It was a party 125 years in the making.
More than 4,500 NC State students, faculty, staff and supporters came to Reynolds Coliseum on April 2 for a raucous celebration of the university’s 125th birthday.
“One hundred and twenty-five years ago, four guys came together and said, ‘We’re going to create an amazing university that serves the people of North Carolina and people of America by doing world-class research and world-class education in things that people need,’” Chancellor Randy Woodson said. “And that’s 125 years of Wolfpack tradition.”
Woodson’s comments came a few minutes after he joined local band Old Man Whickutt to perform a Wolfpack-inspired rewrite of the Hank Williams standard, “I Saw The Light.” Playing acoustic guitar, Woodson also played NC State’s fight song with Old Man Whickutt and led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the university.
Earlier in the party, NC State head football coach Tom O’Brien joined emcee Korn Bascombe, outgoing Student Body President Chandler Thompson and Student Body President-elect Andy Walsh to announce the winner of the university’s 125th birthday video contest. In the winning video, Brandy Parker performed a song called “Wolfpack Rules,” singing and dancing to it with students at Centennial Campus Middle School performing it.
Parker, a graduate research assistant at the William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, won a $500 Visa gift card for her video. She and Lodge McCammon, the song’s composer and a specialist in curriculum and contemporary media at the Friday Institute, donated the gift card to Centennial Campus Middle School.
Members of the NC State men’s basketball team, fresh off their trip to the Sweet Sixteen, also appeared at the party.
Monday’s event continued the celebration of NC State’s 125 anniversary. Urged on by local leaders, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation creating the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts on March 7, 1887. The college opened its doors in 1889, subsequently changing its name to NC State and building a tradition of transformation in North Carolina, the nation and the world.
“This is a time to reflect on everything that this university means, all the great people that work here, amazing staff, outstanding faculty and world-class students — you’re good,” Woodson said. “But it’s also a time for us to think forward, think about what this university can be when we’re looking back 125 years from now.”