Lanier Becomes 1st ISE Alumna to Receive Watauga Medal

Gayle Lanier, BSIE ‘82, is the first female alumna of the department to receive the prestigious Watauga Medal as part of this year’s Founders Day celebration. “I have been truly humbled and honored by this recognition,” confided Lanier. “NC State has been wonderful in providing me with the fundamentals to be successful in my career. Giving back has been solely out of my love for this University, its faculty and staff, and most importantly, the students it serves.” She becomes the sixth ISE alumnus to receive the University’s highest non-academic honor joining fellow ISE Distinguished Alumni

Gayle Lanier receives Watauga Medal from Chancellor Randy Woodson

“I hope the example I have set confirms for other women engineers, like my daughter Brittany Lanier (another NC State alum, BS, Chemical Engineering 2007) that you can do and be anything,” shared Lanier. “Education, hard work and a strong believe in yourself is all you need.”

“Gayle is an outstanding example of someone who has given back to her alma mater and improves the department, college, and university,” shared ISE Department Head Paul Cohen. “As a member of our Advisory Board, I rely on her experience and judgment to inform and help us move forward. She is most deserving of this prestigious honor.”

The Award

Awarding the Watauga Medal began in 1975 to those who have made an exceptional commitment to the advancement of NC State University. Over those 42 years, 115 men and women have received the prestigious award.

About Gayle Lanier

After graduating from NC State, Lanier has held leadership roles at both Nortel and EMC. Currently, she serves as the Senior Vice President of Customer Services at Duke Energy.

Lanier’s commitment to the ISE Department and the University is unwavering. She is a current member of ISE’s Advisory Board and a past member of the University’s Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors. Other appointments include:

  • National Minority Engineering Programs Board
  • Engineering Foundation Board
  • Kenan Institute Board
  • Computer Science Strategic Advisory Board
  • Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund

Lanier’s support of gender and racial diversity earned her The Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business Award in 2009 and the Business Leader Women Extraordinaire Award in 2011. Along with her husband, she established the Dwain K. and Gayle S. Lanier NCSU Scholarship Endowment in 2003 to help benefit need-based engineering and Poole College of Management students.

“Today there are more women leaders in STEM careers than there have ever been, but there are still not enough,” said Lanier. “Like myself, senior women leaders across the world are embracing the fast-paced world we live in and providing solutions to problems that we not even identified ten years ago. From Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook, Ursula Burns, Chair-CEO Xerox, and Lynn Good, Chair-CEO Duke Energy, women are leading Fortune 100 companies across the globe. Education is the great equalizer and NC State is among the best universities in the nation providing the skills that women need to bring the unique diversity of thought as a welcomed balance to the standard boardroom.”