endowment honoring Gus Witherspoon
Alumni Brothers of Eta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, in collaboration with the NCSU Alumni Association, have initiated a three-year fund-raising campaign to increase to $300,000 the funding level of the Augustus M. Witherspoon Scholarship Endowment at N.C. State University.
“Gus” Witherspoon, an alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who served as professor of botany and associate provost at N.C. State, advised and mentored the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity chapter at the university before he died June 6, 1994. He was instrumental in establishing the chapters of the fraternity at N.C. State, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as others throughout the state.
Witherspoon originally came to N.C. State to pursue his 1969 master’s degree in botany. When he received his 1971 doctorate in botany, he became the second African-American at N.C. State to earn a doctoral degree.
He joined the College faculty in 1970 as an instructor in botany and moved up the ranks to full professor. He also served as assistant dean, acting dean and associate dean of the Graduate School. In addition to his role as associate provost, he served as the coordinator of African-American Affairs.
In August 1992, the NCSU Board of Trustees honored Witherspoon with a citation of appreciation for his service to the university as an outstanding teacher, researcher and community leader.
Said the Eta Omicron Chapter News, “The legacy of Dr. Witherspoon will live on because, through his works, he touched souls. ... For [more than] 20 years, after receiving his Ph.D. from N.C. State, he remained there, committing himself to training and mentoring students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.”
The scholarship endowment’s purpose is to assist and encourage deserving students. Current funding level is at $19,165, but since the Alpha Phi Alpha campaign began in November 1999, there have been $24,700 in additional pledges. Such increases are needed in order to make a significant monetary award to a scholarship recipient, according to the chapter news report.
Pledges may be directed to the NCSU Alumni Association, Campus Box 7503, Raleigh, N.C. 27695-7503, or donors may contact Dr. Calvin McNeill at 919-483-7958, or Leodis Jennings at 703-614-2507.