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Three College alumni receive
awards at Alumni Weekend

Three graduates of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences were honored in April at Alumni Reunion Weekend on campus. The College presented its 1999 Distinguished Alumnus Awards for Life Sciences and Agriculture to Philip D. Buchanan and Charles L. “Buddy” Gaither, and the N.C. State Alumni Association presented its Meritorious Service Award to H. Clay Ferebee III.

Philip BuchananBuchanan (classes of 1968 and 1970), who lives in Chapel Hill, received the award for life sciences, and Gaither (class of 1966), of Arden, was given the award for agriculture.

Buchanan earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from N.C. State. He is the founder of GeneCare Medical Genetics Center, one of the nation’s leading private medical genetic counseling centers. From 1976 to 1983, he was director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Cytogenetics Laboratory, where he initiated a statewide genetic screening program for pregnant women.

The high point of his career so far has been the success of GeneCare, started in 1983.

“The growth of our international research, clinical and teaching center has been very gratifying because of the opportunity to work with wonderful professionals to provide excellent patient care in a private setting. We have many unique research, clinical and teaching developments,” Buchanan says. “Our center has been the first in the U.S. and internationally to provide many new clinical innovations.”

Buchanan is a founding fellow of the College of Medical Genetics.

He has maintained strong ties to the university, providing students with undergraduate research projects at GeneCare and hiring N.C. State graduates.

“I have had numerous teaching, research and support opportunities from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other divisions at N.C. State that have significantly benefited my career and enabled me to provide a variety of new educational and research developments,” Buchanan says.

Gaither, president of Milkco Inc. of Asheville, has fostered a high level of collaboration in research and education between his company and N.C. State. Gaither believes that the concept of N.C. State being “the People’s University” is what makes it great.

“The combination of teaching, research and extension has a direct impact on our daily lives through solving environmental, food, engineering and other problems,” Gaither says.

Buddy GaitherBefore joining Milkco, Gaither worked at Kraft Foods Inc., West Agro Inc. and PRM Chemical. He has served as president of the Georgia Dairy Products Association and on the board of directors of the Carolina-Virginia Dairy Products Association, and he served for 10 years on the N.C. Dairy Foundation Board of Directors. As president of that board from 1995 to 1997, he led efforts to increase support for the college.

Gaither says the most gratifying part of his career has been his maintenance of a strong connection to both the manufacturing and farming sectors.

“It has involved exposure to advancing technology, while maintaining a down-to-earth connection to our important agricultural backgrounds,” he says.

Clay FerebeeThe third award-winning College alumnus is Ferebee, who graduated in 1942. He was honored by the N.C. State Alumni Association for service to his alma mater.

A partner in Clay Ferebee Farms of Camden, one of the largest cabbage producers in the Southeast, Ferebee has served on the advisory board for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. He also has been a member of the Park Scholarship Selection Committee and president of the N.C. State Foundation Board of Directors. Ferebee and his wife, Nancy, established and support the Ferebee Scholarships for deserving students from Camden County.

For his contributions to the university, Ferebee has been inducted into the W.C. Riddick Society and is a member of the Chancellor’s Circle.

—Alexandra Mordecai