CALS Donor Recognition Event, February 17, 2013 (Schal video)
After 52 years in the business, during which he developed and promoted the highly acclaimed Whitmire Scientific Symposium-an educational program for the industry, Mr. Blanton J. Whitmire retired as President and CEO of Whitmire Research Laboratories. Throughout his association with Whitmire Research Laboratories, Mr. Whitmire reasoned that the ecology of structural pests and their proximity to humans-especially children, and pets, would prescribe that safer alternatives to baseboard sprays of insecticides be developed. With support from Mr. Whitmire, and in collaboration with pest control practitioners and toxicologists, Dr. Charles G. Wright of North Carolina State University painstakingly documented that traditional insecticide applications resulted in extensive drift to non-target areas. Together with Mr. Whitmire’s Whitmire Research Laboratories, he then showed that targeting pesticides to “cracks-and-crevices”, microhabitats that harbor pests, not only reduced the amount of insecticide that was used, but also its translocation and contamination of other surfaces, including kitchen work surfaces. This research led to Whitmire’s revolutionary development of targeted, reduced-risk delivery systems, advances that have changed the pest control industry on an international scale. Dr. Wright served as the intellectual inspiration for Mr. Whitmire’s ideas and his NCSU research program generated empirical support for these concepts.
Through his long-time association and collaboration with Dr. Wright, Mr. Whitmire recognized the importance of research and higher education to his industry and he saw within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University an unmatched opportunity to build a world-class program in Urban Entomology. Mr. Whitmire provided CALS with an endowment of more than $3 million toward two distinguished professorships in the Entomology Department:
Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor of Structural Pest Management (established 1987)
Charles G. Wright Distinguished Professor of Structural Pest Management (established 1997)
Mr. Whitmire was presented NCSU’s 2000 Watauga Medal for his steadfast championing and implementation of less intrusive pest control, and in 2004 was elected to Pest Management Professional Magazine’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Wright, now retired, received North Carolina State University’s Retired Faculty Resource Development Award.
Among others, Mr. and Mrs. Whitmire have also endowed the Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professorship of Environmental Sciences at Western Carolina University in Sylva, North Carolina, the Margaret S. and Blanton J. Whitmire Laboratory at the Danforth Center, and the Whitmire Wildflower Garden in St. Louis, MO.
Margaret “Peggy” Whitmire passed away December 12, 2010, on her 92nd birthday.
Blanton Whitmire died May 24, 2015, at his home in Kirkwood. He was 97.
2005: Blanton & Peggy Whitmire visit NCSU, Urban Entomology program luncheon at J.C. Raulston Arboretum
2002: Blanton & Peggy Whitmire visit NCSU, Urban Entomology program update at the Talley Student Center
2000: Blanton & Peggy Whitmire visit NCSU, Blanton accepts NCSU’s Watauga Medal
1995: Blanton & Peggy Whitmire visit NCSU, Lab dedication and luncheon at the Cardinal Club