Order of the Long Leaf Pine Logo

The Forsyth Tech Board of Trustees recently presented Andrea Drum Kepple with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine – one of the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina. Kepple is a 1964 alumna of the SOE Teacher Education and Higher Education department.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty, and who have made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.

“Although I have only served with Andrea Kepple for two years, I am personally grateful for the privilege of serving this College, our students, and our communities alongside her,” said Janet Spriggs, president of Forsyth Tech. “Mrs. Kepple, on behalf of the staff and faculty of Forsyth Tech, thank you for your service, and thank you for being both sweet and spicy – it makes every interaction and every meeting with you so much fun!”

Kepple was honored in front of the board of trustees, along with her son Nick Kepple, close friends and with a video greeting from her daughter, Dana, son-in-law Paul, and granddaughter Rose Pietromonacom, from Seattle, Wash.

“I’m thrilled with this award, it is truly an honor, said Mrs. Kepple. “You’ve been a wonderful board and I thank you so much. My late husband received two Order of the Long Leaf Pine awards, one from Gov. James Martin and one from Gov. James Holshouser.  Now I will have one to place on the wall beside his.”

A lifelong educator, Kepple spent her 30-year career teaching grade school, middle school, high school and college students. “I’ve always thought of teaching as a higher calling,” she says.

When her husband, stockbroker David Kepple, passed away in 1998, Mrs. Kepple created the C. David Kepple Memorial Faculty Award. The award isn’t designed to pay for the completion of a degree; it’s meant to give faculty the opportunity to expand their horizons. “This award is open to faculty members who wish to enhance their time in the classroom.”

“This is a bittersweet day for all of us who have had the privilege of serving on this board with Andrea,” said Ann Bennett Phillips, board chair. “We are happy to be here to celebrate Andrea, her service to the college, and also to her community, but at the same time, we are sorry that she will no longer be serving as trustee for the college she loves and has supported so faithfully for so long.”

Over the past 20 years, Kepple not only served on the board of trustees, but she also represented the trustees on the Foundation Board of Directors and on the Stokes County Advisory Board from 2008 until 2020.

This story was originally published by The Winston-Salem Chronicle.