On April 17, 2012, the Craven Community College Foundation honored David L. Ward, Jr. as one of the recipients of its 2012 Community Fabric Awards. David received the Award for Individual Leadership. The Community Fabric Awards showcase excellence in leadership as demonstrated by outstanding initiative, impact of service, and inspiration of others. They recognize, reward, and encourage activities that have a significant impact in meeting the needs of our local communities. David has served as the College's lead attorney since it was founded in 1965.
David grew up in New Bern, the son of a former state senator who also grew up in New Bern. After earning his degree in accounting from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served two years in the United States Navy and spent a tour of duty on a destroyer. He then returned to college and ultimately earned a law degree in 1962 from the Duke University School of Law.
David was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1962 and returned to New Bern where both his father and grandfather practiced law. In an interview with the New Bern Sun Journal, David said, "New Bern was hurting in 1962 and my dad, my parents, wanted me to come back. A lot of people here helped me. I wanted to see the community grow and be better and, if somebody didn't step up, it wouldn't have happened." His leadership at Ward and Smith, P.A. has taken the Firm from one office in New Bern in 1962 to five offices throughout North Carolina today.
David's individual leadership has been felt throughout New Bern and Craven County. He was instrumental in making Tryon Palace an historical site in New Bern and has been a member of the Tryon Palace Commission and the Tryon Palace Council of Friends. He also was a founding member of the Craven County Committee of 100, has served several terms as a member of the vestry at Christ Episcopal Church, and has served as Board Chair for the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce.
David's leadership is not limited to New Bern, but extends across the state. He has served as a trustee and a member of the Board of Visitors at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been a member of the North Carolina Banking Commission, the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Chamber, and the Medlin Commission on the Future of the Courts. He also has served as Chair of the Research Triangle Foundation Board of Directors.
Over the course of his legal career, David has been recognized as one of North Carolina's most accomplished attorneys. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Hall of Fame and has been listed for many years among the Best Lawyers in America. He also is included in "Legal Elite," a list of the best attorneys in North Carolina by Business North Carolina magazine, and is a member of the "Legal Elite Hall of Fame" in the field of Corporate Counsel.
David is admitted to practice law in all North Carolina courts as well as the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
In addition to David, the other two recipients of the 2012 Community Fabric Awards were CarolinaEast Health System (G. Raymond Leggett III, President and CEO), Award for Business Leadership; and Donald Carpenetti, Chemistry Instructor at Craven Community College, Award for Leadership in Education.