Evening of Stars Gala
Lighting the Way
Each year, celebrated alumni from across the globe gather in Raleigh for the Evening of Stars Gala – a time-honored event where the Alumni Association celebrates the winners of the College Distinguished Alumni Awards, the Wolfpack Club’s Ronnie Shavlik Award and the Alumni Association Awards.
It is an elegant celebration of a tradition that dates back to the early 1940s when the Alumni Association began recognizing noteworthy graduates. Through the years, the colleges and the Wolfpack Club joined in the recognition as the abundance of extraordinary alumni grew and the need to acknowledge those who excelled in specific fields increased. Individuals honored in previous years have enriched NC State’s history and increased the value of an NC State degree.
Past recipients have left indelible marks on the history of our university, state, nation and world. They include: William Friday, Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., Roy Park, John Caldwell, Katharine Stinson, Jim and Ann Goodnight, Ed Woolard, Gen. Hugh Shelton, Smedes York, Gov. Bob Scott, Burley Mitchell, Phil Freelon, Jeff Williams, Jerry Punch, Bill Cowher, Jim Valvano, Kay Yow and many more.
2020 Award Recipients
The 16th Annual NC State Alumni Association Evening of Stars celebrated women and men who were selected as recipients of the College Distinguished Alumni Awards, the Wolfpack Club’s Ronnie Shavlik Award and the Alumni Association Awards. This tradition, which began in 2004, celebrates recipients whose accomplishments continue to raise the bar of NC State excellence through their professional and personal achievements. They embody the NC State mantra of “Think and Do.” Watch video of the virtual event.
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
James W. Gentry ’72 B.S. Agricultural Education, College of Education
Jimmy Gentry is president of the North Carolina Grange, an organization dedicated to supporting agriculture in North Carolina through charitable, scientific and educational activities. Additionally, Gentry serves on the board of directors for the N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Foundation and the N.C. Agricultural Consortium. A champion for agriculture both locally and nationally, Gentry is also former chair of the National Grange Board of Directors. A former vocational agricultural teacher and school administrator, Gentry continues to be an advocate for cooperative extension and youth agricultural programs in service to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Gentry also holds two master’s degrees from N.C. A&T State University.
Angela J. Medlin ’91 B.S. Environmental Design, College of Design
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the College of Design, where she created her own independent study program focusing on fashion and textiles, Angela Medlin went on to become a successful designer for high-profile activewear brands including Adidas, The North Face, Levi’s, Eddie Bauer and Nike. Then, in 2017, Medlin launched the Functional Apparel and Accessories Studio at Pensole Design Academy in Portland, Ore. At FAAS, Medlin trains students in apparel creation for global companies and mentors them in innovative design for a competitive industry. Since the program’s inception, 50 percent of the participants have landed design positions in the product design industry. Additionally, Medlin has poured into the next generation of creatives at NC State – serving on the Leaders Council for the College of Design since 2011. This fall, Medlin will lead a new committee on the board focusing on supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
C. Neill McLeod ’72 M.S. Adult Education, ’74 Ed.D., College of Education
Dr. Neill McLeod served North Carolina’s Community College System for more than 30 years, working for five different campuses and most recently as senior vice president of student services at Wake Technical Community College. A passionate leader, McLeod became North Carolina’s first female community college president, first female director of student activities, first female dean of continuing education, first female vice president of instruction and student development and first female system associate executive vice president. McLeod has also been a devoted servant of the community, volunteering with Meredith College, the Women’s Forum of North Carolina, the Five Points Citizens Advisory Council, the Pines of Carolina Girl Scouts council, the YWCA of Wake County, Wake County Work First and Wake County Smart Start. With 44 years of consecutive giving, McLeod is a loyal donor to NC State.
Dr. Linda H. Butler ’86 B.S. Nuclear Engineering, College of Engineering
Dr. Linda Butler is vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at UNC Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, where she is responsible for overseeing quality and performance improvement, infection prevention, risk management and research. Additionally, Butler oversees staff affairs for a medical system boasting more than 7,400 medical staff members and multiple facilities, ensuring staff have the resources they need to provide quality care to patients. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Butler has worked with system leaders at REX, local leaders and other North Carolina hospital leaders to protect medical staff, provide care and respond to patient surges. With a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from NC State, a master’s degree in medical physics from the University of Florida and an M.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Butler is uniquely positioned to engineer safety procedures and medical solutions that save lives. After completing her residency in pediatrics, Butler was managing partner for Capitol Pediatric Adolescent Center in Raleigh for 13 years while serving on various hospital committees. During this time, Butler became chair of pediatrics at Duke Raleigh Hospital and REX and president of the medical staff at REX. Butler gives back to NC State as a member of the NC State Engineering Foundation board of directors.
Carl S. Stutts, Jr. ’68 B.S. Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Carl Stutts is chairman of Cyanco Corporation, a leading global supplier of sodium cyanide that supports the precious metals mining sector. With a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from NC State and an MBA from the University of Houston, Stutt’s combined degrees allowed him to quickly climb management ranks and excel in his career. After graduating from NC State, he joined Union Carbide in Texas City, Texas as a production engineer. He then went on to hold various management positions at Tenneco Ventures – including vice president. Opting for a more entrepreneurial focus, Stutt left Tenneco to become a general partner at Columbine Venture Funds, a technology-based capital fund, and then went on to become president of Petrochemicals and of Cyanco Corporation. Today, Stutts remains at Cyanco as chairman. Additionally, Stutts remained close to NC State. In addition to serving on the NC State Engineering Foundation board, Stutts provides yearly scholarship assistance to engineering students.
John C. Brantley III ’64 B.S. Civil Engineering, College of Engineering
John Brantley served as airport director for the Raleigh-Durham International Airport for 30 years, spearheading its expansion from a small base used by the federal government during World War II to its current status as a key gateway. Brantley first joined the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority in 1977 as an engineering assistant – and became airport director within five years. As airport director, he oversaw airline relations, management, capital development and operations – including the planning and construction of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. With Brantley’s efforts, he not only elevated the status of RDU airport – he also contributed to the growth of Research Triangle Park and the surrounding Triangle area. Additionally, Brantley has left his mark on NC State, working to expand facilities and fund two scholarships.
Gregory Washington ’89 B.S. Mechanical Engineering, ’91 M.S. Mechanical Engineering, ’94 Ph.D., College of Engineering
Dr. Gregory Washington is president of George Mason University, one of Virginia’s largest institutions of higher education, and is the university’s first African-American president. Previously, Washington served as dean of Henry Samueli School of Engineering at University of California, Irvine – becoming the first African-American to lead an engineering program in the University of California system. While there, Washington helped launch new graduate and undergraduate programs, recruit a diverse faculty and increase both undergraduate and graduate enrollment. Washington has also served on various national engineering science and education boards, helping engineering colleges increase diversity, inclusion and representation nationwide. Additionally, Washington specializes in dynamic systems research – and is the author of more than 150 technical publications in journals, edited volumes and conference proceedings. Washington earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate from the College of Engineering at NC State – and now serves on the College of Engineering Foundation board.
The Honorable Robert B. Rader ’78 B.A. Political Science, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Judge Robert Rader served on the Wake County bench for 26 years, including 13 years as a chief District Court judge for the 10th Judicial District – making him the longest-serving District Court judge in Wake County history. Committed to the welfare and public safety of Wake County residents, Rader played a key role in constructing the Wake County Justice Center and in developing a response to COVID-19. Additionally, Rader has worked with drug offenders in recovery court, at-risk youth in juvenile court, impaired drivers in DWI court and individuals in family court, ensuring people get the support they need in critical times of their lives. An influential community leader dedicated to historic preservation, Rader served as chair of the Raleigh Historic Districts Commission and the Raleigh Historic Properties Commission. He also helped found Yates Mill Associates, Inc., a private nonprofit corporation that established Historic Yates Mill County Park and preserved Wake County’s last-surviving grist mill, and served for 18 years as its president. Rader has also served on the College of Humanities and Social Sciences dean’s advisory board since 2014 – and has given generously to the dean’s fund endowment for the college.
Herbert K. Bales ’84 B.S. Business Management, Poole College of Management
Herbert Bales is chief financial officer for Atlantic Investment Management. After completing high school, Bales joined the U.S. Army and later went on to obtain two degrees from NC State’s College of Management – accounting and business management. Coming from humble means himself, Bales recognizes the need some students have for additional financial support. Along with his wife, Elizabeth, he generously established the Herb and Elizabeth Bales Endowment, supporting Poole College of Management students demonstrating merit and need. With a heart for service, Bales consistently provides support to various Poole College initiatives.
Dr. Marcus L. Martin Sr. ’70 B.S. Pulp & Paper Science/Technology, ’71 B.A. Chemical Engineering, College of Natural Resources
Dr. Marcus Martin has spent more than 50 years advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. As an undergraduate student at NC State, Martin walked onto the football team as the university’s first African-American varsity player. After getting his bachelor’s degrees in pulp and paper technology and chemical engineering, Martin went on to earn a medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School and then complete the emergency medicine residency program at the University of Cincinnati – becoming the first African-American graduate of both.
Dr. Meredith J. Williams ’94 Ph.D. Physics, College of Sciences
Dr. Meredith Williams is director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, responsible for getting toxic chemicals out of consumer products to protect citizens and build healthier communities. After joining the department as a deputy director in 2013, Williams was appointed as director by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019. Prior to her work with the department, Williams worked at 3M, Applied Materials and the San Francisco Estuary Institute – a nonprofit working to find cost-effective solutions for various environmental issues. Holding a bachelor’s degree from the College of Sciences, Williams has worked throughout her career to make the world a safer place by focusing her efforts on environmental management and sustainability. A passionate supporter of NC State, Williams champions diversity and gives back to her alma mater with her time, talent and treasure. Namely, Williams helped establish a scholarship at NC State for underrepresented students.
