NC State University alumni Rick and Linda Elmore don’t have to look far to see the transformational effect of private support and scholarships.
A mirror would do.
Rick, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Textiles in 1992, received scholarships as an upperclassman. Linda, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education in 1991, was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. The Teaching Fellows program provided competitive scholarships for North Carolina students who committed to teach in the state’s public schools for at least four years.
“It would’ve been very difficult — and I’m not even sure possible — to go to college without the scholarship,” Linda said.
Rick also acknowledges the generational benefit of scholarship-aided education in his life. His late father was an NC State alumnus who attended the university solely because of scholarship support.
“My father was the first to go to school in his family. His achievement then yielded the opportunity for my sister and me to go to school,” Rick said. “We have had tremendous opportunities, and I want to pass that on to our children and hopefully our children’s children.”
A desire to create similar opportunities for current and future NC State students led the Elmores to establish the Robert W. Elmore Textile Scholarship, which is named in memory of Rick’s father and provides support for students in the College of Textiles. Rick also serves on the North Carolina Textile Foundation Board of Directors.
Loyal donors to their alma mater, Rick and Linda are the new co-chairs of NC State’s Chancellor’s Circle, which recognizes donors who make annual leadership gifts to the university. The Elmores hope to encourage fellow alumni to give by tapping into personal stories and emphasizing the lifelong value of an NC State education.
I see this role as a tribute to the professors and friends and to the experiences that helped shape me.
Linda credits her time at NC State with helping her become more focused and organized. She was particularly influenced by biology and botany classes, which she says “awakened a sense of responsibility.” During her junior and senior years, Linda became more involved in extracurricular activities at the university, including her sorority, clubs and volunteer work.
“The more I grew into different roles at State, the more I felt this was more than just a university,” she said. “It was a home, and I was creating a new family.”
Like Linda, Rick said the university felt like home — providing him with the tools he needed to start his career, while also allowing him to discover his own identity.
“The connections between the students and the faculty were phenomenal,” he said. “That’s what makes State special and, in my opinion, differentiates us from other universities.”
Although the Elmores were on campus at the same time as students, their paths didn’t cross until after they graduated from NC State and started their careers. Linda was teaching at a high school near Raleigh, and Rick was working as a student recruiter for the College of Textiles.
“I went to every high school in the state of North Carolina to encourage interest in State and the College of Textiles. I met Linda when I talked to her students,” Rick said. “The running joke was that I actually recruited my wife and not just students.”
The Elmores, who live in Winston-Salem and have two children, now have another connection to NC State. Their son, Rob, is a sophomore in the College of Sciences.
“Having him go to the same university, listening to his experiences and walking on campus 20-plus years later to see it as he would as a freshman was an amazing experience. I felt such a connection to him and back to the university. It brought back a flurry of memories,” Linda said. “Had he gone somewhere else, I would’ve been just as happy for him, but there was a specialness about him choosing State.”
As this year’s Chancellor’s Circle co-chairs, the Elmores hope to impact students at the university — and their families — for years to come.
We have the ability to not only change this generation, but future generations. And that, to me, is significant.