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Watauga Winners Announced

A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former member of the NC State Board of Trustees, and the co-founder, president and chairman of an engineering and land-planning firm will receive the prestigious Watauga Medal for distinguished service to NC State.

Gen. H. Hugh Shelton and Cassius Williams will accept NC State’s highest nonacademic honor at the university’s Founders’ Day Dinner on Monday, March 5. NC State will award the medal posthumously to C.E. “Ed” Vick, who passed away on May 13, 2011.

Gen. H. Hugh Shelton
Gen. H. Hugh Shelton

Shelton served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001. In that role, he served as the primary military advisor to the president, the National Security Council and the secretary of defense.

After his retirement, Shelton founded the Gen. H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center, a program committed to the development of values-based leaders. The Shelton Leadership center endows student scholarships, provides intensive leadership development experiences through the summer challenge institutes, and holds an annual forum which attracts nationally and internationally recognized speakers to NC State to engage with faculty, staff, students and supporters.

He is the recipient of four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart. For his exemplary service to his country, the 107th Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal.

Cassius Williams
Cassius Williams

Williams graduated from NC State in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmer’s Home Administration for 24 years, after which he switched to insurance, building a State Farm agency that has protected the lives, property and business interests of thousands of Eastern North Carolina citizens.

His history of service to and support of NC State began almost immediately following his graduation. Williams spent 11 years on the Board of Trustees, including serving as first vice chair from 2010-2011. He is former president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and a past member of the Board of Visitors. Currently he serves as a member of the Centennial Authority.

Williams’ record of civic engagement includes service on numerous boards including the Board of the Greenville-Pitt Chamber of Commerce, Town of River Bend Planning Board and the University Health System of East Carolina.

C.E. “Ed” Vick
C.E. “Ed” Vick

Vick received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from NC State in 1956 and 1960, respectively. He co-founded the engineering firm Kimley-Horn, a Raleigh-based engineering, planning and environment consulting firm, in 1967, serving as president and then chairman before his retirement. In 2007, Vick’s contributions to civil engineering were recognized with his induction into the North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame.

His service to NC State included membership on the Board of Visitors, the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Engineering Foundation Board. Vick was also a founding member of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering’s Departmental Fellows program. He was a key figure in the development of the Caldwell Scholarship program, and in 1990 he created an endowment for the C.E. Vick Engineering Scholarship.

Vick also served on the Board of Trustees for Meredith College and Gardner-Webb University. He was a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

For more information about the Watauga Medal, previous winners and the program’s history, visit