Prashant Prabhu ’77 M.S. Textile Chemistry, ’79 Ph.D. Fiber and Polymer Science, Wilson College of Textiles
After earning his master’s degree and doctorate from Wilson College of Textiles, Dr. Prashant Prabhu spent 35 years with Michelin Group, advancing the research and development of fiber and polymer science. He started his career with Michelin America Research and Development Corporation in Greenville, S.C., where he became president at age 45. Taking his career overseas, Prabhu moved to France to direct Michelin’s earthmover and industrial tires global business unit. He later moved to Singapore to serve as head of Michelin Asia-Pacific and then to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to serve as head of Michelin Africa-India-Middle East. Prabhu went on to direct Michelin’s “global incubator program” in Greenville before finally retiring from Michelin. Since his retirement, Prabhu has taught international business and entrepreneurship classes at Clemson University and mentored business leaders at multiple startups in Greenville. Additionally, Prabhu continues to invest in his alma mater – speaking in classes, volunteering for Wilson College, engaging in alumni events and virtual town halls and giving generously to the university. In addition to his consistent annual giving, Prabhu is in the process of documenting a planned gift to support an endowed centennial scholarship.
Phillip D. Nelson ’93 Ph.D. Veterinary Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Phillip Nelson is dean of the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine. With widespread recognition for his leadership in veterinary medicine and in higher education, Nelson became president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ board of directors in 2017. Additionally, Nelson has researched feline leukemia and immunodeficiency extensively, using these as biological models for HIV in humans. Nelson offers his expertise and talents back to NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, helping train graduate students and doctor of veterinary medicine students. In keeping with his lifelong dedication to diversity and inclusion within the veterinary field, Nelson has been a champion for NC State’s ongoing work in supporting these efforts across campus.
Wolfpack Club Award
Kay Yow, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Sandra Kay Yow is the former head coach of women’s basketball at NC State and past president and founding member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Hired in 1974 as North Carolina’s first full-time women’s coach, Yow spent 38 years as a head coach – during which she led her teams to 20 to 27 NCAA Tournaments, became one of six Division I women’s basketball head coaches to achieve 700 career victories and earned the national “Coach of the Year” title eight times. Additionally, Yow was 1988 Gold Medal Olympic Coach and a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Yow was an advocate for NC State Athletics and the Wolfpack Club – and for millions of women. Yow fought breast cancer off and on for 22 years, always seeking to encourage and inspire others in the midst of her own battle. Kay Yow Cancer Fund was founded in 2007 to fight against women’s cancers and raise money for scientific research. The Ronnie Shavlik award was awarded posthumously to Yow in 2020 in honor of her leadership, service and commitment to NC State and its athletic programs.
Alumni Association Awards
Khalia M. Braswell ’13 B.S. Computer Science, Outstanding Young Alumna
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in computer science from NC State’s College of Engineering, Khalia Braswell completed a master’s degree in information technology and later became a user experience engineer for Apple, researching and designing enterprise applications. Wanting to have a more social impact, Braswell left Apple to found INTech Camp for Girls, a nonprofit organization in North Carolina with the mission of inspiring young women – especially young black women – to innovate in the technology industry. Through after-school programs and summer camps, INTech participants learn to build software solutions, explore technology careers and network with other women of color in the technology space. Because of her dedication to social change in the technology sector, Braswell received BlackcomputeHER’s “Lift as You Climb” award in 2019 and has been featured in Forbes Magazine and Essence Magazine.
Paige Allen Harris, Meritorious Service
Paige Allen Harris, who spent years working as a community college instructor, is former president of the NC State Alumni Association board of directors. Today, she works in the insurance industry as principal of Flatlands Jessup Insurance Group – with multiple industry awards to her credit. She was named Beaufort County “Citizen of the Year” in 2016. After graduating from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Harris poured back into her alma mater and contributed to the university’s success and growth through her efforts with the Alumni Association. For more than a decade, Harris welcomed new students to NC State and built and maintained relationships with university alumni near and far.
2019 Award Recipients
Dr. Cathy Carlson ’86 Ph.D. Veterinary Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
As a veterinarian and researcher, Dr. Cathy Carlson is a world leader in the study of Osteochondritis Dissecans, an extremely painful orthopedic joint disease that targets athletic children between ages 10-20, resulting in significant limitations to their activity. Carlson used her unique training in comparative medicine to study similarities between humans and animals with this disease to make important breakthroughs. Her work has been recognized and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to her research, Carlson has a passion for training young veterinary researchers, and has been recognized for her mentorship abilities by the University of Minnesota and the NIH. For the past 15 years, she has trained veterinary researchers and exceptional young scientists in musculoskeletal biology, helping them develop into independent and productive investigators. Carlson recently became the chair of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, providing career guidance and support to more than 60 faculty and staff. Additionally, Carlson has served on NIH grant review panels for more than 20 years, and is a regular member of the Skeletal Biology Structure and Regeneration Study Section of the National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Carlson has a degree in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College, a DVM from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. from NC State, where she also completed her three-year postdoctoral fellowship.
Steffanie B. Easter ’85 B.S. Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Steffanie B. Easter has dedicated her career to serving her country as a civilian for the U.S. Armed Forces. After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, Easter attended the Catholic University of America, earning a master’s degree in engineering. Easter currently serves as the Senior Chief of Naval Operations Civilian, where she ensures alignment of more than 400 flag officers and senior executives, providing indispensable advice and support to the Chief of Naval Operations and the Secretary of the Navy. Before this role, Easter worked as the deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)) and eventually became the acting ASA(ALT). In this position, she was responsible for leading and supervising Army acquisition, procurement, research and development, and logistics endeavors within the Army acquisition enterprise. Additionally, she has served as the executive director for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, where she was the senior civilian overseeing the acquisition and management of the program chartered to deliver the next generation of tactical aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and eight countries. Easter has received several awards recognizing her outstanding work, including the Army Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 2017. Easter makes time to mentor NC State chemical and biomolecular engineering students, and serves as a guest lecturer for the chemical and biomolecular senior design class.
Jacob Hooks ’78 B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
Jacob Hooks graduated from NC State with a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering, and went on to have an extensive career in the automotive industry. He recently retired after 35 years at Eaton Corporation, a multinational power management company that supplies components and systems for industries including automotive and aerospace. Most recently, Hooks was president of Eaton Automotive North America. Hooks held executive positions in the automotive and industrial groups of Eaton, and is a former member of the Nittan Valve Co. Ltd. board of directors. Hooks serves on the board of directors of the NC State Engineering Foundation and has served on the Park Scholars Selection Committee. In 2013, he and his wife, Jennifer, established the Jacob T. Hooks Sr. Scholarship in Materials Science and Engineering in honor of his father, who also studied at NC State. Additionally, Hooks established a planned gift to create a distinguished professorship in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, as well as serving as a cornerstone donor for Fitts-Woolard Hall. Hooks is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, a member of the R.S. Pullen Society and a member of the W.C. Riddick Society. He is also a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Program, and completed the Global Leadership 2020 program at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business.
Liora Manné ’77 B.S. Product Design, College of Design
Born in Israel, educated in the United States and now a true New Yorker, lifestyle products designer Liora Manné has been breaking the rules throughout her entire career. After graduating from Georgia State University with a degree in journalism and drama, Manné earned a master’s degree in both textile design and textile engineering from NC State before moving to New York, where she first designed textiles for the fashion industry. She soon found herself eager for a less traditional creative outlet and gravitated toward home fashions — rugs in particular. She founded her namesake company in 1990 and her bold, contemporary colors sparked a revolution in an industry dominated by tradition. Today, Manné’s lifestyle collection is featured around the world, including her cutting-edge Lamontage products, which can be found in institutions like Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles, and Brown University in Providence, R.I. Manné travels the world in search of inspiration for developing groundbreaking products and technologies. She has participated in design work for floor coverings that have created job opportunities for women in India, and she employs and trains more than 150 women at her Lamontage factory in China. She is also involved with several nonprofit organizations, including Partnership for the Homeless and The Alpha Workshops, which gives creative people living with HIV/AIDS training and employment in the decorative arts. Manné served as a long-time member of the College of Design Leaders Council and has made significant donations to the Department of Art + Design for their studios and projects.
Dr. Richard Reich ’74 B.S., ’76 M.S. Soil Science, ’95 Ph.D. Soil Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Richard Reich began his career in 1976 as an assistant agricultural extension agent in Lincoln County. In 1981, Reich left cooperative extension to work for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company where his commitment to farmers continued. During this time, Reich developed and coordinated cooperative research, extension and educational programs at land-grant universities in 14 states – among numerous other duties. Reich served as director of the agronomic services division from 1999 until he was named assistant commissioner of agricultural services in the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In this role, Reich managed agronomic services, food distribution, marketing, plant industry and research station divisions, along with the small and minority farmers program. With a strong commitment to education, Reich served as a primary departmental liaison for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, N.C. State, N.C. Biotechnology Center, Biofuels Center of North Carolina and North Carolina A&T State University. Since his retirement, he’s continued his work serving in multiple roles – including as chairman of the Crop and Soil Sciences Department External Advisory Board at NC State, and as a member of the Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler’s “Commissioner’s Circle.” Reich holds three degrees from NC State – a bachelor’s in agronomy, a master’s in soil science and a Ph.D. in soil science.
Nancy Ridenhour ’76 B.S. Statistics, College of Sciences
A native of Kannapolis, N.C., Nancy Ridenhour received her degree in statistics from NC State in 1976. As a champion for the College of Sciences and the university for more than 30 years, Richenhour’s service dates back to her time as an undergraduate student serving on the student council. Ridenhour has given her time and talent to NC State throughout her career, and continues to do so during her retirement. Having served on the foundation board for the College of Sciences, its alumni board and the board of the NC State Alumni Association, Ridenhour has been instrumental in regional student recruitment events. For 17 years, she worked in the textile, financial and computer consulting industries before going into business for herself as an independent business technology analyst. Ridenhour continues to serve as a member of the Park Scholars selection committee, where’s she’s served for nearly 20 years. In addition to named spaces in Cox Hall and the Park Alumni Center, she also supports professorships and experiential learning in the College of Sciences, with additional contributions to scholarships for the Park Scholars and Caldwell Fellows. Her commitment to NC State and the future of the students, faculty and staff in the college was further recognized in 2008 when she received the Zenith Medal for Service due to her outstanding contributions. Outside of her commitments to NC State, Ridenhour volunteers with SCORE in Charlotte, where she counsels small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as a member and treasurer of the Charlotte Chapter of the American Association for Individual Investors.
