[Note: At the beginning of the Scotland County Highland Games, Oct. 6, Scotland County Commissioner Carol McCall read a letter announcing that St. Andrews Piper and SAU graduate Bill Caudill ‘89 had been awarded North Carolina’s Governor’s honor of “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” Her letter is printed below. The photo is of Carol giving the award to Bill.]
It is my honor and privilege to present a very distinguished award today. Among the honors and awards that the Governor of North Carolina can bestow, none is more valued than “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” Since its creation in 1963, it has been presented to honor persons who have a proven record of service to the State of North Carolina.
In 1989, a group in Fayetteville organized the Scottish Heritage Symposium to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the Argyle colony from Scotland in 1739. Bill Caudill was on that committee and when the committee decided not to commit to the continuation of the symposium, 22-year-old Bill Caudill moved the idea to Laurinburg where it has been an annual event in Scotland County since then. The symposium is celebrated every year and brings visitors to our county from many states and several foreign nations.
In 2007 when Red Springs decided to cease holding the Flora McDonald Highland Games, Bill and other citizens initiated the Scotland County Highland Games and Bill chairs the annual event. No other event attracts more visitors to our area, and our games provide a strong economic impact to the county.
Bill graduated from St. Andrews University in 1989. Before he graduated, he was already an award-winning piper. While in high school he was a member of the Grandfather Mountain Pipe Band and became the college piper at St. Andrews. He started the St. Andrews Pipe Band. Upon his graduation in 1989, Bill established the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews and has served as its Director since 1989. He personally raised the funds to renovate the building in which the Heritage Center is located.
Bill came to Scotland County from Waxhaw, NC, and essentially never left. He has helped forge bonds between the college and the community by including community pipers and drummers in the St Andrews Band and by teaching local high school students to play the pipes.
Bill Caudill has made Laurinburg and Scotland County known nationally for our Scottish heritage and our reverence for that heritage. He has promoted North Carolina throughout Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries as a place that values its heritage, its culture, and its roots. Bill always exhibits a healthy respect for others and attempts to be inclusive of all cultures. His service has strengthened the State of North Carolina by illuminating important aspects of our past and expanding the foundation of our human understanding.
He is a leader, a coordinator, a perfectionist and most consistently a doer.
The honoree receives a certificate by which the Governor confers upon the recipient “the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this order among which is the special privilege to propose the following North Carolina Toast in select company anywhere in the free world.”
Here's to the land
0f the long leaf pine
The summer land
Where the sun doth shine
Where the weak grow strong
And the strong grow great.
Here's to "down home"
The Old North State"
Congratulations to my dear friend, Bill Caudill.
(By Carol McCall)