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A tribute to the land-grant mission

This Summer 2012 Perspectives commemorates a historic year for N.C. State University and its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It is the 125th anniversary of the founding of the university and the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Morrill Act which established federal mandates for the funding of land-grant institutions in each state to provide education in the agriculture and the mechanic arts. In features that follow, College faculty members discuss and exemplify what the land-grant institutions — through their teaching, research and extension missions — have meant to the state, nation and world.

A theme of history-making impact and change runs throughout this issue. Significant among changes that are taking place in the College is the retirement of Dean Johnny Wynne as of July 1.

N.C. State Provost Warwick Arden, in announcing the retirement, said, “Dean Wynne exemplifies our university’s lengthy and ongoing commitment to teaching, research and service in North Carolina and beyond. He has been at N.C. State throughout his academic and professional career… . It’s a rare academic leader that has witnessed and participated in the evolution of one college for over half a century.”

Wynne’s contributions during his 8-year tenure as dean — and his more than 50 years association with N.C. State as a student, faculty member and administrator – are detailed in our College Profile.

Also stepping down from his role as CALS associate dean and director of Academic Programs is Dr. Ken Esbenshade, who will return to teaching in the Department of Animal Science. Dr. Sam Pardue of Poultry Science will lead Academic Programs as interim director. And Dr. David Smith, CALS associate dean and director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service, announced that he will retire this September.

This summer a bit more history-making took place as Wynne’s career was celebrated at a gala event in his honor. More than 400 well-wishers – including Wynne’s family and N.C. State faculty, students, alumni and friends – gathered at the McKimmon Center for the event. A highlight of the evening was the announcement that the Wynne Fund for Innovation, established by the College to honor Wynne’s work and vision, had raised more than $411,000. The fund, the first of its kind established to honor a retiring N.C. State dean, will be used by Wynne’s successor and the College to provide funding and support to enhance the university’s expertise in critical areas and allow faculty members to grow ideas into innovative solutions that drive economic impact.

In response to those who had listed and praised his activities as CALS dean, Wynne said, “I have headed an organization that’s accomplished all the things you heard about tonight. I want to thank all of those that helped – starting with our world-class faculty, the outstanding students, the dedicated staff and a great group of alumni. And we have a tremendous group of supporters of CALS.”

Then, reminding the group of the Morrill anniversary, he said, “I believe in the land-grant mission. The Morrill Act gave average citizens the opportunity to go to school. I came from a 15-acre farm and was the first in our family to go to college. If I helped others to have that opportunity, then I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.”

New CALS dean named


Picture of Richard Linton
Richard Linton

As this issue goes to press, it has been announced that Dr. Richard Linton, professor and chair of The Ohio State University’s Food Science and Technology Department, will succeed Dr. Johnny Wynne as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State. Linton holds a bachelor’s degree (1988) in biology and master’s (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) degrees in food science, all from Virginia Tech. His research expertise is in food safety, food microbiology and food defense. Among his awards and honors, Linton is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and has received the Award of Merit for Extension and Outreach from Gamma Sigma Delta, the agricultural honor society. In 2012, he was named the outstanding alumnus of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Watch for more about our new dean on the CALS News Center online and next issue of Perspectives.

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