Skip to main content

CCEE Alumna Barbara H. Mulkey Receives 2016 Watauga Medal

The following article has been adapted from the NCSU Giving Web site. Please click here to read the original article.

Barbara H. Mulkey received NC State University’s highest nonacademic honor Monday evening, March 7, during the annual Founders’ Day observance. The NC State University Board of Trustees has bestowed the medal each year since 1975 in recognition of extraordinary service and commitment to the university.  Mulkey, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from NC State, has a lengthy record of service that includes chairing the Board of Trustees (2011-13).

“Barbara Mulkey has been a wonderful leader for NC State both in official roles, such as chair of the Board of Trustees, and a little more behind the scenes, as a pioneer and inspiration for women students in engineering,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson, who presented the medal alongside Dr. Jim Owens, current chair of the Board of Trustees and himself a Watauga Medalist (2006).

The medal is named for the Watauga Club, a progressive group founded in 1884 by young men committed to promoting North Carolina’s educational, agricultural and industrial development. Its early activities included urging state leaders to open the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now NC State.

During his remarks, Woodson highlighted the university’s history as a land-grant institution, established through the federal Morrill Act to transform public higher education by expanding opportunity and adding practical and applied agriculture, technology and science to classical curricula. On March 7, 1887, the General Assembly passed the bill that founded the university, which opened to students in October 1889.

In addition to her 2007-15 service on the Board of Trustees, Mulkey’s past and current NC State affiliations include:

  • Board of Visitors (vice chair)
  • NC State Investment Fund Members Board
  • University Engagement Advisory Board
  • Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund (chair)
  • Engineering Foundation Board
  • Civil Engineering Advisory Board
  • Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science Board
  • State Club (founding member)
  • Alumni Association (honorary lifetime member)

The retired founder and chair of Mulkey Engineers & Consultants, Mulkey is a member of NC State’s W.C. Riddick Lifetime Giving Society and the Chancellor’s Circle, and established the Mulkey/Shelton Leadership Award Endowment for engineering students. The Cary resident has been honored as a College of Engineering Alumnus of the Year and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award recipient. In addition to serving as an inspirational speaker at university and college events, Mulkey has mentored many students.

In receiving the Watauga Medal, she spoke of her pride in NC State’s mix of traditional and cutting-edge, sense of family, and outstanding educational, research and statewide outreach programs. Mulkey said that most of all, she enjoys interacting with students — including scholarship winners, participants in entrepreneurship initiatives, and scholars who are the first in their family to attend college or who struggle to pay for school.

George L. Worsley Jr. was also honored with a Watauga Medal. In addition to volunteer roles, Worsley enjoyed an outstanding 41-year career at the university, including 28 years as vice chancellor for finance and business and as the chief financial officer.