Lifetime Achievement - Alfred Whitesides, Jr.
In 1950s Asheville, Alfred Whitesides, Sr., and Magnolia Kilgore Whitesides taught their children that the only way to fight segregation was with an education. Their son Alfred, Jr., took that message to heart. As a teenager, Al joined the Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality. He graduated from Stephens-Lee High School and North Carolina Central University, where he met his wife Shirley, and served in the United States Navy. Al and Shirley Whitesides then began their long careers championing education for Asheville’s children as parents, grandparents, philanthropists, and civic leaders.
Al Whitesides has fought for decades to ensure educational opportunity for the children of Asheville through our city schools and for the young people of North Carolina through our state university system. Dr. Whitesides served on the Asheville City Board of Education and the Board of his alma mater NC Central University, and he chaired the UNC-Asheville Board of Trustees. He currently serves as Buncombe County Commissioner, and mentors boys at Asheville Middle School through his fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi. Dr. Whitesides also has had a long and successful career in banking, with First Union National Bank in Asheville, with Wachovia, and as Vice President of Mountain 1st Bank and Trust.
In 2016, UNC-Asheville honored Al Whitesides’ legacy with an honorary degree and the dedication of Whitesides Hall. Still, among all his accomplishments, Dr. Whitesides is most proud of his role as a husband, father, and grandfather. He and Mrs. Whitesides, who taught in the Asheville City Schools for 34 years, have two daughters, Kimberly Wilson and Sherry Poole, and three grandsons, Patrick, Erik, and Adrian. It is not surprising that Al Whitesides’ commitment to his community begins with commitment to his family; in this way, the importance of education is passed from generation to generation.