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Freelon to Speak at NC State Commencement


Architect Philip Freelon, lead designer for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., will deliver NC State’s commencement address on Saturday, May 11, at 9 a.m. at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Philip G. Freelon photo
Philip G. Freelon
During the ceremony, Chancellor Randy Woodson will confer honorary degrees on Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, and Michael Wingfield, an internationally recognized expert on tree health.

Freelon is founder and president of The Freelon Group, an award-winning architectural firm in Research Triangle Park. He leads the Freelon Adjaye Bond design team for the new Smithsonian museum, scheduled to open in 2015 adjacent to the Washington Monument.

The Freelon Group has completed major museum projects in Baltimore, San Francisco, and Greensboro and Charlotte, N.C. Recent commissions include libraries in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Chicago. Triangle residents know Freelon for the spiral-ramped parking garage at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the Partners III research building on Centennial Campus. The firm is working on NC State’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design.

Freelon earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) from NC State and a Master of Architecture from MIT. He has served as an adjunct professor for NC State’s College of Design and as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. He has been a visiting critic and lecturer at Harvard, MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, among others.

Indra K. Nooyi photo
Indra K. Nooyi

Nooyi has directed PepsiCo’s global strategy for more than a decade and has led its restructuring. This has included the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands Inc., the acquisition of Tropicana, and the merger with Quaker Oats that brought the Quaker and Gatorade businesses to PepsiCo. She also led the merger with PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers and the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history.

Nooyi is the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s effort to deliver sustained financial performance by providing a wide range of foods and beverages, finding innovative ways to minimize the company’s impact on the environment and lower costs, providing a safe and inclusive workplace, and supporting and investing in local communities where the company operates.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University.

Michael J. Wingfield photo
Michael J. Wingfield

Wingfield, a professor from South Africa, has conducted research on tree pests and pathogens for more than 30 years. He is the founding director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute at the University of Pretoria. Wingfield’s work has contributed to a better understanding of insects and diseases in commercial tree plantations, leading to new management practices and solutions. He initiated the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme, which has become the single largest tree health project in the world.

Wingfield has been heavily involved in providing educational opportunities for students as part of his commitment to research and education, particularly in the developing world.

He earned a doctorate in plant pathology and entomology from the University of Minnesota in 1983 and completed the advanced management program at Harvard Business School in 2008.

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