In 2012 Alice was honored as a Town Treasure by the Chapel Hill Historical Society in recognition of her service to the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community. Then in 2014 she received the Village Pride Award from WCHL as a Hometown Hero for her contributions to Orange County.
In December 2014, the new science building at Culbreth Middle School was named the Alice Gordon Science Building in her honor.
As part of her recognition as a Town Treasure,
Alice's photograph was taken in front of the
Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill
News Article and Ribbon Cutting - December 2014
Posted below is the 2014 article from the Chapel Hill News
Orange County Commissioners Mia Burroughs (left) and Renee Price talk with Alice before the
ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new science building.
BY TAMMY GRUBB - TGRUBB@NEWSOBSERVER.COM
DECEMBER 16, 2014 06:48 PM
Retired commissioner Alice Gordon was almost speechless Thursday when she found out a new science wing at Culbreth Middle School would bear her name.
Science itself is important for 21st-century students, but it's also crucial to develop thinking skills, Gordon said. It took a whole community working together to build the wing, she said, but now that can be a model for improving all of Orange County's aging schools.
"It's going to take some time, but be patient and passionate, as I think you all are," Gordon said. "This is just a great beginning."
The district broke ground on the Alice Gordon Science Wing about a year ago, and teachers moved in just before Thanksgiving. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board voted Thursday before a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the wing to Gordon, one of the $4.9 million project's biggest supporters.
A plaque in her honor will be hung in January. Gordon retired this month after 24 years on the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
The 15,000-square-foot wing will allow the school to serve more than 100 additional students, officials have said. It features a large, light-filled common area, six classroom/labs equipped with state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, and a greenhouse and rain garden for outdoor learning.
Students and teachers will be able to write on the walls of the common area, which are covered with whiteboard paint up to nine feet high. The wing also features sustainable bamboo flooring and is certified at the Silver level by the U.S. Green Building Council. Teachers will be able to link to Apple TV from their computers, which gives them more options for sharing information with students.
District officials said extra money was used to build a new main entrance for the school, a reception area and administrative offices, in part to address longstanding security issues.
The students are excited to be in their new classrooms, said Peter Schwartz, who teaches sixth-grade science.
"The thing that really gets their attention in here is we have this really nice visual interest with surround sound speakers in here. If I’m ever doing something where I show them a video clip of something to reinforce what we’re doing, it’s really engaging," he said.
Fellow sixth-grade science teacher Rachel Hopler said she's learning new ways to use her classroom every day. "The greenhouse is going to be a hugely awesome thing when we get to a plant unit at the end of the year for science. I'm looking forward to maybe having kids grow things in there," she said. "I plan on doing a plant dissection lab, so it will be a great opportunity."
Culbreth Middle School and Alice Gordon Science Building - December 2014 and Later
REGIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
Jim Goodmon presented the award to Alice for
Exemplary Regional Leadership By An Elected Official
New Hope Preserve was one of the acquisitions funded
by the Lands Legacy Program, the first comprehensive
county land acquisition program in North Carolina.
The creation of this program was proposed by Alice in 1998.
Alice Gordon has been an Orange County Commissioner for 16 years. During that time, she has proactively addressed regional growth while enhancing the quality of life that defines the Triangle. An unsung champion and distinguished leader, Alice's work focuses on two areas: environmental protection and regional transportation. In her quiet, methodical manner she displayed passion, vision, and leadership in promoting and helping to implement the first comprehensive county land acquisition program in North Carolina: The Lands Legacy Program and the new environmental department essential to its operation. In six years the award-winning initiative has protected more than 1,700 acres of the county's most important natural and cultural resources, including farmland, parkland, and critical natural areas. Among the notable acquisitions are the New Hope Preserve on the Durham - Orange County boundary and the Little River Regional Park and Natural Area which spans the two counties. Alice has been at the forefront of regional transportation leadership for a decade, and has served as an officer or executive committee member on several regional boards including a multi-jurisdiction policy board of elected officials directing urban transportation planning for Durham, Orange, and northern Chatham counties. More recently she spearheaded the creation of the new TTA Hillsborough-Chapel Hill bus route, a huge step toward inter-city connectivity. Alice currently chairs the Triangle Transit Authority. Alice's accomplishments in the areas of environmental protection and regional transportation have made significant contributions in addressing the rapid growth dilemma that challenges our Triangle home, and make her truly worthy of receiving this award.
