Ruby McSwain Education Center
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Location: West Campus
North Carolina State University officials broke ground December 20, 2000 on a new 6,000-square-foot education center at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. The event marked the start of construction on the first building, statewide, funded as a result of the $3.1 billion higher education bond referendum passed by North Carolina voters on November 7, 2000. At the groundbreaking, then Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said, "It is fitting that the first structure built with support from bond money be a center for education that will be used by students, faculty, industry and the public alike. This is the type of wise investment in the future that voters had in mind when they approved the bond referendum."
The $4.2 million Ruby C. McSwain Education Center is a teaching, outreach and extension facility that houses classrooms and an auditorium. Bond funds provided $500,000 for the building, and private donations supplied $3.7 million. The center is used by NC State students, the Friends of the Arboretum, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service field faculty, local garden clubs, green industry representatives and other gardening-related groups.
The center is named for Ruby Vann Crumpler McSwain of Sanford, who donated $1.2 million toward its completion. McSwain, known by many as "Ms. Ruby," is a noted philanthropist and has been one of the college's more generous benefactors. In 1997, she donated 300 acres and a historic house to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc. for North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Lee County Center. She was named Citizen of the Year in 1997 by The Sanford Herald and Philanthropist of the Year in 1998 by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives' Triangle Chapter. She is a major benefactor of Meredith College and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
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