A partner in one of North Carolina’s top law firms, a business leader and a former energy and defense industry executive have received the prestigious Watauga Medal for distinguished service to North Carolina State University. Thomas E. Cabaniss, Thomas S. Kenan III and Robert P. Kennel accepted NC State’s highest nonacademic honor at the Founders’ Day Dinner on March 4.
Thomas E. Cabaniss
Cabaniss serves as managing partner of McGuireWoods LLP, focusing on corporate finance, restructuring and bankruptcy.
He is a former president of the NC State Alumni Association Board of Directors, and a former member of the NC State University Foundation Board of Directors, the Alumni Association Campaign for Excellence Committee and Coalition 2000. He has also served as a founding member of the State Club Board of Directors and vice president of the NC State Student Aid Association. He is a member of the W.H. Page Lifetime Giving Society and a Lifetime Member of the NC State Alumni Association. He established the Tom Cabaniss Scholarship for Volleyball and the 125th Anniversary Challenge to encourage alumni giving to the university.
Cabaniss earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at NC State and a law degree at the University of Virginia.
Thomas S. Kenan III
Kenan is vice chairman and director of Flagler System Inc. and former chairman of the board of Kenan Transport Company, a petroleum transportation business.
He has served as a trustee or officer with numerous philanthropic organizations, including the Thomas S. Kenan III Foundation, Randleigh Foundation Trust, William R. Kenan Jr. Fund, William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. He has supported a wide range of NC State programs, including the Randleigh Farm Museum and Milking Center, William Rand Kenan Jr. Library of Veterinary Medicine, William R. Kenan Jr. Memorial Scholarship in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Frank Hawkins Kenan Professorship of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University Faculty Scholars Program, and William R. Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science. He is a former director of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation.
Kenan earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Robert P. Kennel
Kennel is a former U.S. Air Force nuclear research officer with extensive experience in national defense and sustainable energy. He served as scientific director at the Aerospace Corporation and senior vice president at LG&E Energy Inc.
He was inaugural president of the NC State Parents’ Association and former president of the Development Board, Alumni Association Board of Directors and Capital Area NC State Alumni Club. He has served as a member of the Alumni Association Campaign for Excellence Committee, Friends of the Library Board, Coalition 2000, C. W. Dabney Lifetime Giving Society and Park Scholars Selection Committee. He was the Athletics Council representative to the Alumni Association Board of Directors and chair of the Class of 1958 Reunion Committee.
He is a founding member of the State Club Board of Directors, a charter partner of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and a Lifetime Member of the NC State Alumni Association. He was executive director of the Council of UNC Alumni Association Presidents for 16 years. He established the Robert & Elaine Kennel Scholarship for Baseball and the Robert P. and Elaine L. Kennel Endowment in the John T. Caldwell Alumni Scholarship/Caldwell Fellows Program. He serves on the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame Election Committee.
Kennel earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from NC State.