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College names distinguished, outstanding alumni

October 14, 2009

In ceremonies Oct. 9, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented its 2009-2010 Distinguished Alumnus awards to Calvin McNeill, M.D., and E. Norris Tolson, in recognition of their outstanding career achievements, which have brought honor and recognition to the College, and for their commitment to the land-grant principle of service to community, state and nation.

McNeill and Tolson were honored during the annual Alumni Awards Reception. In addition to the Distinguished Alumni awards, 12 Outstanding Alumni and two Outstanding Young Alumni were recognized (see below).

McNeill, of East Orange, N.J., is senior director of brand safety for Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation. Tolson, of Pinetops, is president and CEO of the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

A native of Raeford, McNeill graduated with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences, with honors, from N.C. State in 1976. He then attended the UNC School of Medicine as a North Carolina Board of Governors Medical Scholar, graduating in 1980. He completed an anesthesiology internship and a diagnostic radiology residency at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

McNeill then started his distinguished medical career as medical officer and radiologist in the U.S. Army. From there, he moved into pharmaceutical research, serving as manager of Professional Services for Squibb Diagnostics, assistant director of Medical and Clinical Affairs for Whitehall-Robbins Healthcare, medical director and head of Global Safety for Glaxo SmithKline and senior director of Risk Management for Daichi Sankyo Pharma, before his current role with Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation. His affiliations include the Radiological Society of North America, the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the National Medical Association, as well as the Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society as a life member.

McNeill's service to N.C. State and his community is exceptional. Chosen as the 1999 N.C. State Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumnus, McNeill has served on the N.C. State Alumni Association Board of Directors and the N.C. State Athletics Council, and he is currently a member of the N.C. State Board of Visitors. McNeill is a charter and lifetime member of the N.C. State Alumni Association and is a contributor to the N.C. State Wolfpack Club, N.C. State Alumni Association and several other N.C. State entities. His generous gifts have allowed him inclusion into the L.L. Polk and W.C. Riddick lifetime giving societies, and he is a regular member of the Chancellor's Circle for annual giving.

Within his community, McNeill participates in the Big Brother/Big Sister program of Greater Essex County, N.J. He serves the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity as a life member, as special adviser to current general president, as adviser to the national chair of the fraternity's Health and Wellness Committee and as East Orange, N.J., community organizer.

An Edgecombe County native, Tolson graduated from N.C. State in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in crop science. He then served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps before taking a position with DuPont. Tolson held various domestic and international research, marketing and sales responsibilities in DuPont's agricultural products and electronics divisions.

Tolson has served North Carolina in the N.C. House of Representatives and as the state's Secretary of Revenue, as well as secretary of the state's departments of Transportation and Commerce. In 1999, he was chair of the North Carolina Hurricane Floyd Relief Fund.

His latest efforts have concentrated on developing North Carolina's biotechnology industry. He was one of five co-conveners leading the creation of North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels.

Tolson's support of N.C. State University has earned him inclusion in the L.L. Polk and Pullen lifetime giving societies. He serves on the N.C. State Board of Trustees, the N.C. State College of Education's Foundation Board and the N.C. State Alumni Association Board of Directors. Within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, he has advised on numerous issues, especially those related to legislative funding, and he has been a dedicated fund-raiser for the CALS Alumni and Friends Society.

In March 2009, Tolson was honored with the Watauga Medal, the highest non-academic award bestowed by N.C. State University.

Also during the Oct. 9 Alumni Awards Reception, outstanding College graduates were honored. CALS Dean Johnny Wynne presided as 12 Outstanding Alumni and two Outstanding Young Alumni were recognized. Wynne, Dr. Jim Woodward, interim university chancellor, Peter Daniel, president of the CALS Alumni and Friends Society, and Scott Troutman, society executive director, presented awards to:

Outstanding Alumni
Justus M. (Jud) Ammons, B.S. 1957, agricultural engineering
Founder, Ammons, Inc., Raleigh

Dr. Jeffrey D. Armstrong, M.S. 1984, Ph.D. 1986, physiology/animal science
Dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

Dr. Alan R. Ayers, B.S. 1974, zoology, Ph.D. 1985, plant pathology
Director, State Affairs/Stewardship/Industry Relations, Bayer CropScience, Cary

Dr. Robert G. Best, M.S. 1983, Ph.D. 1987, toxicology/genetics
Director, Division of Genetics, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, S.C.

Dr. Carl E. Cerniglia, B.S. 1972, Ph.D. 1975, microbiology
Director, Microbiology Division, Food and Drug Administration, Little Rock, Ark.

Raeford Daughtry, B.S. 1968, agricultural education
Owner, Daughtry Farm Supply, Newton Grove

JoAnna T. Foegeding, B.S. 1979, food science
Research Analyst, Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, N.C. State University, Raleigh

Dr. Patricia Young Hester, B.S. 1973, poultry science, Ph.D. 1977, physiology
Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, Frankfort, Ind.

Kevin C. Martin, B.S. 1984, conservation, M.S. 1987, soil science
Cofounder and Principle, Soil and Environmental Consultants PA, Franklinton

Dr. Kevin P. McNew, M.S. 1991, PhD 1994, agricultural economics
Founder and President, Cash Grain Bids Inc., Bozeman, Mont.

Brenda T. Penny, A.A. 1979, Agricultural Institute
Agricultural Research Specialist, Department of Crop Science, N.C. State University, Raleigh

Mark A. Peters, B.S. 1979, horticultural science
Owner, Piedmont Carolina Nursery, Greensboro

Outstanding Young Alumni
Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carunchia Whetstine, M.S. 2002, Ph.D. 2005, food science
Brand Innovation Product Developer, Frito-Lay Inc., Dallas, Texas

Joshua B. Williamson, B.S. 1999, agricultural business management
Director of Purchasing, Aldi Salisbury, New London

Written by: Terri Leith, 919.513.3119 or

Posted by Dave at October 14, 2009 11:38 AM