Jane Chamblee Rogers ’69 B.A. English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Jane Chamblee Rogers has more than 40 years of experience developing nonprofit, educational, governmental and for-profit organizations. Rogers began her career creating strategies to support students with neurological conditions as a teacher and reading specialist before taking her first development position raising funds for the University of Chicago Hospital and Clinics Ophthalmology Department. Rogers returned to North Carolina after accepting a position with the Department of Public Instruction’s Research Division, collaborating with testing experts on a statewide initiative to expand objective-based testing and establish achievement standards within North Carolina public schools. Rogers then served as the assistant director of financial aid planning at the College Entrance Examination Board in New York. Her experience eventually led her to join the White House Conference on Small Business to help develop and organize the New England region in an effort to foster better relationships with members of the business community. She later returned to North Carolina, setting up a consulting business that focused on fundraising and environmental protection, preservation and beautification. Rogers eventually retired and has since immersed herself in work for NC State and its “Think and Do The Extraordinary” campaign. She is a committed community member, volunteering with organizations including the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Artsplosure, North Carolina Balloon Committee and Celebrate NC Wines.
Terry Shockley ’75 B.S. Recreation Park Administration, College of Natural Resources
Wise County, Va., native Terry Shockley began his military career as an aviation machinist mate with the U.S. Navy. He was assigned to various duty stations, including as a crew member on the USS Independence. After completing his initial four-year enlistment, Shockley attended NC State and graduated in 1975 from the College of Natural Resources to become a commissioned officer as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. While on active duty, Shockley was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, the 194th Armored Brigade and served as Commander of the 547th Medical Company Clearing located at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga. Following his active duty service, he was accepted into the Alabama Army National Guard and became a licensed insurance agent and stockbroker. Shockley operated a financial planning business, served in various recruiting roles with the Alabama Army National Guard, and became an ROTC instructor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and Alabama A&M University. He was later selected to the Title 10 National Guard program and reassigned to the Office of the Army Surgeon General in Falls Church, Va. Following this role, Shockley was reassigned to the National Guard Bureau Surgeon’s Office in Arlington, Va., where he served as a national healthcare budget officer, national HIV testing contract representative and general operations officer. Shockley retired in June 1996. Recently, Shockley and his wife, Vicki, established an endowment to provide need-based scholarship support to undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Natural Resources – giving preference to students who are in NC State ROTC programs and veterans who are not already receiving scholarship or funding support.
Keith Shoemaker ’73 B.S. Business- Poultry Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
A native of Statesville, N.C., Keith Shoemaker spent his career serving the poultry industry. His interest in poultry science brought him to NC State, after spending summers working for Perdue Farms. Following his graduation in 1973, Shoemaker was hired by Perdue Farms and moved with his wife, Janet, to Salisbury, Md. While working at Perdue, Shoemaker moved up in leadership, beginning as director of primary breeders, then becoming vice president of Perdue Foods (Food Service and Turkey Division), and later as executive vice president of total Perdue operations. In 1996, Shoemaker was hired by Carroll’s Foods as vice president of turkey operations, where he was responsible for the integration of Butterball and Carolina Turkeys, which formed the largest integrated turkey company in the United States. At the time of his retirement in 2011, Shoemaker was serving as CEO and president of Butterball, LLC. Shoemaker is an active member of his community. In addition to serving as chairman of the finance committee at his local church, Shoemaker and his wife organized a furniture ministry to help the flood victims of eastern North Carolina following Hurricane Matthew.
Jeff Ward ’80 B.S. Food Processing Distribution & Services, ’82 M.A. Business Administration, Poole College of Management
Jeff Ward is Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for First Citizens Bank, overseeing corporate strategy development and implementation. His areas of responsibility include brand management, communications, marketing, product, line of business and channel strategy, sales support, and the business project management office. Prior to becoming CSO in 2014, Ward served as the bank’s central region executive vice president and led the company’s largest banking franchise. He managed a network of 107 branches and more than 650 associates in the bank’s central region, which encompassed the Charlotte Metro, Triangle, Triad and Fayetteville markets of North Carolina. He also oversaw the company’s personal and business banking efforts across the region. Ward joined First Citizens in 1992 and has held various leadership positions over the years, including area executive and retail segment manager. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. A native of Asheville, N.C., Ward earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a master’s degree in economics from NC State. Among his community activities, he has served on the Poole College of Management’s Board of Advisors since 2012 and currently serves as the board’s chair. Ward is also a member of the national Board of Directors for Teen Cancer America, a nonprofit that partners with hospitals to create spaces and programs specifically designed around the needs of teens with cancer. Teen Cancer America is First Citizens’ largest philanthropic endeavor. Ward and his wife live in Raleigh and have two daughters.
Dr. Stelfanie S. Williams ’11 Ed.D. Adult Education, College of Education
Dr. Stelfanie S. Williams is an accomplished leader and champion for education across North Carolina. She has been recognized at the state and national level for her work creating change in community colleges in response to workforce and community needs. Williams has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, not only as a faculty member but in administrative capacities such as director, dean and vice president. In 2012, Williams was appointed president of Vance-Granville Community College. Under her leadership, the college experienced significant growth in academics, and set records in fundraising and grant development. In 2017, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Williams to the Governor’s Commission on Sound, Basic Education. She was also appointed to MyFutureNC, a commission of education, business, nonprofit, government and faith leaders to create a statewide goal to advance education across the state. She was appointed vice president for Durham affairs at Duke University in 2018, where she led and coordinated Duke’s diverse and innovative community efforts in areas such as economic development, affordable housing, early childhood, K-12 and workforce education, student engagement, and more. Williams has received several accolades for her work, including the selection for the White House Regional Community College Summit in 2011 and the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leadership Award by NC State in 2014. Williams currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor for the College of Education at NC State. She also consults on leadership and workforce development, including past faculty assignments for The Congressional Black Caucus Institute, The Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership and The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.
Fred E. Wilson Jr. ’61 B.S. Textile Chemistry, Wilson College of Textiles
Fred Wilson, Jr. is currently the chairman of the Board of Directors of family-owned and operated chemical manufacturer Piedmont Chemical Industries Inc., which was founded by his father in 1938 to support the local textile industry. Wilson is a successful business leader in the textile and chemical industries. As a 1961 graduate with a degree in textile chemistry, Wilson is the namesake for the Wilson College of Textiles. With a generous gift of $28 million to the college in 2018, the donated funds are slated to be used for building an unrestricted endowment enabling the future of the college to thrive and meet the workforce and innovation needs of tomorrow. With the perpetual success of textiles education, research and service at NC State in mind, the generous and enthusiastic contribution to the college embodies Wilson’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the economic vitality of textiles and related industries in North Carolina and beyond. With a history of community and philanthropic support, the Wilson family has strong ties to the college. Wilson is the first of four NC State College of Textile graduates from the Wilson family. Wilson’s son, Frederick “Rick” Eugene Wilson III ‘87, and daughter, Elizabeth “Cres” Wilson Calabrese ‘89, are both graduates with a degree in textile chemistry. Most recently, Fred Wilson’s grandson, Frederick “Rede” Wilson IV ‘16, earned his degree in polymer and color chemistry.
The Ronnie Shavlik Award of Merit is the highest honor a former student-athlete or member of the athletics family can receive from the Wolfpack Club. This award embodies the life and traits of All-American basketball player Ronnie Shavlik ’60, who holds a prominent place in the NC State record books. Through his performance on and off the court, he transcended athletics to become a role model. After playing for the NBA’s New York Knicks, Shavlik returned to Raleigh to launch a successful business and devote himself to community service. He launched Wake County’s first summer basketball league. He hired the handicapped and chaired the governor’s commission on handicapped employment. Shavlik was honored by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson for his workplace practices. He was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame and was presented the 1980 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for business and civic accomplishments. Shavlik served on the Wolfpack Club Board of Directors from 1976 to 1983, including a four-year term as president. After Shavlik’s untimely death in 1983, the Wolfpack Club and his friends established this award to honor an individual who displays Shavlik’s qualities of leadership and service, as well as his support of NC State and Wolfpack athletics.
Richard Etheridge ’82 B.S. Forestry, College of Natural Resources
Former NC State football player Richard Etheridge received his degree in forestry in 1982 and then began a long career in the textile industry. For 27 years, Etheridge has owned the Garber-based United Textile Distribution, selling and distributing finished textile products to textile rental companies. Etheridge is the past president of the Clayton Civitan Club and still serves in various roles in the club. During his time at NC State, Etheridge was a four-year letterman on the football team where he recorded more than 225 tackles as a defensive end and was part of the 1979 ACC Championship team. In 1981, he received the Al Michaels Award for putting “Team Before Self.” Etheridge currently serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a member of the university’s Council on Athletics. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Clayton and have four children and three grandsons.
Leigh-Kathryn Bonner ’15 B.A. International Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
What started as an idea during Leigh-Kathryn Bonner’s junior year at NC State turned into the thriving company Bee Downtown. Bee Downtown partners with businesses to install and maintain hives — on rooftops and in other urban locales — and teaches hands-on classes to educate children and adults about sustainable agriculture and the vital bee. Ultimately, Bee Downtown aims to provide urban bees with stable living conditions for long periods of time. Upon graduating in 2015, Bonner declined a job offer to pursue Bee Downtown full-time. She became profitable her first year in business, selling more than 50 hives and hiring her first employee. Since then, the company has grown its employee base and expanded into the Atlanta, Ga., market. Bonner’s commitment to her vision is not only helping the honeybee population and the agricultural cycle improve, but she is providing sustainable work opportunities for the local community. She has received numerous honors, including WRAL’s “Woman of the Year,” Forbes’s “30 Under 30,” Inc.’s “30 Most Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs under 30” and Southern Living’s “Southerner of Year.”
Rashida Hodge ’02 B.S. Industrial Engineering, ’03 M.S. Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering
An avid supporter of women in technology, Rashida Hodge is the vice president of IBM North America’s Insurance Industry and leads the cross-functional IBM client teams for insurance across the United States. In this role, she is focused on delivering client value, enhancing customer engagement, and driving digital transformation and modernization for clients leveraging the IBM portfolio and partner ecosystem of solutions. Prior to this role, Hodge was IBM vice president, Watson Strategic Partnerships. Watson is one of IBM’s most significant innovators in IBM’s history and represents a new era of information technology. Hodge has previously held numerous leadership roles across IBM, where she was core to establishing sustainable business operations and end-to-end client and partner success. Hodge has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and master’s degree in industrial engineering from NC State, along with an MBA from Duke University. She is also the founder of the NC State College of Engineering Foundation’s Real Hope for Next Gen Engineers Endowed Scholarship. Hodge is originally from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and has a passion for mentoring and giving back to her community. She is a firm believer in the adage, “we all stand on the shoulders of giants,” and fights to be a giant for many, especially women and people of color.
