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Raulston Professorships established, new arboretum director named * “Sodfather” honored at gala extravaganza

Raulston Professorships established,
new arboretum director named

North Carolina State University has already ensured that the memory of J.C. Raulston will live on at the arboretum he founded by naming the garden the JC Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University.

Now, C.D. Spangler, former president of the 16-campus University of North Carolina system, has taken a step that will further guarantee that Raulston, who died in an auto accident in 1996, will always be associated with the arboretum.

Spangler received a $334,000 gift from anonymous donors who wished to endow a professorship honoring Spangler and his wife, Meredith. Spangler, however, asked that the professorship be established at N.C. State and be called the J.C. Raulston Distinguished Professorship of Horticultural Science. Combined with state matching funds, the endowment totals $500,000.

In a separate development related to the arboretum, Dr. Robert Lyons, a horticulture professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, was named to succeed Raulston as director of the arboretum.

Lyons is the founding director of the Horticultural Gardens at Virginia Tech, a facility built and maintained by students. His appointment was effective Feb. 1.

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“Sodfather” honored
at gala extravaganza

A gala celebration honoring North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Graham and his wife, Helen, raised more than $75,000 for scholarships and other community programs.

The gala, in early October, celebrated the publication of Graham’s autobiography, The Sodfather. Sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and The Woman’s Club of Raleigh, the event drew more than 600 people.

Contributions are being split between the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. and The Woman’s Club. Foundation proceeds will benefit the James A. Graham Endowed Scholars Program at North Carolina State University. The program provides scholarships to the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Graham, a 1942 graduate, has served as Commissioner of Agriculture since 1964.

Dr. Jim Oblinger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Betty L. Tobert, Woman’s Club president, served as co-chairs for the event. Philip Morris USA sponsored the dinner.

In addition to the funding raised from gala attendance, $80,000 contributed by Walter Davis, a former UNC Board of Governors member, and the N.C. Farm Bureau Federation was used to print the book and send a copy to every public school, library, community college and public university in the state.

Copies of the book are available through the Agricultural Foundation at (919) 515-9259.

—Dave Caldwell

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