BOONE—Dayton Cole has received the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Bar Association’s Education Law Section. The award was presented during the section’s annual meeting at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary.
The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1990 to recognize “outstanding leadership by an attorney in the field of education law.” It is presented as merited to “an attorney who has a record of professional, community and personal achievement in the representation or affiliation with educational institutions, including public and private schools and colleges or universities, involvement with parents, teachers, faculty or administrators in the field of education law.”
Cole is university attorney for Appalachian State University, a position he has held since 1988.
“Dayton is a practitioner of the highest caliber in the field of education law,” said university attorney Donna Gooden Payne of East Carolina University. “Dayton has always made new attorneys feel welcome in the fraternity of education lawyers. He is consistently warm and encouraging. I have admired, too, his inclusion of his family in outings connected with our national and state meetings, always sending a message that as much as he enjoyed his legal practice, family came first.”
Cole has served as president of the Watauga County Bar Association and as a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors.
A former chair of the Education Law Section, Cole also has been actively involved in the National Association of College and University Attorneys. In addition to committee service, he was treasurer of the national association from 2002-05 and as a member of the board of directors from 1998-2001 and 2002-05.
Cole received his undergraduate degree from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos in 1976 and graduated from the South Texas School of Law in Houston in 1981.
Prior to joining Appalachian, Cole was university attorney for Texas A&M-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University) and an assistant university attorney at Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University).
Cole is married to the former Catherine Matthews. They have five children: Erin, Adam, Justin, Sara and Amy.