Perspectives Online

2007 CALS donor gala celebrates legacy of giving

From left: Chancellor James L. Oblinger, Ginger Taylor, Joe Taylor, Gene Lewis, Jerry Hardesty, Rachel K. Thomas, John Anderson, Hal Atkinson, Bobby Worrell, Newton Beavers and Dean Johnny Wynne.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences donors and recipients gathered Oct. 28 at the Sheraton Imperial, Research Triangle Park, for the College’s annual Donor Recognition Gala. There they celebrated the generations represented by the attendees and the legacy of giving they have created. It was also occasion for the first reunion of alumni Thomas Jefferson Scholars and the establishment of the Academic Champions Club (ACC), an organization of alumni CALS scholarship recipients who will continue the legacy of scholarship support.

“Generation to Generation – Celebrating the Legacy” was the gala theme as the College honored the generosity of benefactors and presented its awards to the 2007 Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation, Outstanding Corporate Donor, Outstanding Volunteers and Outstanding Commodity Organization, as well as the Joe and Ginger Taylor Outstanding Philanthropist Award.

Sophomore agricultural and extension education (AEE) major Kayla Shivar, who holds a Prospective Teachers’ Scholarship and a Kurfees’ State FFA President Scholarship, hosted the event.

“Today you will hear from students giving testimony to the impact the College is having on their educational careers and their futures,” she told the donors in attendance. “In fact, I am an example of what your legacy will do for future generations. Thank you for all you do.”

CALS Ambassador and sophomore zoology major Ashley Porter delivered the invocation. Park Scholar and Jefferson Scholar Jacob Furr, a freshman in AEE, presided over the awards presentation, assisted by N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger and CALS Dean Johnny Wynne.

But first, Oblinger had other good news to bring. He invigorated the audience with a rousing “How ’bout that Wolfpack!” — a nod to N.C. State’s football victory over Virginia the previous evening — then made some exciting announcements.

“I am so proud to be your chancellor, particularly this morning,” he said. “Your CALS Achieve! campaign goal as a college is the largest on campus. The College had a record-setting year in 2006-2007, raising more than $56.4 million in gifts and contributions. This new record sets the pace for everyone else and positions you well on the way to achieving and exceeding your goal. I am pleased to report that, as of today, more than $260 million, or 95 percent, has already been committed toward your campaign goal.

“I salute you for that success. And I want to thank Dean Johnny Wynne, his administrative team and the faculty and staff of this great College. You are the envy of your peers across the nation.”

Wynne thanked the chancellor for his leadership and said, “I’d especially like to thank everyone in this room for your role in helping the College reach such great success. Through your gifts and the support of past generations, our College has been able to award thousands in scholarships – more than $900,000 just this year – to students.”

The Academic Champions Club will also be a means of celebrating and establishing legacies, Wynne said, as he announced the kick-off of the new CALS organization of alumni scholarship students. “This new club is an opportunity to bring generations of scholarship recipients back together for fun and fellowship and to demonstrate how the scholarship opportunities impacted their lives — and to inspire this successful group of CALS alumni to follow in their patrons’ footsteps and create their personal legacy of helping future generations of young people,” he said.

Wynne also reported that the College currently has nearly 650 endowments valued at $130 million supporting scholarships, professorships, fellowships, and research and extension programs.

Furr then led the awards presentations:
  • 2007 Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation, the Camp-Younts Foundation, represented by Hal Atkinson, foundation vice president, and Bobby Worrell, executive director;
  • 2007 Outstanding Corporate Donor, the Monsanto Co., represented by John Anderson, technology development manager;
  • 2007 Outstanding Volunteers, Jerry Hardesty, coordinator of education and development of the North Carolina Pork Council, and Gene Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of Lewis Advertising Inc., Rocky Mount;
  • 2007 Outstanding Commodity Organization, the Carolina Feed Industry Association, represented by Newton Beavers, vice president;
  • 2007 Joe and Ginger Taylor Outstanding Philanthropist Award, Rachel Kirby Thomas and the late Dr. Frank B. Thomas.
—Terri Leith