Gentry honored, new Pullen Society initiative launched at CALS fall joint foundations luncheon

“Preparing the Way,” a campaign initiative for the foundation boards of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to join N.C. State University’s Pullen Society, was launched Nov. 7. The announcement was part of luncheon events during the fall joint meeting of the North Carolina Agricultural, Tobacco and Dairy Foundation boards at NCSU’s University Club. During the luncheon, the foundations presented the annual Distinguished Service Award to Jimmy Gentry, president of the State Grange of North Carolina.

Joining in the occasion were members of the boards of the foundations of the Extension and Community Association (ECA), Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), N.C. Cooperative Extension and the 4-H Development Fund.

Dr. Richard Linton, CALS dean, who hosted the event, called Gentry “one of the College’s most dedicated and influential advocates.”

Gentry, who lives in Statesville, is a former vocational agriculture teacher and school administrator. He received his 1972 N.C. State bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, before earning two master’s degrees at N.C. A&T State University. He became State Grange president in 2003, was later elected to the National Grange Board of Directors, where he served as chairman, and was elected National Overseer in 2007.

In addition to appointments as ex officio director of the College’s three major foundations, Gentry serves on the boards of directors of the N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Foundation and the N.C. Agricultural Consortium.

Deborah Johnson, chair of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., presented Gentry a plaque citing “outstanding leadership and advocacy by the North Carolina State Grange in support of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University and all the citizens of North Carolina.”

Following the award presentation, Linton announced the launch of “Preparing the Way,” CALS’ legacy gift initiative in the Pullen Society.

The university’s R. Stanhope Pullen society recognizes alumni and friends who support N.C. State with deferred gifts through estate planning methods, such as will bequests, life insurance, charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts.  The society is named for the philanthropist Pullen who donated the 62 acres of land that served as location for the land-grant college that grew to be N.C. State University.

Said Linton, “Just as R. Stanhope Pullen’s gift of land established the first site for our university, our Pullen Society recognizes legacy gifts that prepare the way for the future.”

He then invited “some board members and supporters who’ve left us a legacy gift to tell their stories.”

Robin Hampton
Robin Hampton

Coming to the microphone were legacy donors (and all N.C. State/CALS alumni) Robin Hampton, Bill Lamm, Brantley DeLoatche and Jerry Hardesty, who encouraged the audience members to join them in making significant estate planned gifts to support CALS.

“My husband, Joe, and I would not have the lives and careers we have today if it weren’t for N.C. State. Our fathers went to school here, and we met here,” said Hampton. “We did this to honor our fathers and our families. What better way to leave a gift; what better way to leave a legacy.”

Bill Lamm
Bill Lamm

Lamm, with his wife, Melda, was a charter member of the Pullen Society. He has endowed a CALS scholarship, among many other gifts to N.C. State University, and has had the university in his will “for over 30 years,” he said. Lamm, of Lucama, who served in the Cooperative Extension Service for 32 years, said that, except for his wife, the College had been the most important thing in his life. “Giving back to N.C. State is tremendously important to me and Melda,” he told the audience. “I encourage you to do what’s right and give.”

DeLoatche stirred up championship memories when he came to the mic – invoking the name of Everett Case and how the legendary Wolfpack coach brought big-time basketball to the Southeast.

Brantley DeLoatche
Brantley DeLoatche

He reminisced about graduating from N.C. State during World War II and working with the Extension Service and then with Central Carolina Farmers. Working in feed manufacturing, he found himself reconnecting with faculty and researchers at N.C. State for “help with making better feeds and promoting better farm practices,” he said. “I’m here today to suggest to you that you consider your legacy for this institution, because it is at this place that good work is being done.”

Hardesty, who grew up on a farm in the northeastern part of the state, told the group that he was the 10th out of 10 children and the first in his family to go to college. Today, his grandson, an N.C. State freshman, is the 17th family member to come to this university. “N.C. State and the Agricultural Extension Service made me who and what I am today,” he said, noting that it was an Extension agent who came to his family’s farm and encouraged him to go to college.

Jerry Hardesty
Jerry Hardesty

Once he graduated from N.C. State, Hardesty said that he wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, as that agent had done in his. “I served 33 years in the Extension Service, because I wanted to do something for people. And now I want to do something for N.C. State.

“N.C. State makes a difference, and it’s up to us to keep that spirit going. We need to do what we can and then reach a little higher.” – Terri Leith


For more information about “Preparing the Way,” contact De Teague, CALS director of Gift Planning, at 919-513-2950 or



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