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Comments by Dr. Oscar Fletcher


Dr. Oscar Fletcher, Dean Emeritus, served as Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1992 to 2004 before stepping down to join the faculty in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology. Dr. Fletcher worked closely with Randall B. Terry, Jr. when Terry served as president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation and plans for the new veterinary medical center were initiated. Dr. Fletcher continues to serve on the R.B. Terry, Jr. Charitable Foundation.

Good Afternoon Everyone…..What a Great Day.

An emotional day – Joy is an emotion, isn’t it?

I wish we didn’t use superlatives all the time for superficial & trivial things ---- it seems better to reserve them for days like this.

We do need at this time of celebration, to take a few minutes to remember Randall Terry.

It is my great honor to share a few thoughts about Randall.

There are at least three major ways in which Randall made a difference for the College of Veterinary Medicine at NC State:

#1 was the generosity with which he gave his personal time and his considerable advice.

One of his themes was that we, the College of Veterinary Medicine, needed a “White Hat” ---like the hero in a Western movie----We needed a physical presence that would make everybody passing by know that this was a special place. Randall knew it was special because he had experienced firsthand the care and compassion delivered to his Golden Retrievers. These canine companions were his close family and this human-animal bond was the foundation of his involvement with us. This “White Hat” advice – repeated on every contact with him---influenced and shaped the vision and a plan that became bigger than it otherwise would have been.

#2 was Randall’s contribution to helping build a network of people that proved essential to the success of this new veterinary medical center. We could call this relationship building or building Human – Human bonds.

Randall’s membership on the NC Veterinary Medical Foundation Board and his leadership through his two terms as President came at a critical time as we developed the vision and worked on specific plans for the Center. Randall and all of the Foundation Board members provided enthusiastic support that was absolutely required. It would have been easy to give multiple reasons why this vision could not succeed. If any of the Board members thought this was a Mission Impossible, they never expressed it in front of Randall. Those of us who represented the College wanted to show Randall that we could do it. We didn’t want to let him down or fail to meet his expectations.

This was during a time in which we did not know the full extent of Randall’s commitment to provide money to back up his time and advice.

We would have missed the window of opportunity for State funding if the right people had not been in the right place at the right time. Many of you are here today and you have our deep appreciation.

#3 was money. There is no other way to say it. Without money to pay for a study of teaching hospital space and architectural planning, we could not have been far enough into the planning process to hit the window of opportunity for State funding. Randall, through the R. B. Terry Charitable Foundation (named for his father) provided about $4mm beginning in the late 1990’s and continuing though about 2003. These funds proved critical for the success that we are now celebrating.

The Terry Foundation pledge of $20mm, later increased by a $5mm challenge commitment, provided a strong base of private support that was essential to making the case for State funding.

Timing is everything. Without all the elements in place ---vision, strategic and specific plans, money, and the right people in the right place at the right time, we would not be having this celebration today.

I know that Luck also plays a part in a success like this. Randall was a master bridge player, and I think he would say you better put in the time to be prepared if you expect to be favored by luck.

Randall would be very proud of this “White Hat”…now named the Randall B. Terry, Jr. Veterinary Medical Center. Randall was not interested in having his name on buildings. He wanted to “make a difference”. Randall wanted to leverage his time, his advice, and especially his money.

Randall would be proud because he helped shape a big vision and build a network of friends. His money stimulated others to give and resulted in another significant investment in this College by the State of NC, for which we all are most thankful.

Randall made a difference here and we honor his memory as we celebrate this special day.