The JC Raulston Arboretum celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the $4.2 million Ruby C. McSwain Education Center at North Carolina State University's JC Raulston Arboretum on September 21 and 22, 2012. It was dedicated on September 21, 2002, and since that time it has been an outstanding resource for the Arboretum and the community. Thousands of meetings, anniversaries, retirement parties, classes, and events have taken advantage of this new facility.
NC State University officials broke ground for the 6,000-square-foot McSwain Ccenter in December of 2000. The groundbreaking was the first statewide project funded as a result of the $3.1 billion higher education bond referendum passed by North Carolina voters in 2000.
Bond funds provided $500,000 and private donations supplied $3.7 million for the McSwain Center, a teaching, outreach, and extension facility that houses classrooms, meeting space, volunteer and staff offices, the York Auditorium, and the Garden Club of North Carolina's headquarters.
On Friday, September 21, guests celebrated this benchmark event, along with the dedication of the new Lath House. Donors Mike Stallings and Mitzi Hole were recognized by the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Richard Linton, Ph.D., for their generous gift for the construction of the new Lath House. Others recognized for their contributions included: Frank Harmon Architect, PA, for providing the design; Paige Moody of Arbor Enterprises for providing the installation; Chuck Friedrich of Carolina Stalite for providing some of the planting materials; and Johnson Concrete for providing the hardscape materials. The stone work was created by artist Brooks Burleson.
Friday's program included the presentation of the first J. C. Raulston Distinguished Leadership Award. This prestigious honor will go to a recipient who has made significant contributions in "planning and planting for a better world" (Quoted from J. C. Raulston's "Plan—and Plan for a better world.") Including: Helping to diversify the American Landscape through new and underused plant introductions and/or promotions of these plants to the public or green industry. The recipient shall have contributed significant expertise, counsel, or resources to further the mission of the JC Raulston Arboretum, and exemplified leadership and dedication to NC State University and the JC Raulston Arboretum. The award was presented to Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens.
The evening concluded with keynote speaker, Tony Avent, presenting "Hunter-Gatherer-Propagator—The Wonderful World of Plant Exploration" and followed by a live auction featuring specially selected plants hosted by Tony Avent.
On Saturday, September 22, there was a special commemorative video presented, followed by presentations by former JCRA directors featuring: Bob Lyons, Ph.D.– "Do We Need a Change Order for That? … Avoiding Head-on Collisions Between Plant Collections and the Hard Hats" — and Denny Werner, Ph.D. – "Reflections, Redbuds, and Research." Festivities concluded with a boxed lunch, plant sale, and silent auction.