Perspectives Online

2009-10 Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Alumni honored

Tolson (left) and McNeill are the College’s 2009-10 Distinguished Alumni.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences announced Dr. Calvin McNeill and E. Norris Tolson as its 2009-2010 Distinguished Alumni at the College’s annual Alumni Awards Reception Oct. 9. Dr. Johnny Wynne, College dean, presided at the reception, which also honored CALS’ 12 Outstanding Alumni and two Outstanding Young Alumni for 2009.

McNeill and Tolson were recognized for their outstanding career achievements, which have brought honor to the College, and for their commitment to the land-grant principle of service to community, state and nation. McNeill, of East Orange, N.J., is senior director of brand safety for Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. Tolson, of Pinetops, is president and CEO of the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

A native of Raeford, McNeill, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, with honors, from N.C. State in 1976. He then attended the UNC School of Medicine as a N.C. Board of Governors Medical Scholar, graduating in 1980. Currently a member of the N.C. State Board of Visitors, McNeill is in the university’s L.L. Polk and W.C. Riddick Lifetime Giving societies, and he is a regular member of the Chancellor’s Circle for annual giving.

An Edgecombe County native, Norris Tolson graduated from N.C. State in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in crop science. Tolson has served North Carolina in the N.C. House of Representatives and as the state’s Secretary of Revenue, as well as secretary of the state’s departments of Transportation and Commerce. His latest efforts have concentrated on developing North Carolina’s biotechnology industry. He was one of five co-conveners leading the creation of North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels.

Tolson is a member of the N.C. State Board of Trustees and has been a dedicated fund-raiser for the CALS Alumni and Friends Society. A member of the L.L. Polk and Pullen Lifetime Giving societies, Tolson was honored with the 2009 Watauga Medal, the highest non-academic award bestowed by N.C. State University.

Honored as Outstanding Alumni were Justus M. (Jud) Ammons, Dr. Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Dr. Alan R. Ayers, Dr. Robert G. Best, Dr. Carl E. Cerniglia, Raeford Daughtry, JoAnna T. Foegeding, Dr. Patricia Young Hester, Kevin C. Martin, Dr. Kevin P. McNew, Brenda T. Penny and Mark A. Peters.

Named as CALS Outstanding Young Alumni were Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carunchia Whetstine and Joshua B. Williamson.