Ferrel Guillory founded the Program on Public Life — formerly the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life — in 1997 to build bridges between the academic resources at UNC and the governmental, journalism and civic leaders of North Carolina and the South. He is an adjunct faculty member in the UNC Department of Public Policy.
Guillory is a senior fellow at MDC Inc., a workforce and economic development nonprofit research firm in Chapel Hill. Through MDC, he has co-authored The State of the South, a series of biennial reports to the region and its leadership. He also co-authored the book, “The Carolinas: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: An Exploration of Social and Economic Trends, 1924-1999” (Duke Press, 1999), commissioned by the Duke Endowment.
Guillory serves as a trustee of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the North Carolina Education First Task Force. Guillory served on the steering committee of the Rural Prosperity Task Force, appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt and chaired by Erskine Bowles. For the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, he wrote the paper, “Education Governors for the 21st Century.’’ In 2000, Guillory taught at Davidson College as the James K. Batten Professor of Public Policy.
Before academia, Guillory spent more than 20 years as a reporter, editorial page editor and columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. He has had freelance articles published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, The New Republic, America, Commonweal, Southern Cultures and The Atlanta Constitution. Guillory has contributed chapters to books on David Duke and the politics of race, on economic transition in tobacco regions and on North Carolina politics and government.
Guillory was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2012 he received the Edward Kidder Graham Award that recognizes public service by a member of the UNC faculty.