Pender R. McElroy, a native of Madison County, NC, studied business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during his undergraduate years. He then studied Russian language at the U.S. Army Language School in Monterey, California, before enrolling at UNC School of Law in 1965, where he was a member of the North Carolina Law Review. After law school, he served as clerk for one year to Justice William H. Bobbitt of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Pender was the managing partner of James, McElroy & Diehl for 30 years. He served as a commercial arbitrator for the
American Arbitration Association for 40 years.

Pender has rendered outstanding service to the Mecklenburg County Bar & Mecklenburg Bar Foundation through his efforts as a president of the MCB and chairman of the NC Conference of Bar Presidents. He provided countless hours of service as chair of the Future Bar & Foundation Center Committee to establish the new Bar & Foundation Center, our home for the past four years. He continues to serve on the MBF Board of Directors, currently serving his second term.

His service to our state and our nation through his volunteer efforts have been substantial, particularly in the area of mental health. He was a member of the NC Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services for 13 years, and served as its chairman for seven years. He served on the board and is past board chair of Mental Health America. He was also a board member and past board chair of the Presbyterian Samaritan Counseling Center in Charlotte. He was a member of the Tryon Palace Commission. He is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Charlotte and a Paul Harris Fellow. He previously served on the boards and as board chair of Crisis Assistance Ministry, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Mental Health Association in North Carolina, Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas, Presbyterian Home at Charlotte (Sharon Towers), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Centers and Community Health Services.

In the words of one of his colleagues, “I can attest to the fact that Pender embodies the traits that this award seeks to recognize: integrity, high ethical standards, service to the profession, service to the community and professionalism. At the firm, Pender was always there to remind folks that we were part of a profession and had an obligation to give back to our community and that the practice of law was much more than just a business where the worth of the firm was judged solely by the bottom line.” A fellow Bar member also noted, “He walks comfortably with both kings and commoners and treats them both with the utmost respect. That really tells you all you need to know about him.”

It is for these reasons and many more that we are proud to award Pender McElroy the 2018-19 Ayscue Professionalism Award.