A late NC State University professor who founded the NC State University arboretum bearing his name was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame on Monday Oct. 3.
Dr. J.C. Raulston was among eight individuals whose contributions were celebrated at an evening reception and dinner ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Raulston, who died in a car accident in 1996, is remembered for encouraging his students, colleagues and friends to “plan and plant for a better world” – and doing just that himself.
As a faculty member in the Department of Horticultural Science, he founded the arboretum in 1976 as teaching and research facility. Today, the 10-acre research garden is considered one of the nation’s most outstanding arboretums. It’s enjoyed and used by students, green industry professionals and visitors around the world.
Each year, about 100,000 people come to the Raulston Arboretum, touring the grounds and taking part in a variety of educational and recreational events.
Raulston, who was born in 1940, started gardening at age four in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State and his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He taught at the University of Florida and Texas A&M before joining NC State’s faculty in 1975.
The New York Times called Raulston a “generous-spirited giant among horticulturists.” He collected plants and seeds from over 40 countries and distributed millions of cuttings and seedlings to the nursery industry and botanical gardens.
Raulston’s legacy also lives on in trees throughout the city. In his will, he included funds from his estate for the city’s park system to plant flowering trees for 20 years.
To learn more about Raulston, visit the “Plan—and Plant for a Better World: J. C. Raulston and the North Carolina State University Arboretum” exhibit at the D. H. Hill Library, Main Campus, Exhibit Gallery, First Floor, Room 1120. The exhibit, open through Jan. 8, is free and open to the public during normal library hours.