Meritorious Service Award is given to an alumnus/na who has made outstanding contributions to NC State University, his or her profession and the greater community.
Perry Safran ’72 B.A. Political Science, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Perry Safran is one of the state’s leading construction law attorneys and is the founding partner of the Raleigh-based Safran Law Offices. He received a bachelor’s degree from NC State, an MBA from Wake Forest University, and his J.D. from Campbell University. For 10 years, Safran was engaged in construction engineering and for more than 30 years thereafter, has been engaged in practicing law. He is a registered arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and a frequent lecturer on construction-related topics. Safran served on Raleigh’s City Council and as an adjunct professor at both NC State and Campbell University’s School of Law. He is a long-standing member of the Centennial Authority, where he is credited with playing a key role in the construction and continued maintenance of the PNC Arena. He also serves as vice-chair of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Safran is the chair of the NC State University Development Coalition, a member of the Board of Directors of the NC State Alumni Association, and chair of the School of Public and International Affairs’ Board of Advisors. In addition to his service to the university, he and his wife have established the Perry and Susan Safran Scholarship in Pre-Law Studies.
2018 Award Recipients
Tony Avent ’78 B.S. Technology and Horticulture, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Tony Avent grew up with a passion for plants. Instead of playing games, he wandered the woods and fields near his home studying wildflowers. At eight years old, his parents built him a greenhouse. There he grew and propagated plants and sold them as a hobby. Avent graduated in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture science from NC State where he studied under renowned horticulturist J.C. Raulston. After graduating, Avent worked as the landscape director at the N.C. State Fairgrounds for 16 years. In addition, he worked as a volunteer curator of the Shade Garden at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum from 1985 to 1994, and as a weekly garden columnist for The News & Observer from 1987 to 1998. Avent established Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Gardens in 1988 and, by 1994, the business had expanded enough for him to become a full-time nurseryman. In addition to running the nursery, Avent is a plant breeder who is best known for propagating hostas. He travels the world on plant hunting expeditions to search for new, rare and unusual plants. Avent authored the book “So You Want to Start a Nursery” and is currently a contributing editor to Horticulture and Walter magazines. In addition, he travels the country giving lectures on gardening topics.
Alan Ayers ’74 B.S. Zoology, ’85 Ph.D Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Alan Ayers spent more than 30 years working in the agricultural crop protection industry for Bayer CropScience and its predecessor companies. Ayers received his bachelor’s degree in zoology and his doctorate in plant pathology from NC State, beginning his career in 1985 in product development and later moving to environmental affairs as the technical issues/stewardship manager. He later joined Bayer CropScience’s global regulatory team and transferred to Lyon, France, in 1997, leading the herbicide and fungicide team and later the insecticide team. In 2001, he returned to the United States as director of environmental affairs. Currently, Ayers works as the director of state affairs and stewardship in the NAFTA Bayer CropScience headquarters in Research Triangle Park. Ayers has maintained close ties with NC State’s plant pathology department and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He has been honored with the Kernel Award by the North Dakota Grain Growers Association in 2016 and received the CALS Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2009. He has served on the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Board, the N.C. Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Plant Sciences Initiative Advocacy & Resource Development Task Force and the Peanut Foundation Board of Directors. He has been a valuable resource for faculty in program development and industry linkages.
Kathleen Kincaid, ’92 M.S. Graphic Design, College of Design
As executive director of development and engagement for The New York Times, Kathleen Kincaid has more than 20 years of experience in product design, product development and team management in the digital design and technology sector. She leads the organization’s technology sponsorship program, which supports the professional growth of high-potential employees and creates a diverse pipeline for technology leadership. Within this program, Kincaid provides group and individual executive coaching. Previously, she was the group director for product design and worked collaboratively with project teams to translate data, consumer research and competitive analysis to identify new product opportunities. Kincaid has been an active member of the women in tech task force and the hiring working group, which identifies steps to improve diversity and codify the recruiting and hiring process. She co-founded a pilot mentorship program that has since been adopted across the company. Prior to joining The New York Times, Kincaid worked at Ziff Davis, where she led a portfolio of digital products (pcmag.com, geek.com, extremetech.com) as vice president of product development. Previously, she held product and user-experience roles at Condé Nast, Well+Good NYC, The Stimulist, Yahoo!, The Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive, and Microsoft. Kincaid has a master’s degree in visual design from NC State, a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from the UNC-Chapel Hill and an executive coach certification from Columbia University.
Wendell Murphy ’60 B.S. Agricultural Education, College of Education
Wendell Murphy earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from NC State in 1960. After graduation, his first job was as an agriculture teacher. In 1962, he and his father opened a feed manufacturing operation that later diversified into raising hogs. Currently he is the chair and chief executive officer emeritus of Murphy Family Farms, Inc. In 1983, Murphy was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives, representing the state’s tenth district until 1988. That year he was elected to the N.C. Senate where he served until 1992. Murphy is serving his second term on the NC State Board of Trustees. He previously served from 1999 to 2007 and acted as chair during that term. He has chaired the university’s endowment board and the Wolfpack Club Board of Directors. He was a member of the “Achieve!” Campaign’s steering and executive committee. He was an early advocate for the establishment of NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In 1999, he received the Watauga Medal, the university’s highest award for outstanding and distinguished service. Murphy and his wife, Linda, are members of the university’s Alexander Quarles Holladay Lifetime Giving Society, which recognizes support in excess of $5 million. They are founding members of The State Club and supporters of the University Club and NCSU Libraries. Their philanthropy has supported scholarships, programs, research and teaching enhancements, and capital projects across campus. In 2014, they were awarded the Menscer Cup, the NC State University Foundation’s highest recognition for philanthropy, dedication and leadership.
Suzanne Gordon ’75 B.S. Computer Science, ’80 M.S. Statistics, College of Sciences
Suzanne Gordon holds bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics and a master’s degree in statistics from NC State. Gordon spent more than 30 years at SAS Institute where she held key leadership roles, rising to vice president of information technology and eventually chief information officer. While at SAS, Gordon was named a “Premier 100 IT Leader” by Computerworld and was recognized by the Triangle Business Journal as one of the region’s “Top 25 Women in Business.” Gordon also has dedicated herself to community and public service. For more than a decade, she has worked with Communities in Schools (CIS) of Wake County, serving on its board and as its board chair from 2012 to 2014. She launched a nonprofit, Gordon Services, which provides at-risk young people with guidance and experience in the professional world. As the current president of the NC State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors, Gordon is the first woman to hold that position. She was a member of the NC State Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2009, the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Poole College of Management Advisory Board. Named the College of Physical and Mathematics Distinguished Alumna in 1999, Gordon serves on the mathematics scholarship endowment committee, as a guest speaker at departmental functions and as a supporter of the university’s women in technology initiatives. She and her husband, Ralph, have created scholarship endowments to help students in multiple disciplines.
Peter Lehrer ’63 B.S. Civil Engineering, College of Engineering
Peter Lehrer, an internationally recognized manager of large-scale construction projects, is the chief executive officer of Lehrer Cumming, a division within Cumming Corporation focused on client markets in Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y., Washington, D.C. and Miami, Fla. In 1996, Lehrer founded Lehrer, LLC, to provide construction consulting services to owners, developers and institutions engaged in major capital projects. In July 2018, it merged with Cumming to expand the breadth and depth of the services provided to its growing east coast client base. In 1979, Lehrer co-founded Lehrer McGovern, Inc., a construction management firm that ranked as one of the top construction companies in the country. After the firm merged into London-based Bovis, Ltd. in 1988, Lehrer became vice chairman of Bovis, Ltd. and chief executive officer of all U.S.-based subsidiaries. Lehrer’s previous projects include the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Euro Disneyland, Canary Wharf, restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Grand Central Terminal, rebuilding of Ben Gurion and LaGuardia airports, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Additionally, Lehrer is a member of the boards of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and White Plains Hospital. He has chaired several government commissions focused on reducing costs and improving efficiency for multi-billion-dollar capital programs. Lehrer received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, with honors, from NC State.
Alan Weinberg ’63 B.S. Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Alan Weinberg earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at NC State and began his career as a process engineer at Esso Research and Engineering in Florham Park, N.J. In 1966, he joined the Cryovac Division of W.R. Grace and Company in Duncan, S.C., as a product and process development engineer. Cryovac develops, manufactures and markets sophisticated packaging materials and systems for perishable foods such as meat, poultry, cheese and produce. After a 36-year career at Cryovac, Weinberg retired as global vice president of technology with 29 years in research, development and engineering, and seven in marketing and business development. He authored 15 original patents and saw Cryovac global sales grow from about $100 million to almost $3 billion with operations in more than 20 countries and several facilities. Weinberg attributes his success to risk taking, continued learning, setting stretch goals, empowering and trusting people, and enjoying the trip. Weinberg was a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers. At NC State, he is a member of the R.S. Pullen Society and has served more than 20 years on the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Alumni Advisory Board. He served on various community boards, including the Warehouse Theater, the International Chamber Music Series and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Furman University. He was president of OLLI at Furman for a term and continues to teach and attend classes there.
Gil West ’84 B.S. Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Gil West, a senior executive vice president and chief operating officer for Delta Air Lines, leads the team responsible for safe, reliable operations across the globe – including more than 70,000 employees. Previously, West served as senior vice president of airport customer service and technical operations, overseeing Delta’s airport operations, customer service, contracted services, workplace safety and operational IT strategy, as well as maintenance activities, flight safety, regulatory compliance and aircraft modifications. Joining Delta in March 2008, West led the Delta and Northwest airport and customer service merger integration and helped champion customer service and operational improvements, which have resulted in annual ranking improvements from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Prior to Delta, West worked for Laidlaw Transit Services as president and chief executive officer and also held leadership roles at Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and The Boeing Company. At NC State, West earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Additionally, he received a master’s degree in business administration from National University in San Diego. West serves as an NC State alumni volunteer in Atlanta, Ga., and is a contributor to the Dean’s Circle and Fitts-Woolard Hall. He was recently inducted into the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Hall of Fame.
