Dr. T. Carlton Blalock, former state Extension Service director and alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is one of three 2011 recipients of the prestigious Watauga Medal for distinguished service to N.C. State University. Derick Close, a textiles industry leader, and Susan P. Ward, president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medicine Foundation, joined Blalock in accepting the university’s highest nonacademic honor at the Founders’ Day Dinner on March 7.
Blalock, who retired as director of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Cooperative Extension Service after serving from 1978 to 1981, was North Carolina’s State 4-H Leader from 1964 to 1970. He has also served as president of the 4-H Development Fund and the Cooperative Extension Service Fund and as executive vice president of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina.
He led integration of 4-H and the Extension Service during his 30-year career with N.C. State, and he shifted 4-H from a school-based program to a community-based organization, introducing 4-H programs in urban areas.
Blalock has been a volunteer, supporter and fundraiser for 33 years since his retirement. In 2006, he became the third North Carolinian to be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.
A Wilson County native, Blalock grew up in a Master Farm Family in Lucama. There he participated in 4-H as a youth, serving as president on the local and county levels. A World War II veteran, he holds N.C. State University bachelor’s (1948) and master’s (1952) degrees in animal husbandry, as well as a doctorate (1963) in extension administration from the University of Wisconsin. He began working as an Extension dairy specialist in 1951.
His many career honors and accolades include 1990 Man of the Year in Service to North Carolina and Virginia Agriculture, the 1981 Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award and the 1979 USDA Superior Service Award. The latter award recognized his early-1970s pioneering activities in North Carolina’s insect pest management education programs.