Perspectives Online

'Happy Trails' wished to Cornwell at retirement celebration, endowment signing

Helping Agricultural Institute Director Cornwell (second from left) celebrate his retirement were his successor, Dr. Barbara Kirby, along with Dr. Ken Esbenshade and Dr. Jon Ort.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

More than 100 friends, colleagues and well-wishers gathered Dec. 14, 2006, at the York Auditorium, JC Raulston Arboretum, to celebrate John Cornwell's 30 years in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Dora and John Cornwell enjoy the event at the JC Raulston Arboretum.
Photo by Becky Kirkland
Cornwell officially retired Jan 1, 2007, as CALS associate director of Academic Programs and director of the College's Agricultural Institute. Under his leadership, the Agricultural Institute was ranked the No.1 associate degree program in the nation by Community College Week in 2006.

During the retirement celebration Cornwell and his wife, Dora, were also honored with the announcement of a new scholarship endowment in their names. The John and Dora Cornwell Scholarship Endowment, created in the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., will provide scholarship awards to promising students majoring in any associate degree program in the Agricultural Institute or baccalaureate degree program in the CALS Department of Animal Science.

The Agricultural Institute presented this granite bench as a farewell gift to Cornwell.
Photo by Becky Kirkland
Dr. Ken Esbenshade, director of CALS Academic Programs, welcomed guests to the arboretum event as he called attention to photos on display chronicling Cornwell's childhood, family life and professional career.

Cornwell "likes to do things in decades," said Esbenshade, noting Cornwell's service of 10 years as an Animal Science faculty member, 10 years as undergraduate coordinator in Animal Science and then 10 years as director of the Agricultural Institute.

"I've never seen him lose his cool, never seen him with his hair out of place and never heard him say a discouraging word to students," Esbenshade said. "His mark and impact here will be felt for years."

A native of South Carolina, Cornwell received his 1970 B.S. degree in animal science from Clemson University and his '72 master's and '76 Ph.D. animal science degrees from Louisiana State University before coming to N.C. State as an assistant professor in animal science and director of horse programs. He became associate professor in 1984 and professor in 1992. He was instrumental in the development of the equine teaching programs and the Equine Educational Unit. He initiated and coached the N.C. State Collegiate Horse Judging Team from 1978 to 1988.

Cornwell was nominated to the NCSU Academy of Outstanding Teachers in 1981 and has received the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award, the CALS Board of Governors Teaching Award of Excellence and the CALS Outstanding Adviser Award.

The December retirement celebration was themed "Happy Trails" in honor of Cornwell's leadership of equine programs.

Among the tributes given to Cornwell was a granite bench, presented by the Ag Institute and fittingly inscribed with Ralph Waldo Emerson's words, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

- Terri Leith

To contribute to the Cornwell Endowment, contact Chris Wessel at 919.515.7678