James A. Graham, retired longtime state agriculture commissioner and now Executive in Residence in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was one of three recipients of the Watauga Medal, the highest nonacademic honor bestowed by the university. Graham was honored in March at the 2002 N.C. State University Founders Day Dinner along with George W. Woody Jones, former member of the board of directors of Warren Distributing Co., and James H. Goodnight, chief executive officer of SAS Institute.
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox presented the medals during festivities marking the 115th anniversary of the universitys founding. The Watauga Medal is awarded to citizens who have demonstrated distinguished service to the university.
is a 1942 graduate of N.C. State with a degree in agricultural education.
He served for 36 years as commissioner of North
Carolinas Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
during which time he helped the state grow from a one-crop system to
one of the most agriculturally diversified states in the country and
helped agriculture become the states top industry. He forged the
departments strong partnerships with the universitys College
of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College
of Veterinary Medicine, as well as the North
Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.