Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst is the latest winner of the William C. Friday Award.
The award, established in 2000 and named after the former president of the University of North Carolina system, is awarded each year by N.C. State University seniors who are Park Scholars, the universitys prestigious merit scholarship program.
The award recognizes excellence in leadership, scholarship, service and character.
Past winners include renowned historian John Hope Franklin; Gen Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current chairman of Red Hat; and Friday himself.
Red Hat is headquartered in Raleigh. The companys Linux software is free, but the company makes money by charging for maintenance and support, and for services such as training and consulting. More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Red Hat software.
Whitehurst was named president and CEO of Red Hat in December 2007.
The company ranked fourth on Forbes list of the worlds most innovative companies in 2012. Last fiscal year the company generated $1.33 billion in revenue, up 17 percent from a year earlier.