Melton Awarded Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Established in 1963, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is conferred by the Governor for those making a significant impact and for strengthening the State of North Carolina. 

It is considered the most prestigious award and highest civilian honor for individuals who have 30 or more years of service to the State of North Carolina.

On Friday, August 5, retired MTCC Dean of Arts & Sciences, Judy Melton, was honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Judy Melton

The award was presented by MTCC President, Dr. Brian S. Merritt, as a surprise during the 2022 Practical Nursing Education Pinning Ceremony. Prior to retirement, Melton had been directly involved in teaching, supervising or serving as an administrator over the Nursing Department at MTCC since 2002. Her career and service to North Carolina spanned over 39 years as a nurse, nursing educator, and community college administrator.

Melton’s work ethic, character, leadership skills, community involvement, volunteerism are best demonstrated by the following accomplishment’s.

  • Melton retired on June 30, 2022 after serving as Dean of Arts & Sciences, which included all Health Sciences programs, at MTCC since 2016;
  • Melton was instrumental in the development of the application to begin the standalone Associate Degree Nursing program which begins at MTCC during the Fall 2022 semester.

Melton previously served as:

  • Director of Practical Nursing Education, MTCC, 2016-2020;
  • Assistant Director of Practical Nursing Education, MTCC, 2007-2016;
  • Lead Instructor of Practical Nursing Education, MTCC, 2004-2007;
  • Practical Nursing Education instructor, MTCC, 2002-2004;
  • Registered Nurse, Rutherford Hospital, 1991-1998;
  • Registered Nurse, Shelby Medical Associates, 1985-1989;
  • Registered Nurse, Cleveland Memorial Hospital,1983-1985;

Melton received MTCC’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.

She also taught Health Occupations at Chase High School in Forest City from 1997-2002 where she was the Teacher of the Year in 2002.

Melton’s nominator’s for this award described her best qualities as having a “servant’s heart” and that her “sense of commitment and caring that have positively impacted our students—our state community college system—and our healthcare system during her time as a nurse and as an educator.”

As an Order of the Long Leaf Pine honoree, Judy is now included on a roster maintained by the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society, joining notable North Carolina recipients such as Maya Angelou, Dale Earnhardt, Billy Graham, Andy Griffith, Michael Jordan, Richard Petty, Dean Smith, and others demonstrating proven records of service to the state of North Carolina.

About The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society
Since 1963, North Carolina’s governors have reserved their highest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Persons named to The Order become North Carolina “Ambassadors” with their names and award dates recorded on a Roster maintained by The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society. For more information, please go to

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