From the April installation of Chancellor Marye Anne Fox to May commencement exercises, the spring was marked with many milestones for the university.
Two students from our College were singled out at those particular events: Jenny C.J. Chang, student body president and a rising senior in biochemistry and economics, was among featured speakers at the installation and was further distinguished when she was awarded a 1999 Truman Scholarship. Ray Starling, who graduated with a B.S. in agricultural and extension education, was student speaker at spring commencement. A former national vice president of FFA and an N.C. Teaching Fellow, Ray will begin law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall.
Of course, setting students such as Jenny and Ray on the path to achievement is part of the university's and the College's land-grant mission of teaching, research and extension. In our College, we seek to provide students with the tools to be knowledgeable, experienced and flexible in the face of change and to be able to compete in the global marketplace.
In a climate of rapid change, we must prepare our students to excel, not only in academic pursuits but in professional careers that follow. We do this by integrating new technology with proven teaching methods to enhance learning. With more than 40 majors offered them, our students can pursue a wide range of studies from agricultural economics to zoology.
Our total 1998-99 enrollment, including four-year and Agricultural Institute students, was 3,945. At the graduate level, there were 783 students seeking master's and Ph.D. degrees. This past year, 155 associate, 675 baccalaureate and 206 graduate degrees were awarded.
From these groups will emerge scientists, professors, agriculturists, physicians, environmental scientists, veterinarians, allied health specialists and laboratory and field technicians.
Part of our mission is to inspire them, and we do. In our College, we have at least 220 research faculty mentors for either honors teaching or honors research, but these very same faculty may also mentor non-honors students. And those being mentored represent the next generation of researchers, educators and entrepreneurs. These are the individuals who will work in universities and also those who will work in industry. They will develop the new drugs or the new breeds of livestock. They are the future leaders of the country and the world.
In this issue of Perspectives, you will learn about the specific accomplishments of a number of our students. You will read of their experiences in the university's Undergraduate Research Symposium and the College's own Undergraduate Teaching Symposium. These events provide students an opportunity to learn not only from textbooks and lectures but also from hands-on work with nationally and internationally recognized individuals. The two symposia are fine examples of programs that challenge students, benefit the faculty and improve the university.
More than a third of our students get research experience in the field. In this issue, you will follow several of them from Alaska to Florida, from Peru to Trinidad, from the North Carolina mountains to local research stations. You'll read about agriculture and life science students participating in these endeavors; students working at the molecular level and at the ecosystem/evolutionary/biology levels.
That's the spirit of the College: We cross all boundaries in our acquisition of knowledge and the way we share it. And that's what it's all about.
-- JAMES L. OBLINGER