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Plenty of Buzz as NC State Welcomes New Pullen Society Members

Leigh-Kathryn Bonner speaks to Pullen Society inductees.
Guest speaker Leigh-Kathryn Bonner '15 discusses NC State's Think and Do spirit and its impact on Bee Downtown at the Pullen Society Luncheon on April 17, 2019.

Smiles, laughter and plenty of NC State stories highlighted the annual R. Stanhope Pullen Society luncheon on April 17 as the university honored 76 new members.

The Pullen Society recognizes donors who have made deferred gifts to the university through their estate and highlights the importance of planned giving to NC State’s history.

Stanhope Pullen’s bequest to the university included the 62 acres that would become NC State’s campus, and now, more than 25 years since its founding, the Pullen Society has more than 1,500 members.

The annual luncheon was held in James B. Hunt Jr. Library on Centennial Campus, and 2015 graduate Leigh-Kathryn Bonner served as the featured speaker.

Bonner, a third-generation NC State graduate and fourth-generation beekeeper, highlighted the role NC State played in helping her get her “bees-ness” off the ground.

What started as an idea during her junior year has become Bee Downtown, a thriving business that installs and maintains beehives on corporate campuses in urban areas.  Bee Downtown currently has more than 250 hives at corporations across the Southeast, including Delta, AT&T and IBM. There are also hives on Centennial Campus.

Bee Downtown’s goal is to rebuild healthy honeybee populations while providing employee engagement and leadership development programming.

“Our problem-solving mindset extends to every corner of our campus, and lately, it’s been on full display through a number of our entrepreneurship programs,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said. “Anyone can become an entrepreneur at NC State, and Leigh-Kathryn’s story proves that big, bold ideas become a reality thanks to private support and our wonderful think and do spirit.”

The 2019 inductees included members of NC State’s faculty and staff, as well and alumni and friends.

Their gifts support groundbreaking research, innovative teaching and learning experiences, scholarships for deserving students and programs that enrich the entire NC State community.

The chancellor and Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Brian Sisco personally welcomed 30 new members who were in attendance.

As of early 2019, Pullen Society members have contributed more than $340 million toward the Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign, or about 23 percent of the campaign’s $1.47 billion total.

“It takes the whole Wolfpack for us to achieve our aspirational goals, and the support of our Pullen Society members is critical,” Woodson said.

“The Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign is helping NC State reach its full potential, and our growing culture of philanthropy will ensure that we continue serving North Carolina and its citizens while fueling prosperity around the world.”