Perspectives Online

Neil and Becky Rhodes establish weed science graduate education endowment


Becky and Neil Rhodes are both graduates of the CALS Department of Crop Science.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

In a Sept. 21 ceremony, the Becky Eure Rhodes and Neil Rhodes Weed Science Graduate Education Endowment was created in the Crop Science Department of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Rhodeses, both graduates of the department, personally funded the endowment to support graduate students working toward a master’s degree in weed science.

Dr. Johnny Wynne, College dean, who hosted the event, said the two were giving back because of their own rewarding experiences as CALS graduate students and their understanding of the need for increased financial support and assistance with graduate education. “This gift to support our graduate program will make a big difference in our future,” he said.

Becky Rhodes is head of regulatory affairs for Arysta LifeScience, North America, based in Cary. She received her 1978 bachelor’s degree in agronomy and her 1981 master’s degree in crop science (weed science), both from the College. Dr. Neil Rhodes is head of the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee. He obtained his Ph.D. from CALS in crop science (weed science with an entomology minor) in 1982. Dr. Harold Coble, professor emeritus of crop science, who directed Neil’s doctoral research, attended the endowment signing.

“Going to school here was a most rewarding experience,” said Neil Rhodes. “Harold’s mentorship, the professors and classes in weed science made it one of the best things I ever did. And because we realize the needs in graduate education, we chose to do this.”

Becky Rhodes spoke of the opportunities that her education at N.C. State made possible for her. “I come from a peanut farm in Gates County. The positions I’ve held in industry have taken me all over the world,” she said. “We hoped this would give that extra edge for students to be able to do things they wouldn’t otherwise.”

Thanking the couple, Dr. David Smith, head of the Department of Crop Science, said, “What you’re doing will make a difference for us, for the individuals who receive it, the faculty member who advises them and the programs in our department.”

Dr. Ken Esbenshade, CALS director of Academic Programs, added his thanks, as he said, “It’s so difficult for people to recognize needs of graduate education at N.C. State, and it’s important to attract excellent graduate students. The contribution you’re making signifies your understanding of the need to grow the graduate program in weed science. Your faith in the faculty and your contributions will be felt for a long time.”

—Terri Leith