Wynne, College supporters honored at spring joint foundations event

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Johnny Wynne got a surprise while hosting the spring joint luncheon of the N.C. Agricultural, Tobacco and Dairy foundations. When he asked N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson to assist in the event’s awards presentations, it was Wynne to whom Woodson turned and presented the first award of the March 28 meeting.

“This meeting marks the final appearance of Dean Johnny Wynne as ex officio member of the CALS foundation boards,” Woodson told the group. “His leadership and service to the College, its foundations, N.C. State University, as well as to agriculture, agribusiness and the life sciences have been instrumental in enhancing the College’s rankings and productivity and positively impacting economic development and a bright future for agriculture and the life sciences in our state.”

Woodson then presented the CALS Foundations’ Distinguished Service Award to Wynne for his dedication, service and leadership. It is a special award that has been given just twice previously, to longtime N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham and state agribusiness leader Lois Britt.

After thanking the foundations for the award and their support of CALS programs, Wynne led in presenting the annual Resource Development Awards, honoring those whose efforts have enhanced support of College programs.

The first of faculty winners of the award was Dr. Ben Chapman, CALS assistant professor and food safety Extension specialist, for his work in raising public and private gifts and grants supporting his programs that focus on safe food handling from farm-to-fork. The second faculty Resource Development Award went to Dr. Jackie Golden, assistant professor of poultry science, for her fund-raising in support of the ASPIRE to Higher Education program for rural high school students interested in careers in agriculture.

The Student Organization Award for Resource Development went to two groups, the Animal Science Club and the Food Science Club, for their work to raise funds supporting the Dairy Foundation Campaign for Excellence. The Animal Science Club chose to sponsor the Milking Parlor in the new Milking Center at the Dairy Farm at Lake Wheeler. The students funded the $25,000 gift with proceeds from their milking booth at the N.C. State Fair. The Food Science Club channeled $35,000 in proceeds from the sale of Howling Cow ice cream at the State Fair to name the mezzanine in the Food and Dairy Industry Outreach and Training Facility, the planned annex to Schaub Hall, which will include a retail creamery and an industry training and distance learning facility.  

Representing the Animal Science Club were Daniel Boykin, president, Victoria Whitener, Luke Martin and Alyssa Degreenia, along with Dr. Todd See, Animal Science Department head. Representing the Food Science Club were Maggie Schneider, president, and Dr. Christopher Daubert, head of the Department of Food Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. Their awards included $250 cash gift for each of their treasuries.

N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson (center) joins CALS honorees and student, faculty, volunteer and partner Resource Development Award winners after the March 28 ceremonies at the University Club.

Outstanding Commodity Partners were the N.C. Small Grain Growers Association and the N.C. Soybean Producers Association. Agribusinessman Lawrence Davenport, immediate past chair of N.C. State’s Board of Trustees, represented the Small Grain Growers, which was honored for its scholarship and awards program in support of College undergraduate and graduate students. And Soybean Producers President Jimmy Thomas accepted that group’s award for the scholarship award established to support students in soybean science-related majors.

Davenport returned to the podium to be honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Resource Development Award for his years of leadership in support of the College.

Finally, the foundations group presented an award in recognition of Kathy Hart, soon-to-retire University Treasurer, for more than 16 years of service to the College and N.C. State though her work with the foundation boards.

But before Wynne closed the awards ceremonies, he was brought exciting news: The Wynne Fund for Innovation, newly created in his honor to support CALS programs, has received kick-off donations of $50,000 each from Kendall Hill, N.C. SweetPotato Commission leader and an owner of Kinston’s Tull Hill Farms Inc.; and Dr. William K. Collins, retired CALS Crop Science Department head and current coordinator of tobacco programs at N.C. State.

Gathered to honor Dean Johnny Wynne (center) are Gary Jarmon, N.C. Dairy Foundation chair; Steve Smith, N.C. Tobacco Foundation chair; Jim Smith, N.C. Agricutural Foundation chair; and Chancellor Randy Woodson.

The Wynne Fund for Innovation, to be used at the CALS dean’s discretion, with input from state leaders, is intended to help provide the fiscal flexibility to take great ideas from conception to reality; to address emerging issues and take advantage of promising opportunities for supporting agriculture and economic development with agricultural and agbioscience solutions; and to promote the College’s research and extension programs that hold promise to provide those solutions. The dean may use this funding as seed money or as matching resources to help faculty members develop innovations that drive economic development.

These innovations will not only address the global challenges of food security, health, economic development and the environment but will also help ensure prosperous agricultural and life sciences economies in North Carolina – and give the state the AgAdvantage.

 “This will help the new dean get off to a good start,” said Wynne, thanking Collins and Hill.

Hill then encouraged others present to donate to the fund. “What is good for this College is good for the future of the state,” he said. “Without this college, production agriculture would be in bad shape. Agribusiness is the biggest part of the state’s economy, and it’s because of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.”— Terri Leith

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