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Elaine Marshall inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame

N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame this past October, in recognition of her lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. Honored by the North Carolina 4-H Youth Development Program, Marshall was among 14 people inducted during the ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

Marshall, a 4-H alumnus from Maryland, is past president of Maryland State 4-H Older Youth, donor to both North Carolina and Maryland 4-H, a National 4-H Foundation scholarship winner and a recipient of the North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is the first woman ever to be elected to a statewide, executive branch office in North Carolina and one of five members ever elected to the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund as a lifetime member. Marshall said she was honored that her adopted state chose to honor her in this way.

“I’ve always felt accepted here in North Carolina, but this now is the icing on the cake — to have a state that I did not grow up in, that I did not benefit from the quality 4-H program here, recognize me in this way,” Marshall said. “It was very humbling to be honored by the program for my history of contributions or maybe just for who I am in general. It was total surprise.”

Growing up on her parents’ Lineboro, Md., farm, Marshall learned at an early age the importance of strong families and communities. She became active in her local 4-H and eventually went on to receive state and national 4-H honors. While a student at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in textiles, Marshall was selected as an International 4-H Youth Exchange student to Brazil. She also served as a camp counselor for the Maryland 4-H Foundation and taught home economics in North Carolina before attending law school at Campbell University.

Throughout her life, Marshall has been a strong advocate of 4-H and family, and she continues to serve as a champion for North Carolina 4-H, while demonstrating a multifaceted commitment to 4-H. She models citizenship education and leadership development by speaking and training current 4-H’ers while leading fund development activities and causes.

Marshall was first elected to North Carolina’s state Senate and later elected its secretary of state. During her five terms in office, she has been recognized for updating the office’s technology, developing electronic registrations and filings, stressing efficiency in government, monitoring lobbyist activity, serving as a consumer watchdog, alerting the public on scams, stewarding the non-profit arena and creating documents for charities.

As a state senator, Marshall championed an $11.5 million appropriation from the General Assembly for North Carolina’s 4-H camps, and she assisted NC State University in raising support for the Eastern N.C. 4-H Center. As a member of the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund board, she has been instrumental in raising unrestricted program funds that directly benefit the 4-H youth, volunteers, agents and programs in North Carolina.

Marshall receives award
Elaine Marshall, second from right, receives the National 4-H Hall of Fame Award.

She is committed to developing citizen leaders in the North Carolina 4-H Youth Development program. Each year during National 4-H Week, she visits with the State 4-H officers, sharing her role as secretary of state and demonstrating how her 4-H experiences shaped her and continue to impact her professional career. She has served as the facilitator for North Carolina 4-H’s annual Town Hall meeting, keynote speaker for Citizenship Focus and 4-H Congress and has presented awards at numerous county 4-H achievement programs, where she always highlights the benefits of the 4-H program.

Marshall also helped create North Carolina’s 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala — the first of its kind in the country and now modeled by other state 4-H programs. She has provided funds to support county and state 4-H initiatives and is a sustaining member of the board as an annual donor.

In the 4-H Hall of Fame’s 2014 release, the organization described Marshall as “truly an alumna who continues to make her best better for the citizens of North Carolina, for business and industry, for farmers and rural citizens, for urban youth and adults. She is a model 4-H’er who practices the values she learned and believes in passing those values on to the next generation.”

Added Pam Van Horn, president, “The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) is proud to acknowledge the outstanding 2014 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they’ve shown toward our young people during their many years of service to 4-H.”

National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents or 4-H National Headquarters based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

Honorees received a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque and memory book during the ceremony. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of the NAE4-HA in partnership with National 4-H Council and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. For more information about the National 4-H Hall of Fame event and past recipients, visit

-Courtesy National 4-H Program

Hear what Marshall had to say about the influence of 4-H in her life and her success as a leader: