AgPack Strong: Leigh Hammond, The Quadruple Threat

CALS Alum Leigh Hammond

Leigh Hammond is a quadruple threat: CALS alum, CALS faculty retiree, CALS administration retiree and honoree of a CALS scholarship created in recognition of his lifetime of service.

An early adopter of the “Think and Do” ethos, Hammond found in CALS the opportunity both to learn and to apply that knowledge to the agricultural communities that he deeply cares about, in North Carolina and beyond.

“It … provided me with an opportunity to continue to teach and learn with the young people who were furthering their education within CALS departments,” Hammond said.

CALS gave me a rewarding and successful professional and personal life experience.

Hammond’s path to CALS was anything but a straight line. Born in West Union, South Carolina, Hammond earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his masters from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville — both degrees in agricultural economics. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea, then began a distinguished career in academia and public service. In 1957, he married Cynthia Secrest in Forth Worth, Texas. That same year, he chose CALS at NC State to continue his study of agricultural economics.

“Thus began a long and successful career and life in North Carolina,” Hammond said.

After receiving his Ph.D. from CALS in 1961, Hammond worked in Washington, D.C., for a private industry group. In 1964, he was invited to join the CALS faculty as an associate professor. He excelled on campus, and went on to hold a variety of key positions: assistant vice chancellor for extension and public service, director of the Center for Urban Affairs, coordinator of the Sea Grant Advisory Services for four campuses in the UNC System.

Off-campus, Hammond was seated on numerous high-level committees and councils, and was Governor Robert Scott’s policy analyst and advisor. He served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Raleigh and Clemson, was North Carolina’s deputy secretary of administration, commissioner of the N.C. Utilities Commission and executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association.

Hammond also found the time to publish more than 70 papers or articles on topics as diverse as coastal resources and inter-governmental relations.

“CALS gave me a rewarding and successful professional and personal life experience,” Hammond said. “My interactions with colleagues, students, farmers and agribusinesses were challenging and very rewarding on both a personal and professional level.”

When Hammond retired from the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association in 2004, the team created a scholarship endowment at CALS in honor of his lifetime of service. Hammond continues to keep up with CALS, but now from the comfort of his Cary home, where he and his wife are able to spend time with their four children and ten grandchildren.

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