Last evening MWB Attorney Louis Bissette was given The Medallion of Merit, the highest honor given by Wake Forest University presented annually for outstanding achievement and distinguished contribution to the University.
Read the official WFU Medallion of Merit Citation below.
MEDALLION OF MERIT CITATION
Presented to Winston Louis Bissette Jr. (’65, P ’94, P ‘97)
February 20, 2020
Today we honor an individual whose decades of service to Wake Forest, to his community, and
to the State of North Carolina clearly exemplifies the University’s motto, Pro Humanitate.
Repeatedly honored for his legal ability, civic engagement, and promotion of economic
development in the City of Asheville, North Carolina, his enthusiastic service and lifelong
devotion to his alma mater are likewise deserving of the award we now bestow. I am pleased
to recognize Winston Louis Bissette Jr. as a 2020 Medallion of Merit recipient.
Earning his B.A. from Wake Forest in 1965, Mr. Bissette added a J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill in
1968 followed by an MBA from the University of Virginia in 1970. After a few early years in
banking, he began practice with the Asheville Firm of McGuire Wood & Bissette in 1976, where
he continues today, concentrating his practice in the areas of land use, zoning, economic
development, and corporate law.
Mr. Bissette’s expertise in those areas and his affinity for public service helped facilitate the
enormous economic growth of Asheville and its now-vibrant downtown. A two-term Mayor of
Asheville from 1985 to 1989, he has also served as President and Chair of the Asheville Area
Chamber of Commerce and on the Asheville-Buncombe Economic Development Coalition, the
Asheville Community Betterment Foundation, the Board of the Mission St. Joseph’s Health
System, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Council of Advisors.
Accolades bestowed upon Mr. Bissette include the North Carolina Bar Association’s Centennial
Award, Citizen Lawyer Award, and Dr. I. Beverly Lake Public Service Award, as well as North
Carolina’s highest award for service, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
While Mr. Bissette’s longstanding passion for excellence in higher education is reflected in his
service as a trustee of Western Carolina University and his eight years as a member of the
Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System, which he chaired from 2015-
2018, his deep devotion to Wake Forest is evident in the multiple roles he has assumed as a
member of the Alumni Council, the College Board of Visitors, the Deacon Club, as President of
the National Alumni Association, Chair of the College Fund, as a five-term member of the Board
of Trustees, including as its Vice Chair, and since 2017 as Life Trustee. In 2015, Mr. Bissette’s
varied and lengthy service was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
In gratitude for his leadership that transformed the economy and landscape of Asheville, for his
exceptional service to North Carolina’s institutions of public higher education, and especially for
his tireless devotion to advancing the mission of Wake Forest, Wake Forest University confers
its highest honor, the Medallion of Merit, on Winston Louis Bissette Jr. on this Twentieth day of
February, Two Thousand Twenty.
Nathan O. Hatch
Wake Forest University