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Extraordinary Expectations Exceeded

fireworks next to the belltower
Photo by Marc Hall.

NC State University has already surpassed the $1.6 billion goal of its Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign, more than two years ahead of schedule.

The university publicly launched the fundraising Campaign, the largest and most ambitious in its history, in October 2016 with an end date of Dec. 31, 2021.

The total raised so far is $1,617,927,266, Chancellor Randy Woodson announced Friday during his annual Fall Address. He called the results transformational.

“This is a truly historic moment for our university,” he said. “We launched this Campaign with bold goals, and our Wolfpack community’s response has been passionate and record setting. NC State is on a tremendous upward trajectory, from our students’ academic credentials and performance, to faculty accomplishment and peer and program rankings.

“Extraordinary private support fuels every part of our strategic vision and sends a strong message about our energy, confidence and momentum. Donors are empowering our more than 36,000 students with greater opportunities and experiences. They’re helping NC State attract and retain outstanding faculty who are innovative leaders and problem-solvers in their fields, providing cutting-edge facilities and so much more. I couldn’t be prouder of what we’re accomplishing together.”

Among the Campaign highlights to this point:

  • Establishment of 636 new scholarships and fellowships, which already have benefited an additional 2,000 students.
  • Creation of 83 new endowed faculty positions, recognizing and supporting the work of exemplary faculty. Among these new positions are NC State’s first endowed dean’s chair, the Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. chair in the Poole College of Management, and the Dr. Kady M. Gjessing and Rahna M. Davidson Distinguished Chair in Gerontology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, which anchors a program that’s the first of its kind in the nation.
  • A 178% increase in the university’s endowment, raising it to $1.4 billion and placing it among the country’s 100 largest higher education endowments.
  • Ground-breaking on Centennial Campus for two state-of-the-art facilities led by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, respectively: the Plant Sciences Building (boosted by a $45 million gift from the Golden LEAF Foundation) and Fitts-Woolard Hall (named to honor a $25 million commitment from alumni Ed Fitts and Ed Woolard). Both buildings also are benefiting from statewide support through the Connect NC Bond.
  • The university’s second named college, Wilson College of Textiles, thanks to a $28 million commitment from alumnus Fred Wilson Jr. and family that enables NC State to stand at the forefront of a resurgent and increasingly specialized U.S. textiles industry.
  • Three years in a row of record-setting fundraising for the university, averaging $220 million annually.
  • The university’s first Day of Giving, which raised more than $13.5 million from more than 7,500 donors (a third of them first-time donors) in just 24 hours in March.

Even More Milestones

Campaign milestones also include the establishment of the university’s first named center, the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies housed within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

A major restoration project is in progress at the Memorial Belltower at Henry Square, including the upcoming installation of a 55-bell carillon to complete the century-old design. The renovated Gregg Museum of Art & Design and William Neal Reynolds Coliseum have opened. The James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum has been dedicated, the Albright Sports Medicine Center within the Murphy Football Center debuted this summer and work is underway on other facilities such as the Reedy Creek Equine Farm.

Along with the creation of new scholarships and fellowships, donors continue to strengthen vital existing initiatives including the Park Scholarships and Caldwell Fellows, and the Goodnight Scholars Program has added transfer students from North Carolina community colleges.

The latter is just one of several new pathways to an NC State degree bolstered by the Campaign. Others include the STEAM (Student Transition Enrollment Advising and Mentoring) program within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which makes higher education more accessible to rural students, and the Community College Collaboration (C3), a dual-admission program between NC State and 10 community college partners.

More than 530 NC State students who are the children or dependents of the university’s faculty and staff members have received more than $1 million in grants from the Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship, established during the campaign by Woodson and his wife, Susan, and supported by more than 300 other donors.

Campaign donors are involved in new ways of connecting students to critical resources once they’re on campus, such as the Student Emergency Fund, Pack Meal Plan Scholarships and Feed the Pack Food Pantry.

Nearly $600,000 in campaign gifts have contributed to a tripling of scholarship funding for study abroad since 2011-12, with nearly $2 million in scholarships awarded to 1,333 students, powering a 53.6% increase in total enrollment in study abroad and a 129% increase in underrepresented students.

Brian Sischo, vice chancellor for university advancement, expressed gratitude to the Campaign’s co-chairs – Vickie and Jimmy Clark, Sarah and Lawrence Davenport, Ann and Jim Goodnight, and Carol and Lonnie Poole – as well as its approximately 88,000 donors from all 100 counties in North Carolina, all 50 states and some 65 countries. Giving levels are rising among students, faculty and staff, as well as among alumni.

“We knew it would take a committed team working hard and collaboratively to achieve this goal,” Sischo said. “We’re also engaging more and more of the university community, and connecting donors with their passions. Nearly 2,000 new funds have been established to support particular purposes, which range from athletics and leadership education to libraries and entrepreneurship.

“We’re truly building a stronger culture of philanthropy and a spirit of giving back, and that will make NC State stronger for years to come.”

Campaign Efforts Not Stopping

Building on the momentum of surpassing its goal early, the Campaign will continue through its previously scheduled end date.

Along with ongoing efforts to fund facilities, professorships and more, one emphasis will be on continuing to close the financial gap faced by many lower- and middle-income students.

“We’re certainly not stopping. We’re going to keep working hard to generate private support that will help NC State achieve its remarkable potential,” Woodson said. “We will focus much of our effort over the next two years on generating scholarship and financial support for deserving students who otherwise would not have the extraordinary opportunity to earn an NC State degree.

“Our university has always kept its promise of access, and we remain the largest educator of North Carolinians. Nearly a third of these students are from rural communities, and many are first-generation college students. Investing in our students is so important.”

According to the university’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, more than 50 percent of NC State’s undergraduates qualify for some form of need-based aid, with the average need topping $16,000 per student. The university is currently able to meet just under 73 percent of the need.

“The extraordinary success of this Campaign isn’t measured only by dollars raised. It’s about impact,” Woodson said. “The Campaign is transforming NC State’s future and it’s an exciting time to be part of the Wolfpack.”