Durham architect to speak at NCSU commencement

Posted April 11, 2013

— Architect Philip Freelon, lead designer for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., will deliver the North Carolina State University commencement address, officials said Thursday.

The graduation ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. May 11 at the PNC Center in Raleigh.

During the ceremony, Chancellor Randy Woodson will confer honorary degrees on PepsiCo Chairman and Chief Executive Indra K. Nooyi and Michael Wingfield, an internationally recognized expert on tree health.

Freelon, founder and president of The Freelon Group, leads the Freelon Adjaye Bond design team for the new Smithsonian museum, scheduled to open in 2015 next to the Washington Monument.

The Freelon Group has completed major museum projects in Baltimore, San Francisco, Greensboro and Charlotte and is working on N.C. State's Gregg Museum of Art & Design. Other projects include libraries in Washington, Atlanta and Chicago, the spiral-ramped parking garage at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the Partners III research building on N.C. State's Centennial Campus.

Freelon earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from N.C. State and a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served as an adjunct professor for N.C. State’s College of Design and on the university’s Board of Trustees.

Nooyi has directed PepsiCo’s global strategy for more than a decade. During that time, the company has spun off its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands Inc., acquired Tropicana and merged with Quaker Oats, which included the Gatorade business.

Wingfield, the founding director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, has conducted research on tree pests and pathogens for more than 30 years. His work has contributed to a better understanding of insects and diseases in commercial tree plantations, leading to new management practices and solutions, and he initiated the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme, which has become the single largest tree health project in the world.

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  • HotChocolate Apr 15, 2013

    The General Aviation Terminal at RDU is my favorite of Mr. Freelon's work. For aviation fans that is the best spot on the airport.