Perspectives Online

Wynne brings College news to alumni with spring tour

When Dr. Johnny Wynne, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, traveled statewide on his 2005 Spring Alumni Tour, the CALS student ambassadors were right there with him, helping to host the events and bring news of the College to its alumni and friends. Here ambassador Connie Justice, a sophomore in agribusiness management, addresses the audience at Wake County's Cooperative Extension center, site of the tour kick-off.
Photo by Daniel Kim

The ides of March brought pleasant portents from Dr. Johnny Wynne, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as he kicked off the 2005 CALS Spring Alumni Tour. Speaking March 15 at Wake County's Cooperative Extension center, Wynne told alumni and friends about the many things that make the College great.

"We're the people's college of the people's university of the state of North Carolina," Wynne said, noting how the College's staff, facilities and support all ensured its continued service to the state's citizens through its land-grant missions of teaching, extension and research.

"We are training students to be leaders in the new economy, and we're taking the leadership role in bringing the entire university to the state through Extension centers in gateway counties," he said.

Wynne also brought news of new and renovated College classroom and laboratory buildings and field research facilities. He then outlined some of the College's efforts in value-added agriculture and life sciences programs and other research and classroom initiatives that can be of benefit to citizens through extension.

"Our College will continue to work to be relevant and responsive to the state's needs," he said. "We're a college of achievers at a university of achievers."

The event was the first of seven statewide tour stops, part of a series to give alumni a chance to meet the dean and get a "snapshot" of the College and its students, faculty and programs. Sponsored by the CALS Alumni and Friends Society and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in the College, the tour included visits to Plymouth, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Fletcher, Morganton and Clinton.

The evening began with a social where alumni were greeted by CALS student ambassadors and treated to heavy hors d'oeuvres. Dr. Jon Ort, College associate dean and director of Cooperative Extension, and Scott Troutman, executive director of the CALS Alumni and Friends Society, then welcomed the group and introduced the speakers and College administrators in attendance, including Dr. Steve Leath, associate dean and interim director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service; Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, associate dean for administration; and Dr. Ken Esbenshade, associate dean and director of Academic Programs.

Esbenshade presented the College's enrollment numbers (4,811 students this year, with 5,000 expected this fall) and told the group about the College's undergraduate major and minor degree programs. He described the new degree programs being developed, such as degrees in nutrition and bioprocessing sciences.

He also told about the CALS ambassadors program and the activities of that group of 26 student leaders in promoting the College to prospective students.

One of those ambassadors, Connie Justice, a sophomore from Raleigh in agribusiness management, then spoke. She related her experiences in choosing her major, her classes such as agricultural marketing with Bob Usry, and the guidance she's received from CALS Career Services.

Though so much has changed since many of the alumni present graduated, much is still the same, Justice told them: "I walk on the same bricks you walked on at N.C. State."

- Terri Leith