A new endowment to provide scholarships for students in N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is being created by Universal Leaf North America US Inc. Establishment of the Universal Leaf Agricultural Scholarship Endowment was begun in March in an agreement between Universal Leaf and the College’s North Carolina Tobacco Foundation Inc.
The endowment will be used to provide scholarships for CALS students in its two-year Agricultural Institute or four-year undergraduate students enrolled in crop production agriculture and related curricula in the College. Priority for receipt of the award will be given to students from North Carolina, with a focus on students who are pursuing a career in the tobacco industry specializing in tobacco farming, corporate or university research, tobacco production or commodity management.
Clayton G. Frazier, Universal Leaf president, joined CALS Dean Richard Linton; Dr. Sam Pardue, CALS associate dean; Nevin Kessler, N.C. State vice chancellor for University Advancement; and Keith Oakley, president of the N.C. Tobacco Foundation Inc. in signing the endowment agreement. Universal Leaf’s Robert Covington and George Scott, along with CALS’ Dr. Loren Fisher, associate professor of Crop Science and Extension tobacco specialist, also led efforts to fund the award.
Headquartered in Richmond, Va., Universal Corporation is the world’s largest leaf tobacco merchant and processor. Its business includes selecting, buying, shipping, processing, packing, storing and financing of leaf tobacco in tobacco-growing countries for sale to, or for the account of, manufacturers of tobacco products throughout the world. Universal does not manufacture cigarettes or other consumer products.
The College’s tobacco programs and agricultural departments have also played a leadership role in the tobacco industry, according to the agreement memorandum, which stated that the endowment is “an opportunity for two leaders in this realm to come together in a collaboration that will enhance the future of the international tobacco industry, ensuring perpetual continuation of the areas of study, research, outreach and education.
“We are committed to our mission to teach students who will become the future leaders in this and related fields, create new knowledge through innovative research, and provide solutions for the public through community-based Extension programs – all in an effort to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of our state, our country and the world.” – Terri Leith