At UNCG, governor awards Long Leaf Pine honor to Safran, Kaplan

Randall Kaplan and Susan Morris Safran were surprised with the presentation of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine awards during the UNC Greensboro Celebration of Philanthropy event on Oct. 12.

Governor Roy Cooper appeared at the UNCG event to personally present these high honors. 

North Carolina’s governors have reserved this award for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Safran and Kaplan, who are currently co-chairs of UNCG’s Light the Way campaign, have done that in an outstanding way.

“It’s so exciting that you all have started this campaign, Light the Way,” said Governor Cooper, calling UNCG a “shining star” in the constellation of this state’s excellent universities and noting the tremendous impact UNCG makes.

He invited Kaplan and Safran to the stage, and spoke of the impact each has made. “These are two extraordinary individuals who have meant so much to their communities and our state,” he said. “And I am here tonight to present them membership in the state’s highest honorary society – The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.”

Susan Morris Safran, UNCG Class of ’77, has created a legacy of outstanding public service through her years of dedication to the nursing profession, front-line health care workers, and institutions of higher education in our state. 

She has been an engaged alumni leader and generous supporter of UNCG and its School of Nursing for decades. She served on the UNCG Board of Trustees for 10 years and as its chair from 2014 to 2016. As board chair, she championed the construction of Union Square Campus, a state-of-the-art setting to educate nurses through a remarkable partnership between Cone Health, Guilford Technical Community College, North Carolina A&T State University, and UNCG. She was also instrumental in promoting and planning UNCG’s Nursing and Instructional Building. As their contribution to the campaign, Susan and her husband, attorney Perry Safran, made a $1 million gift to UNCG to establish the Safran Family Board Endowed Scholarship. 

Her career as a nurse included stints at Wake Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, and Rex Hospital. In 1988, she founded a small business to provide American Heart Association (AHA) CPR training to medical and dental offices. By the time she sold CPR Consultants Inc, it was training nearly 45,000 people per year to perform this life-saving emergency procedure. 

A longtime resident of Raleigh, she has been active with the NC American Heart Association, serving as Chair of the AHA NC Advocacy Committee. She has also been active with the NC Office of Emergency Management Services and served as AHA representative on the NC Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council. She received the NC Advocate of the Year Award from the American Heart Association in 2006.

Randall Kaplan, an exceptional leader and philanthropist, has also made a lasting impact on our community, state, and nation.  

Kaplan and Kathy Manning, an attorney and currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, have made their home in Greensboro since his return after an early legal career to run the family business, Kay Chemical. He believed he could make a bigger difference in his hometown, and he has done exactly that.

Kaplan has served on numerous community boards, including the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the Greensboro Partnership, and on the boards of Action Greensboro and United Way of Greater Greensboro, as well as the City of Greensboro Human Relations Commission. He and Manning have chaired the annual National Conference for Community & Justice Citation Dinner and also co-chaired the 40th Anniversary Sit-in Commemorations at Greensboro’s International Civil Rights Center. 

Currently CEO of Capsule Group, LLC, and CEO and Chairman of Listingbook, LLC, he also serves as Managing Partner of Elm Street Center, LLC.

He is a former member of the UNCG Board of Trustees, where he served as Chair from 2009 to 2012. In 2007, he and Manning made a significant gift to create the Kaplan Commons, which transformed the lawn in front of Elliott University Center. The Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness was named in honor of Randall’s late father. Earlier this year, Randall endowed a Distinguished Professorship in Innovation.

Kaplan has served as Chair of the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro, and, in 2020, received the Foundation’s Leadership Legacy Award. And his commitment to Jewish causes is far-reaching. He served as Chair of the International Board of Governors and Chair of the Board of Trustees for Hillel International. In 2012, Kaplan and Manning received the Renaissance Award from the Jewish Federation of North America. Additionally, he has served on the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Board and the NC State & Local Fiscal Modernization Commission Board and has also served as Director of Progress North Carolina. He is also President of the Toleo Foundation, which furthers causes of education, health, social services, and community improvement.