Jim Futrell remembers the day his parents dropped him off at NC State and drove away. It was more than 50 years ago, and Futrell still says that was the most lonesome moment in his life. “I was scared to death,” he says.
But Futrell, who grew up in the Eastern North Carolina town of Potecasi, quickly found a home at NC State. He was president and social director of Bragaw Dorm and majored in agricultural education, graduating in 1962 before going on to earn a master’s degree in adult education in 1968. He went on to work as vice president of public relations/communications for Farm Credit Banks of Columbia, S.C., and then as a city and county manager in South Carolina.
Futrell is back on campus today for the 50th reunion of the Class of ’62. He is joined by more than 80 classmates and their spouses, the largest group to attend a 50th reunion at NC State.
Futrell is quick to thank the members of the reunion planning committee for the turnout, but it started with Futrell and the many hours he spent on the phone. Futrell, the permanent Class of 1962 president, had a goal to contact all 1,200 living members of the class. He would start calling at 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday morning, and make calls for 6-8 hours. By the time he was done, he had reached about 1,000 classmates.
“I told them to get these dates on your calendar,” he says. “A lot of them were very excited.”
The reunion activities kick off this morning with a tour of the chancellor’s new residence next to the Park Alumni Center. The group will also visit D.H. Hill Library, tour the Bell Tower and hear from former UNC system President William Friday ’41 at a banquet tonight at Vaughn Towers. Friday spoke at the group’s graduation 50 years ago.
On Saturday, the group will take a bus tour of campus before being welcomed into the Forever Club during a lunch at the University Club. The weekend’s festivities will end Saturday night with a barbecue dinner at the Park Alumni Center.
“I hope they will see how much the university has grown and changed,” Futrell said of his classmates. “But changed for the better.”