award and then the Cardinal Award, all of which are bestowed by the Governor of North Carolina.

Notable recipients


The certificate reads in part:

"Reposing special confidence in the integrity, learning and zeal of [honoree], I [the Governor of North Carolina] do by these presents confer The Order of the Long Leaf Pine with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary, privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this exalted order, among which is the special privilege to propose the following North Carolina toast in select company anywhere in the free world:"

Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State![14]

This is the first verse of the official toast of North Carolina, from a poem by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr.

The Old North State Award

Following the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in North Carolina's order of precedence is the Old North State Award. This award may be granted for any number of reasons. The certificate for this award reads as follows:

"For dedication and service beyond expectation and excellence to the Great State of North Carolina, on behalf of the citizens of this state, I bestow upon:

(Name of Recipient)

The Old North State Award

'Working together, we can make North Carolina the place of unlimited opportunity---- a place where anyone who studies hard, works hard and lives a life with high values can fulfill and even exceed their potential.'

(Signed) Pat McCrory Governor of North Carolina



  1. Case, Steven. "Tree, Pine". State Symbols. State Library of North Carolina. Retrieved May 16, 2012. ,
  2. "North Carolina General Statutes 145-3". North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved Feb 7, 2014. 
  3. http://www.longleafpinesociety.org
  4. News & Observer: And his little dog, too...
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Beckwith, Ryan Teague (26 June 2007). "What is the Order of the Long Leaf Pine?". Raleigh News & Observer. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Beckwith, Ryan Teague (6 May 2009). "Easley inducted 4,000 into Order". Raleigh News & Observer. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Poff, Jan-Michael, ed. (2000). Addresses and Public Papers of James Baxter Hunt Jr. Governor of North Carolina Vol. III 1993–1997. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. ISBN 0-86526-289-6. 
  8. "Ellington awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine". UNC: ITS website. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Origin & History". The Long Leaf Pine Society. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  10. Hackley to Serve as Interim Chancellor of FSU
  11. Albers, Sarah M. (2015-06-01). "Former Chapel Hill Mayor Jonathan Howes dies at 78". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  12. Asheville Citizen-Times, Jon Ostendorf, Jan 5, 2007.
  13. "Warren awarded Long Leaf Pine". The Daily Reflector. April 30, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  14. Sample certificate Archived December 16, 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links