Perspectives Online

2005 Distinguished Alumni Culpepper and Punch among Tailgate honorees


William Culpepper stands by an exhibit honoring him
Photo by Becky Kirkland

William H. Culpepper Jr. and Dr. Jerry L. Punch were named the 2005-2006 Distinguished Alumni of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in October at CALS Tailgate weekend festivities. At the same time, the CALS Alumni and Friends Society announced its Honorary Alumnus, Outstanding Alumni, Outstanding Young Alumni and Outstanding Faculty/Staff award winners.

See related, Scenes from Tailgate

The Distinguished Alumni awards are given annually to former College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students who have made outstanding contributions in their fields of expertise and have a record of distinguished service. Awards are presented in the areas of agriculture and life sciences.

Culpepper of Carmel, Ind., is a native of Nashville, where he grew up on a tobacco farm. He earned his N.C. State bachelor's degree in crop science in 1966. He is currently president and CEO of SePRO, the Indiana-based aquatics and ornamental horticulture company he founded in 1993.


Jerry Punch
Photo by Roger Winstead
He is co-chair of the College's $275 million fund-raising campaign, and he has endowed the William H. Culpepper Jr. Aquatic Faculty Award.

Punch of Knoxville, Tenn., is a native of Newton. He earned his N.C. State bachelor's degree in zoology in 1975, graduating magna cum laude. After earning his medical degree from Wake Forest University, Punch worked as an emergency room doctor.

While working as an emergency physician, Punch became an auto racing radio broadcaster. He began working selected motorsports events on "ABC's Wide World of Sports" in 1987, and in 1989, he became a regular member of the Emmy Award-winning ABC Sports team. Punch also serves as pit analyst and handles play-by-play chores for select college football games on ESPN and ESPN2.

Punch is a member of the W.C. Riddick Lifetime Giving Society.

Tailgate Saturday activities also included recognition of achievements of outstanding alumni and faculty, as well as an honorary alumnus.

Dr. Dean W. Colvard of Charlotte, former dean of the College, who served as president of Mississippi State University and as chancellor of UNC-Charlotte, was recipient of the CALS Honorary Alumnus Award.

    Named as Outstanding Alumni Award winners were
  • George Blum Jr. of Raleigh, CALS professor emeritus of biological and agricultural engineering;
  • Dr. P. Allen Hammer of West Lafayette, Ind., professor of horticulture at Purdue University;
  • Dr. Leigh H. Hammond of Raleigh, former executive director of the N.C. Retired Governmental Employees' Association;
  • Dr. Henry F. Howden of Ontario, Canada, professor emeritus of Carleton University;
  • E. Carroll Joyner of Raleigh;
  • State Rep. James H. Langdon Jr. of Angier;
  • Dr. James M. Ligon of Apex, regultory affairs manager, BASF Plant Science;
  • Dr. John J. Miles of Raleigh, president of MicroThermics Inc.;
  • Dr. Richard C. Reich of Winston-Salem, assistant commissioner for Agricultural Services, NCDA&CS;
  • Dr. Ernest D. Seneca of Wake Forest, professor emeritus of botany at N.C. State;
  • Thomas R. Shelton of Eden, Md., CEO of Case Foods Inc.;
  • Dr. Brian D. Strahl of Chapel Hill, assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC-CH.
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award winners were Dr. Bridget M. Degele of Durham, chief physician at Jeffers, Mann, and Artman Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and William B. Upchurch of Cary, executive director of the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

Winner of the Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award was Mark B. Dearmon of Raleigh, Department of Communication Services.