John A. Ward II ’91 B.A. Communications, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
John A. Ward II has spent his career as a leader and innovator in media, and in particular, sports coverage. Recently retired from AT&T where he worked from 2005 to 2018, Ward is a consultant for media entities. As senior vice president of content operations for AT&T Entertainment Group, Ward managed content operations for TV platforms: sports blackout implementation and special events, program planning, traffic operations and audience network on-air operations. Ward and his team managed the studios that produced “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” “The Box Score,” “NFL Sunday Ticket” and its accompanying “Red Zone” and “Fantasy Zone” programs. Prior to joining AT&T in 2005, Ward held a variety of positions at FOX Sports Productions. As director of production, Ward supervised studio production for FOX’s NFL, MLB and NASCAR coverage. He started two new FOX Sports networks — Speed and Fuel TV — and managed NFL Europe in London. From 1995 to 1998, Ward worked as a production supervisor at FOX, directing studio production that ranged from post-production schedules to game-day operations. He began his sports television career as a broadcast associate in 1994. Ward has won 12 Sports Emmys. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from NC State and serves on the dean’s board for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Charles “Chuck” Keeley ’85 B.S. Business Management, Poole College of Management
Charles “Chuck” Keeley is president of CGR Products — a company started in 1962 by his late father and fellow NC State alumnus, Charles Allen Styer Keeley Jr. CGR Products is based in Greensboro, N.C., and manufactures high-quality components — gaskets, seals and rings — that help industrial applications perform their best. As president, Keeley coordinates the company’s strategic planning process, supports and develops the leadership team, and oversees the financial and operational performance of the company. CGR was featured in the Triad Business Journal’s “Fast 50” as one of the region’s fastest growing, privately held companies in 2012 and 2014. CGR Products is a member of the Gasket Fabricators Association, the industry’s trade association, and Keeley serves on the organization’s Board of Trustees as its treasurer. The Keeley family recently established an endowed need-based scholarship in the Poole College of Management in memory of Keeley’s late father. He also serves as an alumni judge for the college’s Leadership and Innovation Showcase event. As an active volunteer role at Greensboro Day School, Keeley earned the school’s 2014 Alumni Service Award. An avid outdoorsman, Keeley is a supporter of the National Parks Conservation Association. He is also a supporter of Family Services of the Piedmont.
Zachary Guy ’01 B.S. Pulp & Paper Science & Technology, College of Natural Resources
Zachary Guy, the founder and owner of Appalachian Antique Hardwoods, is a leading expert on the implementation of reclaimed wood into modern architecture. Responsible for the direction and mission of Appalachian Antique Hardwoods, Guy oversees different aspects of the company, including sales and new business opportunities. With degrees in wood science and chemical engineering, as well as course work in management and business from NC State and Harvard University, Guy brings a wealth of business knowledge to his company. He has received numerous business accolades, including recognition as a “Top 40 Young Entrepreneurs” award from Business Magazine, “Top 40 Under 40” by the U.S. Small Business Council, and “Entrepreneur To Pay Attention To” by Entrepreneur magazine. Appalachian Antique Hardwoods has been listed in Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States three times. Prior to founding Appalachian Antique Hardwoods, Guy led a business unit for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical manufacturer that generated in excess of $150 million in revenue. He has also served as the director of quality and manufacturing for leading chemical companies.
William “Dean” Bunce ’86 B.S. Zoology, College of Sciences
William “Dean” Bunce is executive vice president for regulatory affairs and compliance at United Therapeutics — a biotechnology company focused on combating cardiovascular, infectious and oncological diseases with unique therapeutic products. Bunce, who received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from NC State, has been with United Therapeutics since 1999 and was one of the company’s first employees. Bunce has given back to the College of Sciences in many ways. He serves as the college’s “Think and Do The Extraordinary” campaign chair and is a member of the executive committee of the College of Sciences Foundation Board of Directors. Bunce’s college involvement has included a mentor program, alumni panels, campaign working groups and campaign events. Bunce and his wife, Gail, recently helped sponsor a campaign event at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. He also has leveraged a key partnership between the college and United Therapeutics. The company hosted a site visit for the college’s dean and faculty and has participated in events for faculty and students. In 2015, the Bunces established the Dean and Gail Bunce Scholarship to support College of Sciences students. The Bunces are actively involved with the Triangle Wine Experience — an event that supports the Frankie Lemmon School Foundation.
Dudley Walker ’52 B.S. Textiles, College of Textiles
Dudley Walker, like his father Samuel Walker, has a long and storied history with the textile industry — with roots that began at NC State. Walker arrived on campus in 1948 and threw himself into his studies, learning all he could about yarn manufacturing, weaving, textile management, textile chemistry and dyeing fabrics before graduating with a textile management degree in 1952. After two years in the U.S. Army, Dudley returned to Martinsville, Va., to work in his father’s flourishing businesses — Walker Knitting Company and Bassett-Walker Knitting Company. He became president of Walker Knitting Company in 1957. In addition to underwear, they began to manufacture sweatshirts and sweatpants at a time when these items were gaining in popularity for athletes. In 1964, he merged the two companies into one, retaining the name Bassett-Walker Knitting Company. When the U.S. fitness craze hit, Bassett-Walker was poised to profit. Trying to meet demand for fleece clothing, they expanded their facilities throughout the 1970s. When the Martinsville area couldn’t provide enough labor to match growth, Dudley opened satellite facilities in neighboring areas, bringing jobs and boosting local economies. Bassett-Walker operated 13 plants and employed more than 7,000 workers. Bassett-Walker had sales offices from New York to Los Angeles, and Martinsville became known as the “Sweatshirt Capital of the World.” The company was purchased by VF Corporation in 1984 and Dudley remained president for two years after the sale before retiring. Dudley was a lead contributor to NC State’s “Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign” in support of the College of Textiles. His gift will establish the Samuel S. Walker Distinguished Professorship.
Dr. Kady Gjessing ’94 Ph.D Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Kady Gjessing joined Quail Corners Animal Hospital in Raleigh in 1991 as a veterinary assistant. While working there, she attended NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1994. After graduation, she joined the Quail Corners team as an associate. She was named a partner in 2003. Recognized in the veterinary community as a distinguished small-animal veterinary practitioner, Gjessing is known for helping senior pets age with dignity. She has provided years of support to NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, including service on the N.C. Veterinary Medical Foundation and the Small-Animal Practitioner Advisory Council for the NC State Veterinary Hospital, adjunct faculty member in the college’s department of clinical sciences, and as a long-standing referring veterinarian. In 2017, Gjessing made the largest donation by an alumna to the College of Veterinary Medicine to establish the Dr. Kady Gjessing and Rahna Davidson Distinguished Chair in gerontology. Her giving also has established two new endowments for student scholarship and staff excellence.
Richard “Rick” Speers ’69 B.A. History, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Richard “Rick” Speers is a co-founder and investment adviser with Private Wealth Management of NC. Previously, Speers spent 10 years as an independent contractor with Raymond James Financial Services. Speers graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from NC State and earned his law degree from the UNC-Chapel Hill. Speers is a former president of the N.C. Services for Dentists Board of Directors and former chair of the N.C. Heart Association’s planned-giving program. Speers has been a member of the Wolfpack Club for more than 50 years and has supported NC State athletics and the university’s student-athletes by establishing two endowments — the Charles F. and Betty A. Speers Rifle Scholarship and the George H. and Norman E. Speers Rifle Scholarship. He was a member of NC State’s rifle team as a student.
Margaret “Maggie” Kane ’13 B.A. International Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Margaret “Maggie” Kane is the founder of “A Place at the Table” — Raleigh’s first pay-what-you- can café, which opened in January 2018. The model provides patrons five payment options — from paying for someone else’s meal to paying by volunteering in the kitchen or with clean up. The café provides healthy food and a sense of community for people of all means. It is one of approximately 50 similar dining locations loosely affiliated with One World Everybody Eats, a nonprofit organization that looks to reduce hunger and food waste. With a passion for service, Kane has served as a participant on various panels at NC State, including the Sisterhood Dinner and the Food Waste and Hunger Forum. In addition, she has acted as a supervisor for students in the INPREE internship program. Kane earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from NC State in 2013.
Edward “Allen” James ’67 B.S. Biological Sciences, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
After his retirement from the pesticide industry, Edward “Allen” James became a top volunteer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Professionally, James held positions with the USDA Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, as executive director of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, and as president and CEO of the International Sanitary Supply Association, before becoming president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment). In his 19 years with RISE, James grew the organization from 12 members to more than 200, and from a small seed fund of $40,000 to a powerful advocacy group with an annual budget of $3 million. After retirement, James served NC State as president and development committee chair of the N.C. Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Foundation where he transformed the board’s giving participation (90 percent), making annual awards of $50,000 to research and launching a $670,000 campaign. As a leader on the N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative Advocacy and Resource Development Task Force, he helped secure passage of a bond referendum for $85 million for a research complex and is still working to raise an additional $200 million to support the initiative. He is a board member of the CALS Alumni and Friends Society, as well as an industry liaison for NC State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course. He has financially supported various university funds and initiatives and has been honored with numerous awards, including Outstanding Alumnus of the NC State Department of Biology, the Mr. Delta Sig Award as the fraternity’s most outstanding member, and an inductee to the National Pest Management Hall of Fame at Purdue University.
Tracey Ray ’93 B.A. Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Tracey Ray recently joined West Chester University as the chief diversity and inclusion officer after more than 20 years at NC State, where she served as assistant vice provost for student diversity in the Office for Institutional Equality and Diversity. Ray graduated from NC State in 1993 with a degree in psychology and a minor in African-American studies. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from NC State before becoming director of the university’s Multicultural Student Affairs Program in 2001. For more than 10 years, she implemented programs designed to promote academic success, retention and graduation of students from underrepresented groups. Ray was an engaging and impassioned speaker at campus programs, a tireless organizer of events, and an advocate for diversity and inclusion on campus. She plays a role in various professional organizations, including the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education and the American Council on Education’s National Women’s Leadership Forum. Ray has been honored with the State of North Carolina Old North State Award and the NC State University Award for Excellence — the most prestigious honor bestowed upon non-faculty employees at the university — for her more than two decades of outstanding service to NC State.