Town Treasures has been a program of the Chapel Hill Historical Society since 2008. This annual program recognizes individuals and couples for their contributions to the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro over the years.
In the recognition ceremony honoring those who have generously served the community, each individual receives a commendation from the Chapel Hill Mayor's office. The photographs and citations describing the contributions of the honorees are on view at the Seymour Center on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.
The photograph and citation for Alice are shown below. The photograph was taken by Catharine Carter in the spring of 2012.
Alice, shown here at the Southern Human Services Center,
was recognized as a Town Treasure by the
Chapel Hill Historical Society in 2012
Alice Marie Gordon was born on July 1, 1937 in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up there. She received a B.Sc. in Psychology from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. She and her husband, Alan Biermann, have been married over forty years, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren. Alice became a Chapel Hill resident in 1972 when she accepted a position at the University of North Carolina. She worked as a research psychologist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, specializing in the study of children’s language development. In the 1980s, Alice served as Chair of the Orange County Planning Board and President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools PTA Council. She was elected to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of Orange County in 1990. Alice has served as Board Chair, and Vice Chair, and is now in her sixth consecutive term as a Commissioner. In 2006, Leadership Triangle honored Alice with the Goodmon Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership by an Elected Official for her significant contributions in the areas of environmental protection and regional transportation. The award citation stated that she had "proactively addressed regional growth while enhancing the quality of life that defines the Triangle."
Alice’s contributions to Chapel Hill and Carrboro have focused on the areas of public education, environmental protection, and regional transportation. She has been a dedicated champion of excellent public schools and played an important role in crafting the county’s Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to plan ahead for school growth. Since new schools are built when needed, this ordinance helps prevent school overcrowding.
The second initiative saw the production of the first joint transportation plan for the western and eastern parts of the Triangle region, which had previously been planned separately. Alice chaired the policy board of the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO), the regional organization responsible for transportation planning in the western part of the Triangle. In 2007 and 2008, while serving as Chair, she led the collaborative effort between the DCHC MPO and the Capital Area MPO to create a joint 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan. As a result, Chapel Hill and Carrboro are part of an area with a unified plan to guide future transportation investments. In 2009, the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations honored these two MPOs with the National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Metropolitan Transportation Planning for their exemplary collaborative planning effort. As a current member of the DCHC MPO, Alice continues to promote better public transit and to foster efforts for improving air quality. She has also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Triangle Transit, the regional public transit agency, and spearheaded the creation of that agency’s bus route connecting Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.
Dedication of Two State of the Environment Reports. Orange County has published five State of the Environment reports prepared by the Commission for the Environment: 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009, and 2014. Two of those reports, published in 2004 and 2014, were dedicated to Commissioner Alice Gordon.
Dedication of the State of the Environment 2004 by the Commission for the Environment read in part: "Commissioner Alice Gordon proposed the creation of the Orange County Commission for the Environment …
In 1998, she proposed the creation of the Environment and Resource Conservation Department and the Comprehensive Resource Conservation Program now known as the Lands Legacy Program….." The dedication also noted her service as the County Commissioner representative to the Commission for the Environment, as well as the establishment of the department by the Board of County Commissioners and the Board's authorization of the Lands Legacy Program.
The dedication to Commissioner Alice Gordon in State of the Environment 2014 recognized her seminal role in the formation of the Commission for the Environment and the Environment and Resource Conservation Department (now Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation).
Alice receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from David Stencil,
Department Director, Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation.