Honoring the Life of Alice Barkley

Alice Barkley

The North Carolina Humanities Council commemorates the life and achievements of Former Executive Director Alice Barkley. Alice Robioux Smith Barkley passed away on December 7, 2015, surrounded by her family. Alice was born on December 15, 1935, to Ruth Alice Tilley Smith and Albert Eldridge Smith in Greensboro, North Carolina. A proud North Carolinian, Alice called several cities home, including Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and most recently Davidson.

A passionate advocate for academics and higher education, Alice began her education at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. After taking a sabbatical to raise her children, Alice completed her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies in 1978 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Alice began her professional career as a volunteer for the North Carolina Humanities Council in 1982. Fiercely intelligent, she worked her way up to program associate and was named the Executive Director in 1989. Alice served the Council for 13 years in that role until her retirement in 2002. During her tenure as director of the Council Alice initiated many new efforts to include of small, community-based groups in grant-making programs. She also worked to foster new partnerships with the literacy programs like Motheread/Fatheread and she strengthened programs for K-12 educators through her dedication to the Council’s Teacher’s Institutes.

Alice Barkley believed that “many of the voices in the state have no way of being heard,” without help from the North Carolina Humanities Council. To learn more about Alice’s significant contribution to public humanities in North Carolina please read this article.

The North Carolina Humanities Council thanks and honors Alice for her many years of service and leadership given to support this organization.

A memorial service will be held at Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Charlotte on December 12, at 5:00 p.m. If you would like to express your condolences more information can be found here.