Two Receive Watauga Medal

03.06.2014 | Filed Under: Our Donors

Peaches Blank and Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, Jr. lead the recessional of Watauga Medalists at the conclusion of the 2014 Founders' Day and Watauga Medal Celebration.

Every March, the NC State community gathers to celebrate the founding of our university, and to honor the remarkable men and women who have given their time, resources, guidance and profound insights to ensure that NC State is, always has been, and always will be at the forefront of education and innovation.

Since 1975, the Board of Trustees has honored the extraordinary service and commitment of NC State’s finest with the Watauga Medal, the university’s highest nonacademic award. This year, two committed volunteers, leaders and philanthropists received this prestigious award.

Peaches Gunter Blank

Ms. Blank has a long family legacy at NC State. She has supported our university for 40 years and has been a trailblazer for women at NC State and everywhere. She is a two-time graduate of NC State with a BA in political science and a MA in public administration.

Mrs. Blank is a self-employed healthcare consultant who was ranked as one of middle Tennessee’s 100 most influential people by Business Nashville in 2000. She is former vice chair of Women’s Health Partners and former executive director of Hospital Alliance of Tennessee. She was also the first woman to serve as deputy to the governor of Tennessee (1995–1996).

Her distinguished contributions to NC State include services as a member of the:

  • NC State Board of Trustees, serving for five years as the first chairwoman
  • UNC Board of Governors
  • NC Legislative Bond Oversight Committee
  • Athletics Council
  • Initial Board of Visitors
  • Wolfpack Club Board of Directors
  • 1997 and 2004 Chancellor’s Search Committees
  • Lifetime membership in the NC State Alumni Association
  • Park Scholars Selection Committee

Ms. 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 as the 1993 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna.

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

Chief Justice Burley B. Mitchell, Jr.

Justice Mitchell is a true leader in our community who has reached the highest levels of achievement in his own life, while also continually supporting NC State for four decades. Justice Mitchell is a CHASS alumnus who graduated with a BA in political science and was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters in 1995.

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

His distinguished contributions to NC State include service as a member of the:

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

In addition, Justice Mitchell was also:

  • A founding member of the State Club
  • Former president of the Alumni Association Board
  • A volunteer leader for 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 as a lifetime member of the NC State Alumni Association.

Photos from the 2014 Founders’ Day and Watauga Medal Celebration.

Past Recipients of the Watauga Medal.



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