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Jerry Jackson Honored with 2019 Godwin Red Torch Award

Charlie Stallings, Jerry Jackson, and Chancellor Woodson at the Godwin celebration
Jerry Jackson, center, received the Godwin Red Torch Award from NC State University Foundation Board chair Charlie Stallings and Chancellor Randy Woodson. Photo by Becky Kirkland.

Longtime volunteer, advocate and philanthropist Jerry Jackson, of Raleigh, has been honored as recipient of the NC State University Foundation’s 2019 Jerry and Elizabeth Godwin Red Torch Award.

Chancellor Randy Woodson and Charlie Stallings, chair of the foundation’s board of directors, presented the award to Jackson, a 1964 NC State alumnus, June 6 during a dinner at the Bridge Club in downtown Raleigh.

The annual Red Torch Award recognizes extraordinary individuals or families who have volunteered with leadership, dedication and distinction to further the mission of NC State and the Foundation, sharing their expertise, counsel and resources. Libby and Jerry Godwin, dedicated university supporters in their own right, established an endowment for its support in 2007.

Among his many areas of voluntarism, Jackson served on the NC State University’s Foundation Board from 2010 through 2017, including as its chair.

“Our success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens because of the engagement, support and leadership of dedicated alumni like Jerry Jackson,” Woodson said.

Jackson, whose father also attended NC State, grew up as a Wolfpack basketball fan. He was involved in a wide range of activities as a student, and his university service reflects those varied interests. Jackson earned a degree in textile technology from the Wilson College of Textiles and participated in Sigma Chi and the Intrafraternity Council, Army ROTC and the Pershing rifle team, the Bragaw Board of Governors, the Men’s Glee Club and Technician, where he was photography editor.

He went on to serve as chairman of FMI Corporation, the nation’s largest provider of management consulting and investment banking to the worldwide construction industry. He also has served as manager of investment business Jackson Ventures.

A phone call many years ago from the late Banks Talley, NC State’s longtime vice chancellor for student affairs, drew him back to campus as a volunteer.

Jerry and Nina Jakcson
Jerry and Nina Jackson celebrate at the Godwin Red Torch Award presentation. Photo by Becky Kirkland.

“I’m humbled to receive the Godwin Award,” Jackson said. “When I reflect on my life as a student at NC State and my life post-NC State, I’m struck by my good fortune and my really charmed life. So many good things in my life – my marriage, my career, my friends, many of my interests – trace their start to my time at the university. I was just a dreamer and a farm boy from Vance County who came here with some scholarships and financial aid. I think if you feel like NC State has meant a lot in your life, you have a responsibility to give back.”

Jackson served for nearly two decades on the Friends of Arts NC State Board, including as chair.

He has co-chaired the Gregg Museum Gala; he and his wife Nina have co-chaired the Arts NC State gala; and he was a member of the Arts Achieve Campaign Committee.

The Jacksons co-chaired the campaign to renovate the historic chancellor’s residence into the Gregg Museum of Art & Design – naming the formal garden there for their mothers and establishing an endowment to support outdoor programming.

They received the university’s Bowers Medal of Arts in 2011 for their dedication to the mission of bringing the arts to NC State students and the community.

Jerry is a member and former chair of the JC Raulston Arboretum Board of Advisers, and he and Nina served as the honorary co-chair of the arboretum gala.

While helping lead the campaign to renovate Thompson Hall, the couple named the Jerome Jackson-Maurice Thiem Hall there to honor their fathers. (Nina’s dad attended NC State too.)

The Jacksons are generous members of NC State’s William Joseph Peele Lifetime Giving Society. Their philanthropic support over 36 years includes establishment of an endowment to provide students with study abroad scholarships.

In addition, they have been financial supporters of the Wolfpack Club, Student Emergency Fund, Our Three Winners Fund, Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship and Military and Veteran Services, among other areas.

One of their most recent investments is the establishment of the Jackson Family Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Engineering.

Jackson is a lifetime member of the NC State Alumni Association.

“Jerry has certainly set an impressive and inspirational example for so many of us,” Stallings said. “His dedication has made a lasting impression on our university, both out front and behind the scenes.”

At the award dinner, Woodson also highlighted the university’s overall momentum, from student academic success to faculty honors, as well as the success of the university’s current $1.6 billion Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign. Past Godwin Award winners including Richard Bryant, Peter Coker, Paul Michaels and Cassius Williams were recognized.

“While I’m proud of our progress and successes, I’m equally excited that we’re not slowing down,” Woodson said.

Jackson thanked everyone present for their support of NC State.

“I’m proud to bleed red and white for life, and I’m blessed to know all of you,” he said.