Perspectives Online

Taylors honored by NAADA as outstanding philanthropists

College benefactor Ruby McSwain (left) joins Chancellor Jim Oblinger (right) as he presents the NAADA award to Ginger and Joe Taylor.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

Joseph O. and Virginia R. Taylor of Wrightsville Beach, benefactors of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and co-chairs of N.C. State University's $1 billion comprehensive Achieve! campaign, have received the 2006 Regional Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award, presented by the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association (NAADA). The Taylors were honored for their numerous and ongoing volunteer and philanthropic activities on behalf of the College and N.C. State.

Said N.C. State Chancellor James L. Oblinger, "Ginger and Joe are among this institution's key supporters and advocates, and their dedication to N.C. State is remarkable."

The award was announced in surprise ceremonies Feb. 16 during an Achieve! campaign meeting the Taylors were attending. Dr. Johnny Wynne, CALS dean who nominated the Taylors for the award, noted their gifts of environmentally sensitive land and cash and their advocacy of N.C. State University and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. "In total, over the past eight years, the Taylors and their associates have contributed more than $19.8 million to the College," he said. "In addition, nearly $41 million in cash and property donations can be attributed to their work, including their own gifts.

"It is because of the Taylors that we are establishing the Landscapes of Opportunity Foundation to encourage the protection of our state's natural resources. The Taylors' generosity has inspired landowners to contact our College in the hopes of preserving their lands for the benefit of all North Carolinians while generating income and tax incentives. Lands contributed by and because of the Taylors are used to further the research, teaching and extension programs that form the mission of our land-grant university."

Dr. Jon Ort, CALS associate dean and director of the Cooperative Extension Service, said, "Ginger and Joe are motivated and hard-working and are perfect examples of the type of donors and volunteers who will ensure our university's success into the future."

The Taylors' dedication to conservation of the state's natural heritage also is apparent in their current involvement with the CALS Department of Plant Biology in savannah restoration and research. They are underwriting the development of a permanent archive and roaming display created by the N.C. State University Libraries honoring the life and legacy of NCSU scientist B.W. Wells, discoverer of the original "Big Savannah" in southeastern North Carolina (story, page 8).

The NAADA board of directors selects winners of the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award, which is named for long-time CALS benefactor Ruby McSwain of Sanford in honor of her philanthropic vision.

- Terri Leith