Undergraduate research endowment created by Chilton, retired professor of botany
he Chilton Undergraduate Research Endowment has been established in the College of Agriculture of Life Sciences by Dr. William Scott Chilton, professor of botany in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Created in the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. to honor Chilton at his retirement from the Department of Botany, the endowment will encourage outstanding students to become actively involved in research early in their academic careers.
The endowment will provide support for research experiences for undergraduate students who are sponsored by a member of the faculty of the Department of Botany. N.C. State University students who major in any area of life sciences or other discipline relevant to research by botany faculty are eligible to receive the awards, called the Chilton Undergraduate Fellowships.
“Dr. Chilton has been a dedicated botany faculty member for more than 20 years,” said Dr. Johnny Wynne, interim dean of the College, who hosted the signing ceremonies and reception March 24. “He has always taken pride in mentoring and serving as a role model for a continuous stream of scientists-to-be, especially during their initial laboratory training. Dr. Chilton, you are a model citizen in the Botany Department, and we really appreciate your giving back in this way.”
Dr. Margaret Daub, head of the Department of Botany, said the endowment is “in keeping with Dr. Chilton’s generosity to the department over the years, not just financial but also the classes taught and mentoring provided to undergraduate students — efforts that had a major impact on students’ decisions about career paths and graduate school. This activity of giving undergraduates a research experience in the lab has allowed us to place our students in outstanding graduate programs across the country.”
Chilton said, “I have seen a number of undergraduates who joined my lab become enthusiastic about research, publish a paper with me and go on to pursue advanced degrees. Often students performed better in class work, as they saw the relevance of real science in the laboratory.”
Dr. Mary-Dell Chilton, Scott Chilton’s wife and adjunct professor of genetics in the College, remarked that faculty members who work with the undergraduate students benefit from this experience along with them. “There’s a special enthusiasm in working with them, like becoming a graduate student again,” she said.
Scott Chilton reminisced about the many (he estimates 25) undergraduate students in research that he and his wife have supported both academically and financially over the years. That support included housing some of them in their home, which became “the Chilton Hilton,” he said.
With the creation of the endowment, Chilton said, “We’re now just formalizing what we’ve done for years.”