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NC State Loses a Beloved Teacher and Advisor

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NC State University’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science lost an award-winning teacher, advisor and colleague on May 19, when Professor Emeritus Carm Parkhurst passed away.

Carm Parkhurst
Carm Parkhurst

Parkhurst, 77, had a long career with NC State and its Prestage Department of Poultry Science. He joined the faculty in 1971 and continued to teach and work after retiring in 2008.  A native of Castalia, Ohio, Parkhurst completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at The Ohio State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Poultry Science, Extension Education Minor in 1971.

Parkhurst’s appointment placed him in the classroom – from the beginning of his career, he was an effective and popular teacher and advisor. His teaching philosophy was influenced by his service in the U.S. Air Force, where he taught survival. That early experience inspired him to embrace teaching and student advising.

In addition to classroom teaching, Parkhurst shared poultry knowledge by advising the Poultry Science Club and helping coordinate State FFA Poultry Judging events, assisting with NC State Farm Animal Days and coaching various groups through state and national poultry competitions. He served as a 4-H leader in Wake County for 10 years and supported 4-H and FFA groups and events throughout his life and career.

Parkhurst spent much of his time teaching – in and out of classrooms – but he also pursued a research agenda that resulted in hundreds of publications in a wide range of formats.

His commitment to teaching and advising students at all levels was recognized in the many teaching and advising awards he won. From the beginning of his career, he won university and national teaching awards, including Outstanding Teaching Awards from NC State (1971-72, 1974-5, 1979-80), the Poultry Science Association Ralston Teaching Award (1977), a National Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Teaching Award (1994), the first UNC Board of Governor’s Teaching Award, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (1995), an Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award (2001-2) and the CALS Alumni and Friends Society’s Outstanding Faculty/Staff award (2004).

As a further indication of Parkhurst’s influence as a teacher and colleague, colleagues and former students established the Carmen R. “Carm” Parkhurst Poultry Science Teaching and Scholarship Endowment in 2002. Parkhurst’s own contribution to the endowment allowed the creation of a scholarship as part of the fund.

Sam Pardue, NC State alum and current Academic Dean for the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia, expressed how important Parkhurst was to him and many others. “Few professors held our attention like Carm. I suspect he taught more [poultry science] students than anyone else in the U.S. from the early 1970s to his retirement. He was a gifted teacher, mentor and friend. His passing is a great loss. I am comforted by the fact that his legacy includes the hundreds of careers that were launched in his classroom,” he said.

Randy Stroud, NC State alum and Head of Global Live Support for Pilgrim’s, echoed Pardue’s sentiments when he said, “When I entered Carm Parkhurst’s introductory class to Poultry Science in the late 1970s, I did not know anything about chickens and really was not interested in chickens. I was not aware that his course would change my career path. Carm taught the class in a manner that made the poultry industry interesting and exciting. I entered that class as an animal science pre-veterinary student and left it pursuing a career in the poultry industry. It was a class that definitely changed my life for the better and led me to a successful and rewarding career. I am sure that there are many more who took that class that would tell the same story.”

Pat Curtis, head of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, emphasized that Parkhurst was “a well-loved teacher whose students appreciated his warmth in and out of the classroom” and said that he’ll be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

Edit: A Celebration of Life service will be held at Strickland’s Funeral Home on June 22, 2019. The service will begin at 11:00 a.m. The address is 103 W Franklin St., Louisburg, NC 27549.