Dr. Garnett Whitehurst, a graduate and long-time benefactor of NC State University, on March 26 created the first Farm-to-Philanthropy Scholarship in the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. At the same time, he established endowments in support of the NCSU Libraries and a scholarship in the College of Sciences.
Whitehurst formally endorsed the endowments in ceremonies held at the Hunt Library on NC State’s Centennial Campus. There he created the Dr. Garnett B. Whitehurst Farm-to-Philanthropy Scholars Endowment in the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., the Dr. Garnett B. Whitehurst Endowment for the Environmental and Life Sciences Collections at NCSU Libraries in the NC State University Foundation Inc., and the Dr. Garnett B. Whitehurst Scholarship Endowment in the NCSU College of Sciences Foundation Inc.
Among those attending the event were Dr. Joe and Debbie Gordon, donors who last year started the Farm-to-Philanthropy program designed to expand rural students’ access to an N.C. State University education. With this agreement, Whitehurst becomes a partner in the Farm-to-Philanthropy Program.
Also participating were Dr. Sam Pardue, CALS associate dean and director of Academic Programs; Susan Nutter, NC State vice provost and director of Libraries, who hosted the event; and Dr. Jo-Ann Cohen, COS associate dean of Academic Programs. With Whitehurst were his parents, Brooks and Carolyn Whitehurst, and his lab assistant, Dana Mahoney.
The CALS endowment will support students through the Farm-to-Philanthropy program initiatives in CALS, including ASPIRE (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education), STEAM (Student Transfer Enrollment Advising and Mentoring), “pay-it-forward” service learning opportunities and CALS merit-based scholarships for STEAM graduates.
Whitehurst is a 1975 graduate of NC State, with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences (biochemistry concentration). He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Iowa State University, and he also received an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
He is an instructor of biology and chemistry at Pamlico Community College (PCC) and has served as the interim coordinator for PCC’s Environmental Science program. He was instrumental in helping develop an agreement with NC State allowing graduates of PCC’s Environmental Science curriculum make a smooth transition into NC State’s four-year degree program. He received the first Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award at PCC in 2013. He also has been on the Barton College Board of Trustees since 2011 and is a former professor of chemistry in Barton’s science program.
He shares NC State’s commitment to agriculture, to North Carolina and to making a difference in the lives of others, said Pardue.
Speaking of Whitehurst’s cross-curricular philanthropy to the university, Pardue added, “No matter how individually gifted or determined, we are all the beneficiaries of support, encouragement, and assistance from others.
“Since we are in this magnificent library, I am pleased to evoke sentiments perhaps best expressed in poetry. Nearly 400 years ago, the English poet John Donne, wrote ‘No man is an island.’ That is still true today. In Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey epitomizes the interrelatedness of our human existence. Similarly, my grandfather reminded me, ‘When we drink the water, let us remember and honor those that dug the well.’
“Today we celebrate the digging of an academic well. Its waters will nurture generations of NC State students in CALS. To Garnett Whitehurst, thank you for your vision and for the trust you have placed in us this day. It is your commitment and those like-minded alumni and friends of the college that have such an impact on our students and their families.” – Terri Leith