Monday, July 6, 2015

Pat Shore Clark (Class of 1958): A Distinguished Career in Public Service

Patricia Jane Shore of East Bend, North Carolina, earned her B.S. in Business Education from Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNCG) in 1958. She had intended to be a school teacher of business and commercial subjects and had already accepted a teaching job in Elkin, NC, when another opportunity arose that would change her career path.

Pat Shore with Senator Sam Ervin
In order to have her records updated at the Alumnae Office at WCUNC, Shore wrote in a letter to the Alumnae President that there had been a “slight change” in plans and that she was now working in Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr.’s Office in Washington, D.C. Shore’s job as secretary to Sen. Ervin quickly grew from “doing the invitations and engagements, to handling education legislation, then coordinating the other staff” in the office. She performed her duties as secretary so well from 1958-1973, that when Sen. Ervin’s top administrative assistant, Jack Spain retired, Sen. Ervin asked her to take the job. She “was so stunned” at first that she initially rejected the offer, but was soon persuaded to take on the task and in early 1973, she took the top job on Sen. Ervin’s staff. Sen. Ervin described Shore as “an exceedingly intelligent person,” who has “vast knowledge in the procedures of the federal government, a charming personality and is well qualified.” She was believed to have been the first women appointed to such a position by a Senator from any Southern state.

With Ervin’s retirement in December 1974, Shore’s employment also ended. The knowledge she had gained from working in a senator’s office helped her land her next job as a lobbyist for General Foods Corp. This turned out to be only a short refrain from public service.

Pat Shore during her time as Director of the NC Washington Office
Created in 1975 by Governor Jim Holshouser, the North Carolina Washington Office was a way for North Carolina to maintain a presence in Washington, D.C. outside of the legislative process of the congressional delegation. The Office was not simply a lobbying firm for the state, although that was certainly part of the mission. Its purpose was to keep track of legislation that would affect state government directly; keep tabs on federal programs of interest to the state and assist in applying for millions in federal grants; and act as a travel director and escort for state officials in Washington. The Office operated out of a four-room suite just two blocks from Capitol Hill. When Jim Hunt was elected Governor in 1977, he chose Pat Shore as Director of the Office. Shore served as the Director there from 1977-1984. Gov. Hunt said of the NC Washington Office under her leadership that, “[the office] has been extremely useful to the state in a number of ways, particularly in keeping a close working relationship among the state congressional delegation and the rest of the state’s leadership…That makes the North Carolina voice heard more strongly on Capitol Hill.” While there, Shore also helped to establish the organization Women Executives in State Government.

In 1985, Shore moved back to North Carolina and joined R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc.’ governmental affairs office as group director for corporate public affairs. Though she returned to work in the private sector, she also continued to serve the public in many ways. She has served on UNCG’s Board of Trustees, received the North Carolina Council for Women’s Public Service Award in 1998, and served on the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Board of Trustees (where she continues to serve as Treasurer). In 2014, she was honored by the Foundation for her leadership -- and the award presented to her was also named for her.



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