Ronald Carter has won The Charlotte Post Foundation’s lifetime achievement award, traditionally given to people with a long history in the community, after only six years in the city.
Carter came to Charlotte in 2008 to be president of Johnson C. Smith University, a historically black university on Beatties Ford Road.
His quick success at the school put him on the fast-track for the award, said Gerald Johnson, publisher of The Charlotte Post.
“We felt like Dr. Carter has done a wonderful job turning the university into a truly citywide institution,” Johnson said.
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The Luminary Award from the Charlotte Post Foundation, which Carter will receive Oct. 4, will be the latest on his lengthening list of accomplishments.
Johnson said Carter has worked to revitalize the area around the university during his tenure as president of the university.
Carter has worked on initiatives to improve student housing, help foster care children in the community and get the Gold Rush bus service to stop at the university.
“I didn’t come to this city to be anointed, or to be a messiah,” he told the Observer in 2011. “I came to be president of Johnson C. Smith University, and so I’ve just been doing my work.”
Carter, a High Point native, studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta on an academic scholarship; he later earned a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in religion at Boston University.
By the late 1980s, Carter had uprooted his family and moved to South Africa to join the fight against apartheid. He worked as a senior administrator at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, improving health care in rural communities. He was one of the first black administrators at the primarily white university.
In Johannesburg, Carter found himself intervening in conflicts between black political factions at the dawn of the post-apartheid era.
“The problem was they had been fighting and killing each other for years, and people were saying, ‘You’ll never get them to the table,’ ” Carter said. “Compared to that, what’s happening in Charlotte is small stuff.”