Jim Hart is a native of Institute, North Carolina, a small farming crossroads in Lenoir County. He attended Governor’s School West in 1979, in the area of Natural Science. GS was an eye-opening experience for a small-town student, introducing Jim to people, ideas, and theories he had never known. As an adult, Jim works to make sure that this world-changing opportunity remains open to North Carolina high school students from all over the state and from all economic levels.
Jim has served Governor’s School in many capacities. From 1994 to 1996, Jim was Vice-President of the Alumni Association, and took over as President in 1996. Between then and 2003, Jim worked with other GSAA officers to bring the Alumni Association into the digital age, bringing a web site, list servers, and the very beginnings of social media to the GSAA. Jim stepped down as GSAA President in 2003, but was selected to the GS Foundation Board in the same year.
In 2007, at the request of GSAA President Rodney Allen, Jim returned to the GSAA to help bring a new level of communication to the group. Under his leadership, the GSAA instituted a new Constitution that allowed for on-line elections and business conducted via electronic means. Jim was re-elected as GSAA President in 2008, and held the position until 2012. Though he is no longer an officer, Jim still volunteers with the GSAA as database administrator and unofficial historian.
Jim was both GSAA President and a member of the GS Foundation Board in 2009, when the Legislature began cutting the GS budget, first requiring tuition, and later cutting it completely. The Foundation board took action and, over the following year, raised money to pay for one year of Governor’s School and successfully encouraged the Legislature to return GS funding to the budget. In this effort, Jim acted as data analyst, collecting data on GS and its alumni to show the positive economic impact of GS to our state and its citizens. At the end of this successful year, Jim led the Governor’s School Alumni Association in a celebration of 50 years of academic excellence.
When not busy as a volunteer for Governor’s School, Jim is a devoted husband to his wife Nancy and father of three great children. A 1985 graduate of NC State University, Jim works as a Knowledge Engineer at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. In addition to Governor’s School, Jim, a one-year survivor of pancreatic cancer, volunteers with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to raise awareness for this devastating disease.