Perspectives Online

Fred Wagoner is national 4-H Hall of Fame inductee

Fred Wagoner (center) receives his 4-H Hall of Fame plaque from Donald T. Floyd Jr., president of the National 4-H Council, and Dr. Cathann A. Kress, director of Youth Development, National 4-H Headquarters.
Photo courtesy 4H Youth Developement

Fred Wagoner, retired 4-H camping specialist from N.C. State University, was among 20 honorees inducted in October into the National 4‑H Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center. The Hall of Fame laureates were honored for the extraordinary impact they have made on 4-H and the lives of 4-H members.

Wagoner has deep ties to 4-H, dating back to his youth, and to N.C. State University. A 4-H member in Guilford County, Wagoner was inducted into 4-H Honor Club in 1940, the same year he graduated from Gibsonville High School.

He attended N.C. State from 1940 to 1943, studying animal industry, and spent the following year studying engineering at Fordham University. He served in the U.S. Army at home and in Europe during World War II.

Wagoner returned to N.C. State in 1946 to complete his bachelor’s degree. He was involved with a number of student organizations, including service as president of N.C. State’s student government. In 1949, he completed graduate work in agronomy and went on to serve as a 4-H agent in Edgecombe County, a starting role for most extension agents at that time.

Later that same year, Wagoner returned to N.C. State as 4-H leader for the Southeastern District and moved to the Eastern District in 1962. In 1963, he became 4-H specialist in charge of 4-H camps, now known as “4-H education centers.” In that role, he worked with the 4-H camping specialist at N.C. A&T State University to open 4-H’s five camps to all children.

Wagoner later served as president of the Southeastern Section of the American Camping Association.

Since retiring, Wagoner and his wife, Dot, have contributed much to North Carolina’s 4-H program. Standing by a long-time commitment to the 4-H camping program, they established the Fred and Dot Wagoner 4-H Camp Renovations and Repairs Endowment. They also endowed the 4-H Forestry Cumulative Record and the 4-H forestry trip to National 4-H Congress.

Recently, more than 200 alumni of Millstone 4-H Education Center returned for Fred and Dot Wagoner Day to honor Wagoner, who once served as camp director at Millstone. Many camp alumni recalled how Wagoner had helped shape their lives.

The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities. More than 199,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 24,000 adult and youth volunteers.

—Natalie Hampton