More than four years ago, we launched the public phase of the Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign with a bold vision. We wanted to unleash NC State’s enormous potential by investing in five priorities: purpose, places, leadership, experience and opportunity.
The results have far exceeded our expectations. They have been, well, extraordinary.
You, our donors, are supporting every college, program and unit in record-setting fashion. You are making an outstanding education more accessible, providing our students with high-impact experiences that shape their careers and lives, and ensuring our faculty members have the resources they need to empower the next generation of leaders and undertake research addressing our world’s challenges. You have helped us build not only facilities but also our endowment, which will sustain our future and our ability to ride out uncertainties of budget and economic change.
Our Campaign goal of $1.6 billion was ambitious. Surpassing it more than two years early, in November 2019, demonstrated the strength of our Wolfpack.
We knew our alumni, faculty and staff, students and friends were passionate about NC State. More than 100,000 of you have shown your passion by supporting this Campaign.
By the end of January 2021, we raised $1.9 billion. You have established 825 new scholarships and fellowships, already benefiting more than 2,000 students. Thirty-one students received our first-ever Extraordinary Opportunity Scholarships this spring and that initiative continues to gain momentum. We have created 99 new endowed faculty positions to help us attract and retain best-in-their-field professors and hope to add more. From Fitts-Woolard Hall and the Plant Sciences Building, to the Memorial Belltower at Henry Square that we will rededicate this spring with its first bells and more, you continue to transform our campus for a new generation of the Wolfpack.
You have truly changed lives. Even as our campus community faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, we came together. We completed a record-setting fundraising year. More than 4,600 donors responded to urgent needs by supporting our new Student Emergency Fund; since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, that fund has provided more than 2,600 grants to help students stay on track academically. Many of you are stepping up to fill the pandemic-related funding gap faced by our athletics program.
And as we recommit to efforts of diversity, inclusion and equity, we are just beginning to tap into how philanthropy can significantly help us meet our goals.
I am excited and grateful. I also am humbled, because the change we are seeing reaches beyond numbers alone. We are seeing a culture shift – a growing feeling that we’re all in this together. That engagement will benefit our university for years to come.
For all that we’ve accomplished, we know that our work is not done. This Campaign does not end until December 31, 2021. We continue fundraising across our priorities, with a focus on recommitting to and expanding on the promise of access that NC State has made since day one.
Paying for higher education is increasingly challenging, and it is more difficult than ever to work one’s way through college with part-time jobs. More than 70% of our undergraduates apply for financial aid. More than 50% qualify for some form of need-based help based on federal guidelines, with an average need of $16,000. Even with the use of loans, we fill 73% of this gap. We must do better.
There is no more transformational time in most people’s lives than college. Closing those doors to discovery and development before a qualified student even gets that chance means wasting talent. And we exist to nurture talent.
In my chancellor’s message at the Campaign’s beginning, I wrote that NC State would be different at the end of this effort. I believe that is certainly true, as our dreams, confidence and momentum continue to grow.
But in important ways, NC State remains the same university it has always been.
This institution’s critical mission is creating economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for the people of North Carolina and beyond. Every day, we drive cutting-edge research, translate scholarly innovation into practical applications and serve communities. We provide a place where talented students from rural or economically challenged areas, from groups that remain underrepresented on campuses like ours and from families who have been unable to experience higher education can thrive.
We are proud of our legacy as a real-world university of the people. That is how we started. That is who we still are, and that is who we still must be – only better.
To everyone who has supported this Campaign, thank you. I invite others to join us, as we Think and Do the Extraordinary.
W. Randolph Woodson
Read the chancellor’s previous Campaign message