The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has announced Dr. Charles W. Stuber and Jessie Thomas “Tommy” Bunn as its 2012-2013 Distinguished Alumni. The two were honored at the College’s annual Alumni Awards Reception Nov. 2. Dr. Richard Linton, College dean, and Josh Starling, executive director of the North Carolina FFA Foundation, presided at the reception held at the N.C. State University Club, where the College’s Outstanding Alumni, Outstanding Young Alumni and Outstanding Staff Member for 2012 were also announced.
Stuber and Bunn were recognized for their outstanding career achievements, which have brought honor to the College, and for their commitment to the land-grant principle of service to community, state and nation.
Stuber, who was raised on a farm in Nebraska, earned his bachelor’s degree in technical science in agriculture and his master’s in plant breeding and genetics at the University of Nebraska. He received a Ph.D. in genetics and experimental statistics at N.C. State University.
In 1962 Stuber was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) as a research geneticist, with a joint appointment as a professor of genetics at N.C. State. He taught genetics at N.C. State until his retirement in 1998, and he has continued to serve on the faculty as an emeritus professor of genetics since then. In 2006, Stuber was asked to develop the Center for Plant Breeding and Applied Plant Genomics at N.C. State, and he became the center’s first director, a position he still holds. As the center’s director, he is actively involved in raising funds for graduate student fellowships and in recruiting and advising graduate students.
During his career, Stuber was active in a number of professional societies and received awards for his pioneering research accomplishments in the development of DNA marker-based selection technology that now is used in all major plant-breeding programs worldwide. At the USDA-ARS he was named an Outstanding Scientist of the Year in 1989, and he was inducted into the USDA-ARS Science Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2010, he was named a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumnus. In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Plant Breeders.
Stuber is a member of several honorary societies and has published more than 215 scientific papers and book chapters. In addition, he was an invited speaker at scientific conferences and workshops in more than 15 countries throughout the world. His professional travels have taken him to much of Europe, Egypt, Israel, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico, England and Canada.
Bunn, a native of Zebulon, is a 1966 graduate of N.C. State University with a degree in agricultural business/crop science. He has served as president of U.S. Tobacco Cooperative since 2008 and managed government affairs for the cooperative for two years prior to being appointed president.
Bunn’s career includes 21 years as executive vice-president of Leaf Tobacco Exporters Association and Tobacco Association of the United States. He served the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., for more than six years as deputy director and acting director of the Agricultural Marketing Service, Tobacco Division. He served nine years with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a tobacco marketing specialist under Commissioner Jim Graham. While attending N.C. State University and for four years after graduation, Bunn grew flue-cured tobacco and other crops on his family farm.
Bunn has led and participated in numerous international trade missions to China, Southeast Asia, Europe and South America representing the U.S. tobacco industry on trade issues and developing market access for U.S. agriculture.
A Raleigh resident, Bunn serves on the board of visitors at N.C. State University and is a charter member of the board of directors of Golden LEAF. For 25 years, he served as chairman and co-chairman of the U.S. Trade Representatives and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s Technical Advisory Committee on Tobacco Trade Policy. He now serves on the Governor’s China Advisory Committee. Since 1989, he has served on the North Carolina Agricultural Promotion Inc. board of directors.
In 1988, the North Carolina State Grange recognized Bunn as Man of the Year. And in 1995, he was honored as “Tobacco Great” by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Following the Distinguished Alumni Awards presentations, Starling announced the 2012 CALS Outstanding Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni:
2012 CALS Outstanding Alumni (listed with their nominating departments)
Gerald K. Barlowe, Department of Agricultural and Extension Education
Dr. Robert E. “Bob” Cook, Prestage Family Department of Poultry Science
Dr. Godfrey Alexander Gayle, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
William A. “Bill” Hobbs, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
E. Allen James, Department of Biology
Dr. Randy Jones, Department of Animal Science
William M. “Billy” McLawhorn, Department of Crop Science
Dr. Steven Shafer, Department of Plant Pathology
Dr. Giles Shih, Department of Microbiology
Roy L. Vick Jr., Department of Soil Science
Jeremy Smearman, Department of Horticultural Science
Mary Ellen Sanders, Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
Wendell H. “Dell” Murphy Jr., Agricultural Institute
Outstanding Young Alumni
Kurt H. Bland, Department of Horticultural Science
Kathryn P. “Katie” Davis, Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry
Finally, a new award was given to recognize the contributions made by those who dedicate their careers to the College. Honored as Outstanding Staff Member was Gary D. Cartwright, director of the Dairy Enterprise System in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences.
Said Linton, “The alumni gathered here tonight represent the fulfillment of the promise of our land-grant mission in academics, research and extension. Through their professional achievements and service to N.C. State and their communities, the alumni we are honoring today exemplify what makes N.C. State and the College a leader among peers. These alumni serve as extraordinary role models for our students, who are our future alumni and leaders.” – Terri Leith