Pullen Society Welcomes Two Induction Classes in 2021 Event
Each year, NC State’s R. Stanhope Pullen Society meets to welcome new members to its extraordinary ranks. Each year, that is, except 2020, when COVID-19 kept the group from gathering in person to honor those who had recently made a planned gift to the university. The Pullen Society decided not to hold its regularly scheduled event out of an abundance of caution regarding the novel coronavirus, but that just made 2021’s gathering doubly special.
The Pullen Society is named for R. Stanhope Pullen, a philanthropist and leading citizen of Raleigh who donated the original 62 acres that NC State was built upon. Members are inducted to its ranks in appreciation of planned gifts they have made to the university through wills, trusts, life insurance policies, personal property and more.
Two classes of inductees, numbering 219 individuals in total, were welcomed Aug. 25. Many of the new members were able to attend the event, which was held in Talley Student Union’s State Ballroom. Pullen Society members Charlie (’77) and Jeanne Stallings gave the opening remarks, followed by a dance recital by LilyGrace Wolfe, a senior in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences majoring in communication media and minoring in art studies.
Dr. Doneka Scott then spoke as part of her first Pullen Society event. Scott is the new vice chancellor and dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, as well as a professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development.
“I joined the university earlier this year after serving as, most recently, the vice provost for undergraduate education and student success at the University of Oregon,” Scott said. “Coming to NC State to work with the Division of Academic and Student Affairs has given me a chance to dive even deeper into the issues surrounding student experience — the importance of which cannot be overstated, as it is the core of all the extraordinary things we do here on campus.
“Your long-term support is a testament to how talented and hard-working our students are, and we do not take it for granted,” she added. “Now as always, we recognize that the strength of the Pack is the wolf.”
Vice Chancellor Brian Sischo gave a brief history of the Pullen Society and an update on the Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign, which ends this December after five incredibly successful years. Planned gifts made by the inductees also count toward the Campaign and promise to help NC State unleash even more potential in the coming decades.
Following lunch, Chancellor Randy Woodson expressed his gratitude for all that Pullen Society members are helping NC State accomplish through their generosity. He then presented each inductee with a certificate of membership as Carrie Bhada, NC State’s assistant vice chancellor for university development, called their names and read a short bio for each.
Angela Caraway’s was among them.
“I included NC State in my estate plans because of my grandmother, Virginia Mae Caraway,” the Pullen Society class of 2020 inductee and 1995 graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences said. “She had a sixth-grade education and helped me and my cousins with our homework. She understood the value of an education for Black people, and she wanted to make sure that her legacy — her grandkids — understood it, too. So, back in 2004, when I wrote out some goals, creating an intentional impact at NC State was definitely on the list. This was something I had to do to honor my grandmother.
“Being in the Pullen Society means a lot to me,” Caraway added. “My induction shows others that you don’t have to be a millionaire or billionaire to create an intentional impact at NC State. I never thought I would be alive to see this happen, but here I am. I don’t take this induction lightly, as I am standing on the shoulders of my ancestors, and this has prepared me to carry those who are standing on my shoulders. I am a Pullen Society member!”
Lauren Welch, director of development for NC State’s Central Major Gifts and a member of the Pullen Society since 2017, was also in attendance. Welch holds two bachelor’s and a master’s from the university and was a Caldwell Fellow. She chose to make a planned gift as a sign of gratitude for all of the doors NC State has opened for her — and for her family.
“NC State is a very special place,” Welch said. “Our family tree has deep roots here, going back to my great-grandfather who studied agricultural chemistry in the 1910s at what was then known as State College. Receiving the Caldwell scholarship brought me to NC State, taught me how to live a life of servant leadership, took me to the U.K., where I lived for a decade, and introduced me to lifelong friends.
“The program also showed me a career in advancement I never knew existed,” Welch added. “I am privileged to now have a job at NC State that allows me to meet so many university alumni and friends and help them change the lives of future Wolfpack students. The Pullen Society also allows me to be part of a family who love NC State as much as I do and to feel appreciated for the impact my gift will have in the future.”
With the additions of the 2020 and 2021 induction classes, the Pullen Society now boasts nearly 2,000 members. To learn more about the Pullen Society and how you can become part of its class of 2022, contact the Office of Gift Planning at 919-515-5106 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit ncsugift.org.