Perspectives On Line: The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

NC State University

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Clean Hands, Safer Produce
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From the Dean
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences





From The Dean

James L. Oblinger (left), who has served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since 1997, became the provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs at N.C. State University on May 19. More news of this and of his successor in the College will follow in the Summer 2003 Perspectives.  (Photo by Communication Services)

Celebrating Achievement

ornate letter This past September, the university launched a new
marketing campaign, “NC State: Achieve!” to communicate the many and unique ways the university makes an impact.

Among the key messages the campaign communicates are how the university develops leaders for the future by educating for 21st-century life and work; applies research discoveries to improve the well-being, safety, security and quality of life of citizens; fosters partnerships with businesses, communities, industry and government; and celebrates our traditions, spirit of collaboration and diverse strengths.

That’s the kind of activity from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that we regularly report to you in Perspectives. In this issue, we especially emphasize achievement, as we bring you the latest news of our College’s teaching, extension and research faculty, as well as of our students and alumni.

Caitlin Boon, our College Profile, defines the word “achiever.” In 2002 she earned two bachelor’s degrees from our College, in poultry science and food science, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. She served as state 4-H vice president, won numerous 4-H presentation awards and continued a family tradition of being inducted into Honor Club. She was a Caldwell Fellow, part of the N.C. State Scholars program, attained membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Gamma Sigma Delta and was student speaker at the 2002 commencement exercises. This spring she continues a longtime habit of service as a volunteer at the International Potato Center in Peru. Working there, she’s following in the footsteps of Dr. Ralph Cummings, Dr. J. Lawrence Apple and Dr. Richard Sawyer, former College faculty members who were instrumental in the success of the center.

Academic advisers play a principal part in setting students on the path of achievement. In this issue we feature three retired College faculty members who have stepped up to help advise growing numbers of students who aspire to medical and other health-related fields, as well as many of the undesignated freshmen in our College and growing numbers of post-baccalaureate career changers. Dr. Frank Armstrong, Dr. Bob Horton and Dr. John Roberts conduct the Emeritus Advisers Program, offered through the undergraduate office in the Department of Zoology. They’re the team that steers advisees (who come to them from many major programs and colleges) to the required courses and activities needed for acceptance at medical, dental, optometry and other professional schools.

A team of College researchers is well-positioned for the achievement of mapping the tobacco genome, thanks to funds provided by Philip Morris USA. The tobacco company will provide $17.6 million over 4½ years to fund the project being led by Dr. Charles Opperman, professor of plant pathology and genetics. Tobacco is an important model system, and the data this project will yield will be important to scientists working with many other types of plants. It may also lead to the development of alternative products from and uses for tobacco.

We likewise share news of the development of a transgenic chicken by Dr. James Petitte and Dr. Paul Mozdziak of our Poultry Science Department. This research achievement of establishing a line of chickens carrying a specific marker gene will impact studies of embryo development that could lead to improvement in human and animal health.

Achievement for safety and well-being of citizens is business as usual for the College. In this issue we feature a complex training program, developed by food science and horticultural science faculty to ensure the safety of fresh produce, that has been implemented in 12 southeastern states. And we go outdoors with Dr. Karen DeBord of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences as she collaborates with colleagues from the N.C. State College of Design as well as from other UNC system campuses to achieve the creation of better outdoor play and learning environments for children.

Reported in these pages are the achievements of youth in 4-H competition and of our alumni, such as new university Board of Trustees member Cassius Williams and Watauga Medalists “Dub” Dickson and Tab Williams.

Join us as we celebrate achievement.


James L. Oblinger
Dean, College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences
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