Transforming the Future celebrated at CALS annual Donor Recognition

A snowy weekend did not daunt the more than 400 guests who attended the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ annual Donor Recognition event, Feb. 17. Among the hundreds assembled at N.C. State University’s McKimmon Center for the occasion were CALS donors, scholarship and professorship recipients, faculty, alumni and students, along with university administrators. This year’s event highlighted the impacts donor-endowed scholarships, fellowships and professorships have made, while celebrating how donors, alumni, retirees and friends help the College transform the future.

The reception included donor-recipient portrait sessions, a repast of heavy hors d’oeuvres and opportunities to explore around-the-room stations featuring CALS programs.

CALS benefactors Bill and Libby Wilder watch as a 4-H’er does a biofuels research demonstration.

At an exhibit titled “Connecting University Research, Biofuels and STEM Careers to Youth,” 4-H’ers explained the biofuels-from-potatoes process. From there guests moved to information booths from CALS Academic Programs (the ASPIRE project) and the Office of Diversity Affairs (Dale and Genia Bone Scholars), alongside an exhibit of the many dynamic programs at the Chatham County Center for Cooperative Extension and one from N.C. FFA and the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience.

Michael Tiemann of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems board of advisers visits the CEFS exhibit.

Just adjacent was a display of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) agroecology education programs and its 10% Farm to Fork campaign to build the state’s local foods economy.

Among the most popular stops were exhibits from the CALS Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences: one featuring the FBNS-made Howling Cow ice cream and the other providing samples of FBNS-brewed beer.

The reception gave way to the more formal program, hosted by CALS sophomore Catherine Bartholf, an animal science (pre-vet) major from Pittsboro. Bartholf is recipient of the Dr. A. Gordon and Patricia L. Neville Animal Science Scholarship. “I thank my donors and all our generous donors for making the CALS experience more attainable and meaningful for us,” Bartholf said, before introducing Dr. Richard Linton, CALS dean.

Linton greeted the crowd with a “warm welcome after a snowy day” and told them, “I’m continually impressed with events like this that bring people from all across the state – and by your passion for the College and its programs.”

Dean Richard Linton greets longtime CALS supporters Jim and Nancy Smith.

Linton noted that the exhibits in the room show how the College is transforming the future and thanked the CALS benefactors for their contributions to that success. “Students and faculty in our College are very fortunate that we have more than 700 endowments supporting our people and projects,” said Linton, pointing out that many of the endowment and annual award donors were present, along with student and faculty beneficiaries of their generosity.

He then told about many changes under way in the College, including the coming move of four CALS departments to the university’s new College of Sciences, and announced the initiation of a new CALS strategic planning process, “to develop a strategy for how our College can be a state, national and global leader.” He invited the audience to follow the strategic planning process online at

“We’re wrapping up a year of anniversary celebrations, N.C. State’s 125th and the Morrill Act’s 150th,” Linton said. “We honor the College’s past and now begin planning the vision for our transformative future.”

Students and faculty were on hand to answer questions at CALS Academic Programs exhibits.

Following the dean’s remarks was a video presentation featuring Dan Gerlach of Golden LEAF and Nelle Hotchkiss of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives speaking about the ongoing value of investment in CALS programs, faculty and students; Gary Cartwright, director of the FBNS Dairy Enterprise System, recalling how scholarships made his N.C. State education possible; and Dr. Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Professor of Entomology, outlining the impact Whitmire’s generosity has made on urban entomology research.

One of two FBNS Department exhibits.

“Those are only four of thousands of stories of how donors transform the future,” Bartholf said. “We thank you for your vital support of the College. We pledge to be good stewards of your investments and show you the real impacts of your generosity.” — Terri Leith

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