2017 Award Recipients
Cal Lewis ’77 B.S. Horticultural Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Cal Lewis ’77, a third-generation farmer and businessman from Rocky Point, N.C., earned his undergraduate degree in horticulture before launching his career at TriCal, a soil fumigation business in Florida. In 1982, he joined his father’s farming operation and managed their soil fumigation business, Hy Yield, along with supporting the family’s growing farming activities. In the mid-1980s, the family rekindled commercial strawberry production with the support of NC State’s horticulture department and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. Lewis initiated a farm diversification program to include production of bell pepper, cucumber and eggplant in the mid-1990s, along with an expansion of blueberry production and marketing. In the early 2000s, he launched a strawberry and blackberry winter production effort. Parallel with the farming operation, Lewis continued managing and expanding the soil fumigation business until 2010 when Hy Yield merged with other companies to form TriEst Ag. Lewis serves as executive vice president of the company. Today, with the help of his wife, Jackie, Lewis Farms consists of 20 acres of winter strawberries, 100 acres of spring strawberries, 375 acres of blueberries, 40 acres of tunnel blackberries, and a retail farm market. In addition, they manage and own American Blueberries, a marketing company representing 14 southeastern N.C. blueberry growers which produce 12 million pounds of fresh blueberries yearly. Lewis has served on the Strawberry Association board, as president of the Vegetable Growers Association and on the local board of his bank. At NC State, Lewis is a member of the W.C. Riddick Lifetime Giving Society.
Dr. Johnny Wynne ’65 B.S. Crop Science, ’68 M.S. Crop Science, ’74 Ph.D., College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Dr. Johnny Wynne, a native of Martin County’s Bear Grass community, served as the 11th dean of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) from 2004 until his retirement in 2012. His association with the college began in the 1960s as a student, and he earned all three of his crop science degrees at NC State. Wynne began working for the college in 1965 as a graduate research assistant. In 1968, he joined the faculty of the Department of Crop Science, earning a reputation as a world-renowned peanut breeder. In 1989, he became head of the Crop Science Department. In 1992, he was named associate dean and director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service. He served in those roles until 2003, when he was named interim dean and then dean the following year. As dean, Wynne maintained a balance between basic and applied programs so the needs of the state were met through increased grant funding, development of the Lake Wheeler Field Lab facilities, the expansion and success of college advancement, and advocacy for youth leadership programs such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America. Wynne has been the recipient of several awards, including the N.C. Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. He serves as a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the American Peanut Research and Education Society.
Christopher Downey ’84 B.A. Environmental Design in Architecture, College of Design
Christopher Downey ’84 practiced architecture for 20 years before unexpectedly losing his sight in 2008. Without sight, Downey determined to focus his design abilities, specializing in projects rooted in universal design, to enrich architecture for the visually impaired and the sighted, too. Whether rehabilitation or transit centers, eye clinics or museums, he designs environments that are accessible with particular care to visual accessibility and the nonvisual experience. Downey has consulted on national projects: the Lighthouse for the Blind and the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco, Calif., a blind rehabilitation center for Veterans Affairs in Palo Alto, Calif., the Duke University Eye Center in Durham, N.C. and the new headquarters for the National Industries for the Blind in Alexandria, Va. Internationally, he provided expertise for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Edmonton, Canada, and the Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. Downey is a guest lecturer in the architecture department at the University of California-Berkeley and participates in two federally funded research projects. In 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Downey to the California Commission on Disability Access. He speaks internationally about his work as a blind architect, and his TED Talk, “Design with the Blind in Mind,” is approaching one million views. Downey has been featured in media stories and is highlighted in the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) documentary short, “An Architect’s Story.” The American Foundation for the Blind recognized him with its 2017 “Helen Keller Achievement Award” and the California Council of the AIA honored him with its 2016 “
“Norma Sklarek Award” for social responsibility. Downey lives in Piedmont, Calif., where he starts each day rowing with his crew team before commuting via public transit.
Dr. Thomas Conway ’94 Ph.D. Counselor Education, College of Education
Dr. Thomas Conway ’94 Ph.D. serves as chief executive officer and chancellor at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in Elizabeth City, N.C. Previously, Conway spent eight years as vice chancellor and chief of staff at Fayetteville State University. He came to Fayetteville State after a 32-year tenure at NC State, where he served many roles, including vice provost for enrollment management and service, associate vice provost for the division of undergraduate affairs, director of the First Year College, director of the academic support program for student athletes, and director of recruiting and minority services for the College of Engineering. He also was a visiting lecturer in the College of Education’s Department of Counselor Education. In his last position at NC State, Conway served as dean of undergraduate academic programs. While at the university, his achievements included increasing the quality of academic advising, enhancing academic policy, and developing balanced, assessment-based environments for critical decision-making in academic programs. In addition, Conway, a veteran administrator of student-success programs, was charged with building an institutional framework for NC State’s student-success efforts. Active in a number of professional organizations, Conway has served as a consultant for numerous historically minority institutions and has written and spoken widely about academic assessment, mentoring and leadership. At the UNC System level, he has served on the UNC Military Affairs Council and the UNC Task Force on Athletics and Academics.
Dr. Basil Hassan ’88 B.S. Aerospace Engineering, ’90 M.S. Aerospace Engineering, ’93 Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering
As senior manager of the Thermal, Fluid and Aero Sciences Group at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., Dr. Basil Hassan manages research, development and applications expertise in thermal, fluid and aero technology areas required for the company to accomplish its national security mission. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Hassan has been employed at Sandia since 1993. He has served in management and staff positions in research and development in the areas of aerodynamics and aerothermodynamics of high-speed flight vehicles, drag reduction for low-speed ground-transportation vehicles, and high-velocity oxygen fuel thermal sprays. He has overseen all aspects of engineering sciences research, development and applications work at Sandia. Hassan assisted NASA in determining the cause of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003 and was part of the team to support the shutdown of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Well after the explosion and spill in 2010. As a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Hassan served on its Board of Directors from 2008-2017, where he held positions as director and vice president. Hassan was a member of review boards for the National Academies, NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He currently serves on the NC State Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Educational Advisory Board and has provided expertise on boards at New Mexico State University, Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Austin and University of New Mexico.
Dr. Alan Icenhour ’86 B.S. Nuclear Engineering, College of Engineering
Dr. Alan Icenhour ’86 is the associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate (NSED) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. NSED operates state-of-the-art nuclear facilities and performs research and development impacting fields from basic science to reactor development to national security. NSED mission areas include research and development for fission and fusion technologies, advanced modeling and simulation, stable and radioactive isotopes, and nuclear security technologies. Icenhour joined the laboratory in 1990 and has served in other positions, including principal investigator, research group leader and director of three research divisions. His more than 30 years of experience have included nuclear reactor operation, as well as research on enrichment, radiochemical processing, radioisotope production and applications, nuclear fuels, radiation effects on materials, radioactive waste management and nuclear security. As a special assignment, Icenhour acted as a senior technical advisor to the National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington, D.C. He was elected as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and is often asked to serve on panels, advisory boards and working groups related to the advancement of nuclear technology. Icenhour has given congressional testimony on future directions for nuclear energy research and development. He chairs the NC State Nuclear Engineering Department Advisory Committee. Before joining NSED, he was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear-powered submarine. After leaving active duty, he continued his service as a reservist, retiring in 2010 as a captain.
Therese Anne Fowler ’00 B.A. Social Anthropology, ’05 M.A. Creative Writing, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Therese Anne Fowler ’00, ’05 MFA is the author of The New York Times bestseller, “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,” among other works. The historical fiction, published in 2013, describes Zelda Fitzgerald’s early life and tumultuous marriage to writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fowler sought to set the record straight on Zelda, who had been misrepresented in popular culture as Scott Fitzgerald’s crazy, disruptive wife. Instead, she cast Zelda in a different light as a creative force, a writer in her own right, unfairly eclipsed by Scott. “Z,” available in multiple languages worldwide, was adapted as an original television series for Amazon Studios, starring Christina Ricci. Fowler’s three previous novels are “Souvenir” (2008), “Reunion” (2009) and “Exposure” (2011). Her essays have been published internationally in newspapers and magazines such as The Week, The London Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar. She is already hard at work on a new, yet-untitled novel about Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, whom she calls “a determined, opinionated, compassionate, often amusing woman from America’s Gilded Age.” The Vanderbilt book is slated for publication by St. Martin’s Press in 2018. Fowler has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing. A proud member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she lives in Raleigh, with her husband, award-winning science-fiction author and NC State professor John Kessel.
Ken Torok ’75 B.A. Business Management, Poole College of Management
Ken Torok ’75, a native of Long Island, N.Y., began his career with United Parcel Service (UPS) in the U.S. in 1975 in the company’s East Carolina district. He assumed roles of increasing responsibility, including hub manager in Wisconsin, managing director of UPS Utah and managing director of UPS South Florida. The South Florida area is one of the company’s busiest and most diverse operations, serving as the UPS gateway to Latin America. Torok later served as president of the company’s Asia Pacific region from 2003 to 2008. There, he was responsible for UPS operations in more than 40 countries and territories, including UPS-owned operations, joint ventures and agent relationships of Sinotrans Ltd. In his Asia Pacific capacity, Torok played a key role in the integration of UPS package delivery, logistics, warehousing, freight forwarding, brokerage and airline operations. After retiring from Asia, he was approached by the CEO of UPS to return and run Global Freight Forwarding. As part of that role, Torok directed the UPS global organization responsible for strategy, performance and revenue growth for forwarding services. He oversaw commercial air and ocean-carrier relationships, as well as coordinated trade-lane development and international freight sales. He held that position until he officially retired in 2011. He has served on several boards and committees, including the Miami Dade United Way Board of Directors, the Singapore Logistics Council’s executive board and the Jackson County Community Foundation.
