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Alumni and Friends

The Ripple Effect of Support

Alumna Beth Pugh Farrell on getting involved, giving back and staying connected.

a woman and man stand with NC state mascots Mr. and Mrs. Wuf

It was 1983, in the second half of the NCAA men’s basketball championship game. Beth Pugh Farrell’s father woke his young daughter to witness what would become one of the most dramatic NCAA championship highlights in college basketball history: NC State’s Lorenzo Charles making a buzzer-beating dunk to win the title over Houston.

“I was little bitty, but I remember it,” Farrell says. “That win and memory are just one of the things that hooked me on NC State.”

The granddaughter of dairy and burley tobacco farmers who were closely connected to their local Extension office, Farrell had a relationship with NC State long before she became an undergraduate student in the late 1990s.

“I cheer passionately about two things: the Wolfpack and North Carolina agriculture,” she says.

First-generation motivation 

Farrell was a first-generation college student on her father’s side of the family. Her dad instilled in her that college was necessary, and that she would have to find a way to pay for it. 

“The number of people who invested in me through scholarships and encouragement helped me find the right path at NC State and eventually steered me to the animal science program,” Farrell says. “I knew I had to make the most of my time at NC State, I owed it to those who supported me.”

Farrell embraced student life and joined several clubs and groups including the Animal Science Club, Poultry Science Club, Collegiate 4-H, Agri-Life Council and Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority.

“I told myself, if I’m going to be here, I’m going to get connected,” Farrell says. “Through those opportunities I built a family on campus, and now I interact professionally with so many of those that I knew as an undergrad. So it all comes full circle.” 

Farrell earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science and a minor in poultry science. Her original career intention was to go back to Alleghany County and farm with her grandparents, but her father’s passing a year before she graduated changed her trajectory. 

A career in agriculture

A chance meeting with Sharon Runion Rowland, then the executive director for the 4-H development fund, helped her start a career with CALS Advancement to raise funds for 4-H, Extension and scholarships. 

“I was helping ensure county 4-H and Extension programs had funding. I knew the value it brought to my family, so I was happy to give back,” she says.

Farrell’s love of agriculture eventually led her to a career with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, where she was recently named the ag program development coordinator after 13 years. Her loyalty and connection to CALS and NC State remains strong.

“Even though I didn’t return to the family farm, my career has been dedicated to providing opportunities to youth and enhancing our state’s No. 1 industry at the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,” Farrell says. “I stay involved and connected because I truly feel a debt of gratitude to NC State for the investments made in me. And while I am not one of those who can contribute a whole lot, I understand the power of collective giving so that if everyone gives a little, we can still make a tremendous impact.”

beth farrell at a nc state football game

Our Wolfpack. Our university. Our vision for the future.

Through the years, Farrell has served on many CALS advisory boards, including the NC Agricultural Foundation, NC Ag Institute Advisory board, and the CALS Alumni and Friends Society board, where she helped shape the direction and future of her alma mater.

“You have four years of learning and growing with NC State, and that’s important, but the person that it makes you after those four years, that’s where you’re making a difference and impact,” Farrell says. “All donations count. Those $25 and $50 donations can collectively make a huge difference.”

“We’re where we are all because someone before us believed in something. We have an obligation to continue that,” she says. “Our college experiences built our family of friends and colleagues. I am forever grateful for the opportunities NC State and CALS provided for me and I know will provide for me in the future.”
Join CALS in giving back March 20 for the NC State Day of Giving. Farrell has participated in the last three Day of Giving events and encourages all her fellow supporters of agriculture and life sciences to participate.