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Two Receive Watauga Medal

Two of NC State’s most effective and passionate supporters have received the prestigious Watauga Medal, the university’s highest nonacademic honor. Chancellor Randy Woodson made the presentations March 3 at a gala event in the ballroom of the newly renovated Talley Student Union, recognizing Peaches Gunter Blank and Burley B. Mitchell Jr. for their tireless efforts on behalf of NC State.

Blank has a long family history of supporting NC State, where she earned an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s in public administration. She is a health care consultant who formerly served as a vice chair of Women’s Health Partners and executive director of the Hospital Alliance of Tennessee. In 1995 she became the first woman to serve as a deputy to the governor of Tennessee.

Her contributions to NC State include service on the following boards and committees:

  • Board of Trustees
  • UNC Board of Governors
  • NC Legislative Bond Oversight Committee
  • Athletics Council
  • Board of Visitors
  • Wolfpack Club Board of Directors
  • 1997 and 2004 Chancellor’s Search Committees
  • NC State Alumni Association
  • Park Scholars Selection Committee

Blank also served as chair of the NC State Endowment Board and provided volunteer leadership throughout the Goal Line Drive Campaign and the Campaign for NC State Students. She was recognized in 1993 by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with its Distinguished Alumna Award.

She has shown significant generosity as a member of the W.J. Peele Lifetime Giving Society and in establishing a baseball scholarship, the Daniel C. Gunter Jr. Scholarship in CHASS in honor of her father, and a Centennial Scholarship in the College of Textiles.

Mitchell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at NC State, has supported the university for four decades. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters in 1995.

Despite dropping out of high school twice, first to join the Marines and then to enlist in the Navy, Mitchell has had a long, successful legal career. He was chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1995 to 1999, and also served as an associate justice, assistant attorney general and appellate court judge in the state. He is a partner at Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice, where he leads the appellate advocacy and government relations groups.

His contributions to NC State include service on the following boards and committees:

  • Board of Trustees
  • UNC Board of Governors
  • Wolfpack Club Board of Directors
  • Lawyers Alumni Society
  • NC State University Foundation Inc.
  • Board of Visitors
  • School of Public and International Affairs Advisory Board
  • Graduate School Advisory Board
  • CHASS Dean’s Advisory Board
  • Friends of the Library
  • 2004 Chancellor Search Committee

In addition, Mitchell formerly served as a founding member of the State Club, president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and volunteer leader of the Alumni Association Campaign for Excellence.

He has shown significant generosity as a member of the L. L. Polk Lifetime Giving Society, the R. Stanhope Pullen Society and the Alumni Association.

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