Jimmy Wall ’72 B.S. Recreation Park Administration, ’84 M.S. Recreation Resources, College of Natural Resources
After earning his undergraduate and master’s degrees in recreation resource administration and public administration at NC State, Jimmy Wall ’72, ’84 M.S. has worked for 45 years in the field of parks and recreation management, outdoor recreation, experiential education, leadership training and small business. He has been a guide and instructor for outdoor activities ranging from zip lines to ropes to sea kayaking; park ranger and manager; recreation department director; author; ropes course facilitator; professor and owner of several businesses. During his career, he has served on industry-related boards, including the Association for Challenge Course Technology, Association for Experiential Education and the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education. In service to these associations, Wall held officer positions and served on committees. Along with help from his friends, Wall was able to construct and gift a high-challenge ropes course to NC State in the Schenck Memorial Forest in 2011. As a career capstone, Wall and his family created and operate Challenge Designs Innovations Inc., a company based in western North Carolina that provides high-quality products and services in experiential learning and adventure experiences. His clients have included all branches of the U.S. military, universities, youth camps, corporations and recreational organizations. Wall also owns and operates Sky Valley Zip Tours in Blowing Rock, N.C. The company offers guided zip tours in the trees of Appalachia. Wall received the Critical Link Award from the Association for Challenge Course Technology and the NC State Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management Outstanding Alumnus Award.
John Sall, co-founder and executive vice president of SAS Institute Inc., leads the JMP business division that provides software products for statistical analysis. Sall joined Jim Goodnight ’65, ’68 MR and ’73 PHD and two others in 1976 to establish SAS, a company devoted to developing software analytics. He designed, developed and documented many of the earliest analytical procedures, while also leading research and development efforts. In the late 1980s, Sall noticed a niche to fill for researchers and engineers whose jobs didn’t revolve solely around statistical analysis. JMP launched in 1989 to dynamically link statistical analysis with the graphical capabilities of Macintosh computers. Now running on Windows as well, JMP continues to play an important role in modeling processes across industries as a desktop data visualization and analysis tool. Sall is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society. Reflecting his passion for global conservation and environmental issues, he serves on the World Wildlife Fund board and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History advisory board. He is a former board member of The Nature Conservancy. Sall, a former member of the NC State Board of Trustees, studied graduate-level statistics. In 1997, he and his wife, Ginger, joined Jim and Ann Goodnight ’68 in founding Cary Academy, which integrates technology into all facets of education for students in grades six to 12. Sall earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Beloit College and a master’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University (NIU). Both NIU and NC State awarded him honorary doctorates. The Salls are members of the Alexander Quarles Holladay Lifetime Giving Society at NC State.
Robert “Bob” Wiggins ’53 B.S. Textiles, ’60 M.S. Textiles, College of Textiles
Robert “Bob” Wiggins ’53, ’65 M.S. serves as executive vice president and director of business development at Capital Management in Greensboro, N.C., where he focuses on developing strategic alliances and building awareness with prospective clients. Most of Wiggins’ career was spent in the textile industry. As a professor in the College of Textiles from 1956 to 1965, Wiggins supported the creation of the textile engineering degree program. He served as a mentor to students and was twice named “Teacher of the Year.” Wiggins was also named “Textile Leader of the Year” by the college’s Kappa Tau Beta Textiles Leadership Fraternity and the Phi Psi Professional Textile Fraternity. This award recognized him for his outstanding contributions to the textile industry. Wiggins held executive positions at Madison Throwing Company, Macfield Inc., Pioneer Yarn Mills, Custom Industries and Frontier Spinning Mills. In addition to his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in textile management and textile technology from NC State, Wiggins also graduated from the Executive Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At NC State, Wiggins has served on the N.C. Textile Foundation Board of Directors and as chairman of the organization’s scholarship committee. He is a member of the W.J. Peele and R.S. Pullen Lifetime Giving Societies. As a student, he played varsity basketball for two years and was active in ROTC throughout college. He served his country in the U.S. Army in the Korean War.
Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes ’01 Ph.D. Comparative biomedical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes ’01 Ph.D., a Hazel C. Youngberg Distinguished Professor of molecular epidemiology, is the director of the Global Health Programs and the executive director of Global One Health at The Ohio State University. He grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earning his doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Addis Ababa University and his Ph.D. in comparative biomedical sciences at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on global health and infectious zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans). Gebreyes seeks to prevent foodborne pathogens and zoonotic diseases and contribute to food safety and security worldwide. He co-founded and currently serves as chair of the International Congress on Pathogens at the Human Animal Interface. Gebreyes has funding from the National Institutes of Health for a global study on the transmission of foodborne pathogens with study sites in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. He has provided workshops and field training for students and faculty in the U.S. and abroad. He developed health science courses for iTunes U; one course drew 8,000 students in more than 90 countries. His scientific advice is sought by global partners, including the Canada Research Chairs Program, Austrian Government Competency Center, Poland Scientific Advisory, Royal Saudi Arabian Science & Technology Program, and the National Research Foundation of South Africa. Gebreyes’ work has been recognized with the Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs “Pfizer Award for Veterinary Research Excellence,” American Society of Microbiology “International Professorship Award,” “Andrew Heiskell Award” by the Institute of International Education, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities “International Leadership Award,” “Emerging International Engagement Award,” and most recently, the Universitas “21 International Award.”
Ed McCauley ’56 B.S. Industrial and Rural Recreation, College of Education
Ed McCauley ’56, a former Wolfpack swimmer, has been a generous supporter of the Wolfpack Club and NC State Athletics for more than 50 years. He has donated to 10 different campaigns, endowed the McCauley Football Scholarship and serves as a volunteer Wolfpack Club representative. Professionally, McCauley spent more than 20 years with the N.C. Hospital Association as executive vice president and president. Previously, McCauley served as the administrative director of Durham Regional Hospital, administrator of Watts Hospital and associate director of Duke Hospital. He was a member of a number of healthcare executive and hospital association boards, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Association Executives, the Association Executives of North Carolina and the Center for Healthcare Governance. He served on the board of directors for Duke University Health System and was chairman of the Board of Trustees for Durham County Hospital Corporation. McCauley has been recognized by The News & Observer as “Tar Heel of the Week.” In addition to his degree from NC State, McCauley holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a former board member of the NC State Foundation.
Lewis Ledford, who dedicated his career to building and protecting public parks as places for all people to enjoy, currently serves as executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors. Ledford joined the state park system in 1976 and was named director of the division in April 2003. He is the first director to rise from entry-level ranger to head the agency. Ledford began his career at William B. Umstead State Park before becoming superintendent at Mount Mitchell State Park for five years and western district supervisor for 16 years. He served as division director for 11 years before retiring in 2014 with 37 years of service. He has been a board member of the NC State Natural Resources Foundation since 2012 and a regular advisor to the college’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management. Ledford served on committees and boards of the N.C. Recreation and Park Association and worked with the state legislature to support parks, resulting in $437 million being invested for acquisitions and capital construction during the past 10 years. Nationally, Ledford testified before Congress, advocating for the reauthorization of the national Land and Water Conservation Fund. He served six years on the National Recreation and Park Association Board of Directors, chairing the public policy committee. Ledford currently serves on the Recreation Advisory Committee for the U.S. Forest Service. He has received numerous awards, including the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” the “Conservationist of the Year” by the N.C. Wildlife Federation and the 2011 “Governor’s Award for Excellence.”
Jess Ekstrom ’13 B.A. Communications, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
As a college student, Jess Ekstrom ’13 interned at a wish-granting organization for kids with life threatening illnesses. She noticed that many children loved to wear headbands after hair loss from chemotherapy. Armed with inspiration, Ekstrom founded Headbands of Hope during her junior year at NC State. By the time she graduated, she had donated thousands of headbands to kids with cancer and was elected to give the commencement speech at NC State’s 2013 graduation ceremony. In just over two years, she’s spoken at more than 100 campuses, conferences and businesses, appearing before more than 100,000 people. Today, Headbands of Hope are available online and in more than 1,000 stores across the United States and Canada. The company has been featured on “The TODAY Show” and “Good Morning America” and in Forbes, Seventeen, Vanity Fair, Self and People Magazine. But the company’s biggest accomplishment has been donating more than 200,000 headbands to every children’s hospital in America and across six countries. In addition to her work with Headbands of Hope, Ekstrom is a sought-after public speaker, the author of “The Freshman Fabulous: The Girls Guide to College,” and a contributing writer to Enterpreneur.com and under30CEO.com. Ekstrom will grace the upcoming cover and be featured in Women’s Health Magazine as the 2017 Game Changer winner.
