Perspectives Online

Encouraging entrepreneurial initiative is aim of new Canady scholarship endowment

After signing the endowment agreement, Erika and Randy Canady (seated) are joined by Bob Usry (left), Dr. Jon Brandt, and Dr. Arnie Oltmans of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Photos by Marc Hall

When Randy Canady was a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, his N.C. State University professors knew him as an enthusiastic self-starter. So it is fitting that when Canady and his wife, Erika, decided to establish a scholarship in the College, it would be one that encouraged and supported students exhibiting the same kind of initiative Canady did in pursuit of his 1992 bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management.

On May 26, the Canadys signed an agreement creating the Randall V. & Erika W. Canady Scholarship Endowment to provide support to undergraduate students who are enrolled in Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) in the College. Among the requirements of award recipients are that they be in pursuit of a career in agriculture or agribusiness; they are self-starters who are highly motivated; and they have a history of employment on a farm or in other sectors of the business community.

Those are traits attributed to Randy Canady by faculty members in attendance at the endowment signing in the office of CALS Dean Johnny Wynne, who hosted the event. Wynne described the Canadys as “entrepreneurs who developed and sold a company and now want to give back to the university and future students.”

CALS Dean Johnny Wynne (left) joins Randy and Erika Canady at the reception in celebration of the couple’s establishment of a new scholarship in the College.
Dr. Ken Esbenshade, CALS associate dean and director of Academic Programs, thanked the couple for their gift and told Randy Canady, “ When you were a student here, you were an innovator. And you have defined a unique set of characteristics that we know we’ll find students to fit. We thank you on behalf of all these students in perpetuity.”

Dr. Jon Brandt, ARE Department head, said Randy Canady was “an undergraduate who made an impression on me,” recalling Canady’s participation in the National Agribusiness Marketing Association (NAMA) and Agribusiness/NAMA Club. Brandt also noted that Canady “was on scholarships every semester, using them to his advantage and working internships in the summer, so that he graduated with no debt.”

CALS economist Dr. Arnie Oltmans remembered Canady as “one of those students who keeps getting better,” while Bob Usry, retired ARE faculty member, mentioned that Canady was an outstanding NAMA marketing team member and leader in the student chapter.

It was experience Canady put to good use. A 1999 recipient of ARE’s Young Achiever Award, Canady credits the knowledge and experience he gained at the university and the contacts made through the College – particularly through its Career Services program -- with setting him on a career path leading to ownership and management of an innovative entrepreneurial company in the crop-protection industry. In 2003, he and a colleague built a post-patent pesticide business. In 2008 they sold that company to Nufarm, the eighth-largest pesticide manufacturer in the world. Now the Canadys are sharing that success, as they contribute $50 thousand to establish the scholarship endowment.

Erika Canady, an agri-marketing communications manager and a Carolinas-Virginia professional NAMA chapter member, said that creating the scholarship was “an easy decision to make, my having seen first-hand the impact this school had on Randy and N.C. State’s support of NAMA. We’re just glad to be in a position to help perpetuate that.”

—Terri Leith