It’s a historic time of achievement at NC State, Chancellor Randy Woodson told a rapt audience of students, faculty and staff at his state-of-the-university address at Talley Student Union on March 17.
Those achievements cover the spectrum of NC State’s land-grant mission, from expending $400 million on externally funded research that solves global challenges; to partnerships with industry and government that create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity; to innovative student and faculty work that yields new ideas, products and services.
Obama Announces Manufacturing Institute
In recent months, federal agencies have tapped NC State to lead major initiatives that will shape industries and solve problems. President Barack Obama came to campus to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy has selected NC State to lead the $140 million Next Generation Power Electronics National Manufacturing Innovation Institute. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has chosen NC State to lead the Southeast Regional Climate Hub. And NC State is the home of the new $60 million Laboratory for Analytical Sciences.
Industry partners have also increasingly turned to NC State, its world-leading faculty and its high-performing students. Eastman Chemical, LexisNexis and ABB have all announced moves to Centennial Campus recently.
“Each individual announcement is meaningful, and together they mark a significant point in history for our university,” Woodson said. “It’s no coincidence that NC State is gaining this type of recognition. It goes back to our people, our plan and our Think and Do culture.”
The campus itself has undergone significant change to foster innovative, interdisciplinary work. In January 2013, the Hunt Library — one of the most technologically advanced libraries in the world — opened to widespread acclaim. The new Talley Student Union and new housing and dining options on Centennial Campus will help “build community and enhance student success,” Woodson said.
In July 2013, the College of Sciences launched, facilitating interdisciplinary excellence in the mathematical, physical and biological sciences.
NC State also set new standards for external support, drawing $198.2 million in private gifts and pledges. Among those gifts was a $50 million donation to the Park Scholars program, which administers one of the nation’s premier scholarships.
Partners and supporters are not the only ones to take note of NC State’s recent accomplishments, Woodson said. U.S. News & World Report listed NC State as the No. 1 land-grant university in granting the largest proportion of science, technology, engineering and math degrees to its graduates. U.S. News also ranked NC State a top-10 “up-and-comer” among public universities. And NC State once again appears near the top of “best value” rankings among public universities, rising to fourth on the Princeton Review/USA Today list and fifth on the U.S. News list.
A third-party analysis also found that NC State graduates have the highest starting salaries among all colleges and universities in the UNC system.
“Record-breaking research, industry-leading partnerships, top national value and the highest starting salaries — we are certainly on a great trajectory,” Woodson said.
Carrying that trajectory forward, Woodson outlined ambitious goals for the future: passing $500 million in annual sponsored research spending, consistently ranking among the top 10 in industry support and continuing to raise the quality of student applicants.
“Simply put, we want to be known as the pre-eminent research enterprise, anywhere,” he said.