2016 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
Dr. Joseph K. Gordon ’82, ’86 DVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
John C. Howard, Jr. ’62 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Mark B. Templeton ’75 College of Design
Phail Wynn, Jr. ’74, ’77 Ed.D. College of Education
Leodis T. Jennings ’83 College of Engineering
Pamela B. Townsend ’84, ’87 M.S. College of Engineering
Jason P. Rhode ’93 M.S., ’95 Ph.D. College of Engineering
Gentry O. Smith ’83 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Robert “Chip” F. Andrews III ’66 Poole College of Management
Ronald L. Terry ’76, ’77 College of Natural Resources
Christina Hammock Koch ’02 B.S., ’02 M.S. College of Sciences
Michael W. Hale ’72 College of Textiles
Dr. Michael W. Overton ’86, ’90 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Francis Combs ’71, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Award Alumni Association Awards
Christopher E. Hondros ’93, Meritorious Service Award
Harold B. Pettigrew Jr. ’02, Outstanding Young Alumnus
2015 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
Wanda W. Collins ’71, ’74 M.S., ’76 Ph.D. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The Honorable Steven W. Troxler ’74 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Richard “Dick” C. Bell ’50 College of Design
Barbara M. Parramore ’59 College of Education
Elin E. Gabriel ’85 College of Engineering
Michael W. Creed ’73, ’84 College of Engineering
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno ’86 College of Engineering
Jeffrey E. Williams ’85 College of Engineering
Vivian S. Howard ’00 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Clifton B. Knight Jr. ’69, ’70 Poole College of Management
Arthur G. Raymond Jr. ’69 College of Natural Resources
Captain (ret) John W. Sanders ’87 College of Sciences
George R. Perkins Jr. ’64 College of Textiles
Dr. Julie K. Levy ’97 Ph.D. College of Veterinary Medicine
Emory W. Pitts ’55, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Jack L. Cozort ’72, Meritorious Service Award
Amy M. Pettigrew ’03, Outstanding Young Alumna
Charles D. Leffler, Honorary Alumnus
2014 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
E. Carroll Joyner ’56 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Ram Badan Singh ’65 Ph.D. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
William K. Collins ’54 B.S., ’61 M.S. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Windell L. Talley ’63 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Timothy E. Allen ’99, ’02 College of Design
Kim M. Tanzer ’83 College of Design
H. Edward Knox ’60 College of Education
Jeffrey Garwood ’84 College of Engineering
Irwin Holmes ’60 College of Engineering
Robert T. Geolas ’87 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Charles Stallings ’77 Poole College of Management
Brenda Brickhouse ’80 B.S., ’88 M.A. College of Natural Resources
Saundra Williams ’85 B.S., ’87 M.S. College of Sciences
J. Tift Mann III ’65 College of Sciences
Nancy Webster ’75 College of Textiles
Calvin Johnson ’92 Ph.D. College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
Joseph Rhyne ’81, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Thomas H. Stafford, Jr. ’66, Meritorious Service Award
Vansana Nolintha ’09, Outstanding Young Alumnus
Angel A. “Tony” Caravano ’09, Outstanding Young Alumnus
2012 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
Tommy Bunn ’66 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Charlie Stuber ’65 Ph.D. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Steven Schuster ’73 College of Design
Robert Bridges ’70 College of Education
Stephen Angel ’77 College of Engineering
Jimmy Clark ’74 College of Engineering
John Edmond ’87 College of Engineering
Susan Warren Rabon ’82 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Kevin Beasley ’79 Poole College of Management
Ray Tanner ’80 College of Natural Resources
Sung Won Lee ’60 M.S., ’67 Ph.D. College of Physical and Mathematical Science Michael Fralix ’00 Ph.D. College of Textiles
Dr. Laura Rush ’97 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
Nora Lynn Finch, Ronnie Shavlik Award Award
Alumni Association Awards
Ryan DeJong ’05, Outstanding Young Alumnus
Sherice Nivens ’98, Outstanding Young Alumnus
William Collins ’54, ’61 M.S., Meritorious Service Award
Judi Grainger ’72 M.S., Meritorious Service Award
2011 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
S. Elizabeth George ’81 M.S. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
H. Connor Kennett Jr. ’54 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
David W. Evans ’84 College of Design
Carl E. Harris ’98 Ed.D. College of Education
Marshall D. Brain ’89 M.S. College of Engineering
William H. “Bill” Dean ’88 College of Engineering
Robert R. Womack ’59 College of Engineering
Nora H. Shepard ’05 MFA College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Jon W. Bartley ’69 Poole College of Management
Ed Leigh McMillan II ’62 College of Natural Resources
David B. Montgomery ’68, ’81 Ph.D. College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
F. Dale Hayes ’78 College of Textiles
Dr. David E. Anderson ’88 B.S., ’90 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
E.J. Poindexter ’58, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Dennis G. Howard ’67, Meritorious Service Award
David S. Jolley ’70 and Celia G. Jolley ’83 M.S., Meritorious Service Award
Ada B. Dalla Pozza, Award of Merit
Daniel C. Gunter III ’00, Outstanding Young Alumnus
2010 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Award
Michael V. DeGruy ’75 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Prabhu L. Pingali Ph.D. ’82 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Curtis W. Fentress ’72 College of Design
Jerry M. Wallace ’69, ’71 Ed.D. College of Education
Carlos D. Gutierrez ’60 College of Engineering
Ross W. Lampe Jr. ’77 College of Engineering
Stuart Edward White ’78 College of Engineering
Susan E. Carter ’81 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Jon S. Rufty ’77 Poole College of Management
Ernie Alexander ’67 B.S., ’72 Ph.D. College of Natural Resources
R. Lawrence Ives ’73 B.S., ’76 M.S., ’84 Ph.D. College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Terry G. Montgomery ’75 B.S., ’80 Ph.D. College of Textiles
Dr. William H. Carr ’92 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
James W. King ’62, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Harold J. Brubaker ’71, Meritorious Service Award
Gerald G. Hawkins ’57, Meritorious Service Award
Ruby C. McSwain ’10, Award of Merit
Stephanie A. Cogdell ’92, Outstanding Young Alumna
2009 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
Dr. Calvin McNeill ’76 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
E. Norris Tolson ’62 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Daniel J. Stillion ’92 College of Design
Lee V. Stiff ’69 College of Education
John F. Norris Jr. ’71 College of Engineering
John W. Palmour ’82 B.S., ’88 Ph.D. College of Engineering
B.D. Rodgers Jr. ’49 College of Engineering
Jack L. Cozort ’72 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Christine M. Holmes ’88 College of Management
Harold C. “Butch” Blanchard ’63 College of Natural Resources
Dr. Catherine Teague Sigal ’76 College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
David S. Holt ’80 College of Textiles
Dr. Krista La Perle ’92 B.S., ’96 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
Robert P. Kennel ’58, ’60 M.S., Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
T. Carlton Blalock ’48, Meritorious Service Award
Billy D. Maddalon ’90, Meritorious Service Award
V. Parker Overton, Honorary Alumnus
J. Frank Weedon, Honorary Alumnus
2008 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
Dr. Catherine M. Gordon ’86 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Larry B. Wooten ’73 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
William E. Valentine ’60 College of Design
Valeria Lynch Lee ’69 College of Education
Bobby R. Johnson Jr. ’77 College of Engineering
Gayle S. Lanier ’82 College of Engineering
M. Scot Wingo ’92 M.S. College of Engineering
Richard W. Carr ’70 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
J.R. Shearin ’81 College of Management
Chavonda Jacobs-Young ’89, ’92 M.S., ’98 Ph.D. College of Natural Resources
LeRoy B. Martin Jr. ’52 M.S. College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Charles L. Little Jr. ’78 College of Textiles
Dr. Meg R. Sutherland-Smith ’86 M.S., ’89 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
Edward I. Weisiger Sr. ’54, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Reef C. Ivey II ’65, Meritorious Service Award
Angus W. Mercer ’50, Meritorious Service Award
H. Frank Grainger, Award of Merit
Tracy W. Kimbrell ’02, Outstanding Young Alumna
2007 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Award
Dr. L. Wiley Nifong ’85 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
A. Tab Williams Jr. ’50 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Natalie S. Chanin ’87 College of Design
Linda R. Harrill ’84 M.S. College of Education
Raymond A. Bryan Jr. ’53 College of Engineering
Wayne T. Day ’65 College of Engineering
F. Neal Hunter ’84 College of Engineering
Perry R. Safran ’72 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
David C. Morgan ’82 College of Management
Donald E. Moreland ’49, ’50 M.S., ’53 Ph.D. College of Natural Resources
Jun Zhu ’89 Ph.D. College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
William C. Friday ’41 College of Textiles
Dr. Steven R. Clark ’87, ’89 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Awards
J. Patrick Gavaghan III ’67, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Burley B. Mitchell Jr. ’66, Meritorious Service Award
Nino A. Masnari, Award of Merit
L. Andrew “Andy” Willis III ’90, Outstanding Young Alumnus
Robert L. “Bobby” Purcell ’77, Special Citation
2006 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Awards
R. Kendall Hill ’62 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
David A. Thompson ’91 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Charles A. “Chuck” Flink ’82 College of Design
G. Thomas Houlihan ’75 College of Education
William Edward Angelo ’42 College of Engineering
Charles R. Manning Jr. ’67 Ph.D. College of Engineering
Barbara H. Mulkey ’77, ’84 M.S. College of Engineering
Ralph E. “Benny” Suggs ’69 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Earl L. Deal Jr. ’66 College of Natural Resources
W.D. “Don” Johnson ’69, ’71 M.S., ’74 Ph.D. College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Steve E. Zeiss ’62 College of Textiles
Dr. Randy G. Jones ’81, ’85 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
Robert W. “Bobby” Speight ’54, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Lynn W. Eury ’59, Meritorious Service Award
C. Ed Vick ’56, ’60, Meritorious Service Award
Curtis and Jacqueline Dail, Honorary Alumnus and Alumna
Marcus L. Belvin ’01, Outstanding Young Alumnus
2005 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Award
William H. Culpepper ’66 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Jerry L. Punch ’75 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
John L. Atkins III ’66 College of Design
June S. Atkinson ’96 College of Education
Herbert A. Fishel ’63 College of Engineering
J. Turner Whitted ’78 Ph.D. College of Engineering
Robert G. Wright ’68 College of Engineering
Barbara L. Goodmon ’00 M.A. College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Stanhope A. Kelly ’80 College of Management
Hugh “Mac” Lupold ’59 College of Natural Resources
Robert L. Bryant ’74 College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Vincent K. Fang ’67 College of Textiles
Dr. Jimmy L. Tickel ’87 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Wolfpack Club Award
Steven F. Warren ’68, Ronnie Shavlik Award
Alumni Association Awards
Eugene M. Langley Jr. ’62, Meritorious Service Award
Robert A. Barnhardt, Award of Merit
Christopher Corchiani ’97, Outstanding Young Alumnus
William L. Burns Jr. ’50, Special Citation
2004 Award Recipients
College Distinguished Alumni Award
Mark Fleming ’82 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Larry Sykes ’66, ’68 M.S., ’71 Ph.D. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Rodney Swink ’73, ’77 College of Design
Jenny Penney Oliver ’77, ’83 M.S. College of Education
Albert Carnesale ’66 Ph.D. College of Engineering
Calvin Carter Jr. ’77, ’80 M.S., ’83 Ph.D. College of Engineering
Thomas McPherson ’76, ’77 M.S. College of Engineering
Terry Gannon ’85 College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Michael Constantino ’84, ’85 College of Management
Charles Lee ’64, ’72 Ph.D. College of Natural Resources
Stu Hunter ’47, ’49 M.S., ’54 Ph.D. College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences George Schofield ’57 College of Textiles
Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant ’81, ’85 DVM College of Veterinary Medicine
Alumni Association Awards
Laura Gail Lunsford ’88, Outstanding Young Alumna
Henry Kuo ’86, Outstanding Young Alumnus
Tom Cabaniss ’72, Meritorious Service Award
Richard G. Robb, Special Citation