Dr. Jim Clark and Dr. Dalton Proctor were the top honorees as the North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration took place April 8 at the Embassy Suites Golf Resort & Spa in Concord. The annual fund-raising event honors the lifetime achievements of former 4-H members, families and supporters.
Clark, a North Carolina 4-H historian, received the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award, and Proctor, former state 4-H program leader, was recognized for his recent induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.
“We are so proud to honor Drs. Clark and Proctor,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, state 4-H program leader. “They represent the very best of 4-H, and we can’t say enough how grateful we are for their dedication to the organization.”
Clark is a retired N.C. State University professor of English and former director of the extension program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He was an active 4-H’er as a youngster in Warren County and attended UNC-CH on a national 4-H scholarship he received as a 1960 national project winner in entomology. He was tapped in the N.C. 4-H Honor Club the next year and served as president of that service organization when it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1981.
He is the author of Clover All Over: North Carolina 4-H in Action, the history of North Carolina 4-H, and a newly published second edition that adds 25 years to the history, written in commemoration of 4-H’s recent centennial anniversary.
Proctor was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in an October 2010 ceremony in Chevy Chase, Md. The Hall of Fame honors 4-H volunteers, supporters, staff members and pioneers who have made a significant contribution to 4-H at local, state or national levels. A Wilson native, he is an alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Active in 4-H since the age of 10, Proctor held several leadership positions in the organization, culminating in his tenure as state program leader from 1984 until his retirement in 1995.
As state program leader, Proctor shaped a North Carolina 4-H curriculum model called Cooperative Curriculum Systems that was adopted throughout the Southeast. He was instrumental in the development of the Eastern 4-H Environmental Center, and he expanded 4-H international programs. Also under his leadership, North Carolina 4-H brought in the largest one-day non-corporate gift in the National Campaign for 4-H. Proctor oversaw creation of the annual 4-H gala, which, to date, has raised more than $1.7 million for North Carolina 4-H programs. He and his wife also established the Dalton and Ruby Proctor Endowment and serve as National 4-H Heritage Club charter members.
The Lifetime Achievement event also included a “Showcase of Excellence,” with 4-H’ers from across the state demonstrating 4-H science and technology, community service and leadership projects. Their interactive exhibits featured topics such as technology, the environment, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.
“The showcase is always a huge hit among event attendees,” Stewart said. “It gives our youth an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge, confidence and leadership skills they’ve gained in 4-H and is a wonderful reflection of the power of 4-H in their lives.”
This year’s Lifetime Achievement gala raised $176,500 to support 4-H programs and activities.
The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. It took root as corn and tomato clubs in Ahoskie in 1909 and soon evolved from a rural youth program into a statewide organization with more than 219,000 active members and 21,000 volunteers and youth.