This past spring the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences experienced the untimely loss of two former associate deans, Dr. Jon Ort and Dr. George Barthalmus. Jon, who came to N.C. State as a poultry science faculty member in 1979 and later served as director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service from 1995 until his retirement last year, passed away in April. George, who joined the CALS Zoology Department in 1970 and later served as director of the College’s Academic Programs until his 2001 retirement, passed away in May. Both deaths were sudden and unexpected and are greatly mourned by our College.
As CES director, Jon led the way in ensuring that citizens in rural, suburban and urban communities had direct access to the research-based knowledge of N.C. State University. Under his watch, North Carolina Cooperative Extension emerged as a leader in educational and applied research programs for alternative agricultural crops and enterprises, childhood nutrition and physical activity, school-age care and disaster preparedness. His emphasis on partnerships, entrepreneurship and results-oriented programming allowed Cooperative Extension to sustain a network of some 1,300 staff members and upwards of 80,000 volunteers and 20,000 advisers, making 2.5 million face-to-face contacts annually to enhance the state’s economy, environment and quality of life. A member of N.C. State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers, Jon, with his family, created the Dr. Jon Ort Family Scholarship Award in the College.
George was a distinguished teacher and scientist who made immense contributions to N.C. State and the College. During his career at N.C. State, he taught more than 16,000 students. He won three University Outstanding Teaching Awards, the NCSU Distinguished Alumni Undergraduate Professor Award and the CALS Outstanding Academic Adviser Award. Even after George retired in 2001, he didn’t stop working: He served as interim director of the University Honors Program in 2002-2003, spent 2005-06 in the role of interim department head of Zoology and then fashioned and directed a new university Office of Undergraduate Research. He published dozens of research articles and book chapters, as well as mystery novels. Royalties from the novels support the George T. and Marina T. Barthalmus Life Sciences Scholarship Endowment in the College.
George and Jon were extraordinary university leaders and colleagues who will be missed. They both also were instrumental in the creation of this magazine and were consistent supporters of and contributors to its mission of sharing the news of the College’s research, extension and teaching activities. We thus dedicate this issue of Perspectives to their memory.
Johhny Wynne, Dean
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences