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*Special* Alumni Profile of Our Friend Mark Wagoner (1971-2003)

This page is borrowed from the NC State Caldwell Fellows Alumni Profile of Mark Wagoner. It was once found through the NCSU Caldwell Fellows Program here. I can't seem to find it online anymore, so I decided to post it here. You may also want to look at his obituary. We miss you, Mark! --Kyle=

Mark Wagoner’s passion for adventure and service was boundless. His zest for life profoundly impacted those around him. He loved to share his excitement for the outdoors with others.

Mark graduated in 1989 from the NC School of Math and Science in Durham. Mark scored 1580 on the SAT and was accepted at NC State University, where he was a National Merit Scholar, a Caldwell Scholar, a member of the NC Fellows Program, and a Rhodes Scholar Nominee. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with B.S. Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics in 1994. After graduating, Mark worked at Proctor & Gamble in Browns Summit, NC, from 1994 to 2001. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University in May, 2003.

Mark first became interested in mountaineering at an outdoor leadership development course to the Rockies with The Caldwell Fellows Program in 1990. Some of his major accomplishments in this area include National Outdoor Leadership School training in Alaska, certified Wilderness First Responder, and Instructor with Colorado Outward Bound. He also led technical climbs on Mt. Rainer in Washington, Mt. Hood in Oregon, and in Ecuador. He remained active in The Caldwell Programs, co-leading several wilderness experiences for Caldwell Fellows each spring.

On May 28, 2003 Mark was tragically killed in a plane crash while heading to Mt. Foraker in Denali National Park, Alaska. He had left a Caldwell Fellows spring trip to Colorado two days previously and was headed to Alaska for a personal climb when the plane crashed.

Jerry Barker, with whom Mark had co-led six wilderness trips, said, “He was a wonderful young man with a great zeal for life. Once you got to know him, he was one of those you get real close to. As students would spend a week with him in the woods, they felt like he was really a good friend. He loved the mountains and really loved teaching other people about camping and mountaineering. He was a great example of giving back to a program that had meant a lot to him."

As a tribute and as a celebration of his life, his parents, L.E. Jr. and Rachel Wagoner, his brother, Todd, and fiancée Becky Roberge have established a memorial fund within the Alumni Association to provide assistance for Caldwell Fellows to have outdoor educational experiences like those Mark enjoyed leading. Donations may be sent to: NCSU Caldwell Fellows Program, Attn: Mark Wagoner Memorial Fund, Box 7316, Raleigh, NC 27695.

One of Mark’s favorite quotes:
“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down…so why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. In climbing take careful note of the difficulties along the way; for as you go up you can observe them. Coming down you will no longer see them, but you will know they are there if you have observed them well. There is an art of finding one’s direction in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”
- Rene Daumal, Mount Analogue


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Mark was born in Alamance County on September 23, 1971. In the short span of his life, Mark's passion for adventure and indelible zest for life profoundly impacted those around him. He loved to share his excitement of the outdoors with others. [Read More]

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