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History of North Carolina State University, Part III

As the 1980s wound down, NC State celebrated its 100th anniversary (1987) and launched its second hundred years by giving shape to the vision for Centennial Campus.

Now a national model for partnerships built around teaching, research and economic development, Centennial Campus continued to expand when Burlington Textiles Library became the first library unit on Centennial Campus (’91) and ABB became the first industrial partner (’92).

There also were several “firsts” for women and African Americans on campus: James Anderson became the university’s first African American dean; Augustus McIver Witherspoon Student Center was named, becoming the first building on campus named after an African-American; Katherine Stinson, the first woman to graduate from NC State's School of Engineering, has a street named after her; Peaches Blank was named the first female chair of the university's Board of Trustees; Elizabeth C. Theil became the first woman at NC State to hold a named professorship, and is honored with the University of North Carolina's O. Max Gardner Award; Debra Stewart was appointed dean of the Graduate School, the first woman to be named dean; Melinda Hollingshead (August) and Cathy Carlson (December) received the first Ph.D. degrees awarded by the School of Veterinary Medicine's; Christine Grant became the first African-American woman appointed to the faculty member of the College of Engineering; Marye Anne Fox was the first woman to be named chancellor at NC State.

The Park Foundation established the Park Scholarships program at NC State.  Named for NC State graduate Roy Park, the Park Scholarships provide educational opportunity for exceptionally talented and well-prepared students to develop in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

In athletics accomplishments, Wolfpack women’s coach Kay Yow led the U.S. women's basketball team to a gold medal in 1988, while the men’s basketball team played the first game at RBC Center.

Larry K. Monteith


In 1990 Larry K. Monteith, an alumnus and former dean of the College of Engineering, became chancellor and NC State’s 11th chief administrative officer. Among his initiatives were the creation of the Division of Undergraduate Studies and the First Year Experience Program. The College of Textiles and ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), NC State’s first corporate partner, moved to Centennial Campus in 1991.

In 1992, the College of Management was established. Also during Monteith’s tenure, NC State earned a chapter of the elite Phi Beta Kappa honor society, strengthened its endowment and completed a major fund-raising campaign for student scholarships and fellowships.

Marye Anne Fox


Marye Anne Fox became chancellor in August 1998. During her tenure, the number of endowed chairs and professorships, as well as endowed and designated merit scholarships, increased substantially. The number of buildings on Centennial Campus doubled. The university emerged as a national pacesetter in a number of science and technology programs.

The School of Design became the College of Design, and the College of Education and Psychology became the College of Education, with the Department of Psychology moving into the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The College of Forest Resources became the College of Natural Resources.

James L. Oblinger


James Oblinger, a former provost and dean at NC State, became chancellor in January 2005. During his administration, the university initiated Pack Promise, a scholarship and student success program low-income students and their families. NC State completed a billion-dollar fund-raising campaign and continued to make major facility improvements through the Higher Education Bond Referendum funding. International partnerships increased, as NC State signed academic agreements with universities in China, Europe and South America.

The university continued to build on its economic development portfolio with initiatives such as the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC). BTEC was the first facility of its kind in the nation, bringing students from across the state to train for North Carolina's growing biotechnology industry.

The University's Mission Continues

NC State is currently the largest of the 16 institutions in The University of North Carolina system, with more than 34,000 students, and it is the UNC system’s flagship campus for science and technology.

Known as the "People's University," NC State has developed into a vital educational and economic resource, and a wealth of university outreach and extension programs provide services and education to all sectors of the state’s economy and its citizens.

Consistently ranked a national best value and among the nation’s top 40 public universities, NC State is an active and vital part of North Carolina life.

Along with its historic strengths in agriculture and engineering, NC State has evolved into a comprehensive community of scholars with outstanding degree programs in the humanities and social sciences, design, education, life sciences, management, natural resources, physical and mathematical sciences, textiles and veterinary medicine.

It educates students for 21st century life and work, forges unique partnerships that generate economic development, and applies its research discoveries for the benefit of people across North Carolina and the nation. The university serves all North Carolina communities through research, extension and economic development activities.

Centennial Campus, which houses state–of–the–art laboratories, classrooms, and government and industry partners, is one of the fastest growing campuses of its kind in the nation and is the widely recognized model for how universities can construct partnerships with government and the private sector.


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