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Year in Review

From the White House to Tahrir Square, NC State had a global impact in 2011. Over the course of the eventful year, our research flew into space on the final shuttle mission, our chancellor cultivated new partnerships in the shadow of the Great Wall, and our reputation for innovation brought public and private leaders to our door seeking ways to create jobs and improve the economy.

The value of NC State as a driver of transformational change was never more evident than in 2011. Faced with tough economic realities, we sharpened our strategic focus, realigned operations and committed more resources to our core academic and research mission.

Here are just a few of the people, ideas and accomplishments that defined NC State in 2011:

The Inventors

Marian McCord
Dr. Marian McCord checks mosquito netting.

For 125 years NC State has turned out innovative ideas to improve lives and change the world. Our research has spun off more than 80 startup companies and drawn $750 million in venture capital.

It’s no accident.

“Innovative, creative and committed faculty are the engine of a great university,” says Chancellor Randy Woodson.

Leading the Economic Recovery

NC State’s pioneering research park, Centennial Campus, played host to energy industry leaders and public officials in June. Chancellor Randy Woodson welcomed the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which met to find ways to revitalize and transform the economy. The NC State event coincided with President Obama’s visit to the region.

White House Honors

Dr. B. Jayant Baliga
Engineering researcher Jay Baliga in the lab

NC State researchers caught the attention of Washington in 2011, bringing White House invitations to several. Dr. Jay Baliga received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, for his work with semiconductors. Dr. Michael Escuti received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for research that revolutionized the use of lasers. And Ph.D. student Zebetta King received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for her work in Wake County public schools.

A Presidential Visit

President Obama received an enthusiastic welcome from NC State students when he visited campus in September to rally support for his economic policies. Chancellor Randy Woodson used the high level visit to raise the university’s visibility as a driver of research, innovation and economic development.

Looking to the East

Chancellor Randy Woodson strengthened NC State’s partnerships with institutions in China and South Korea in October during a 10-day trip to Asia. The university’s rising profile in the region has given NC State access to a deep well of international student talent.

Strategic Action

As a campus-wide strategic planning effort began to bear fruit in September, Chancellor Randy Woodson unveiled a plan to attract top faculty to NC State and enhance interdisciplinary research and teaching.

Space Age Research

Without gravity to tell plants which end is up, normal growth is disrupted—a problem for long-term space missions where plants could be used to clean the air, purify the water and provide food.

NC State researchers continued their research on the problem with an experiment on the final space shuttle flight in July. The shuttle also carried an NC State research project on bone loss, a particular problem for astronauts who may spend months in space on future missions to Mars and beyond.

Front Lines of History

Two NC State students took advantage of the chance of a lifetime when they traveled to the Middle East over the summer as part of a team documenting the revolutionary movements sweeping the region. The journey included stops in Egypt and Tunisia, where revolts toppled the countries’ dictators earlier this year, to interview some of the ordinary people behind the Arab Spring uprisings.

What began as a documentary and poetry project soon turned into reporting from a war zone. As tensions mounted between protesters and the military over the future of democracy, it became clear that the revolution was far from over, even in two of the region’s most stable countries.

Mohammad Moussa

But Mohammad Moussa and Sameer Abdel-Khalek weren’t the only NC State students feeling the pull of history. Doaa Dorgham boarded a bus in May for a once-in-a lifetime history lesson on civil rights. The junior psychology major was one of 40 students chosen for the Freedom Ride, which retraced the path civil rights activists took in 1961.

Meanwhile, an NC State alumnus earned a place of his own in the history books in 2011. Abdurrahim El-Keib, who earned a doctorate in electrical engineering at NC State in 1984, was named the interim prime minister of Libya in October. He will help guide the country to a democratic future.

Building for the Future

NC State moved ahead with several major construction projects to redefine the way students live, learn and collaborate on campus.

Rendering of the Hunt Library interior

The new James B. Hunt Library began to take shape on Centennial Campus this year, following a topping out ceremony at the construction site in January. The campus community watched as the construction team moved the last two beams into place atop the building. The beams had been signed by the chancellor as well as the engineers, architects and trades people working on the project.

The Talley Student Center took its first steps on the path to a compete renovation. NC State broke ground on the project in August at an event attended by students, alumni, faculty and staff. When completed in 2014, the revitalized center will have more room for meeting, recreation, lounging, eating and shopping, in addition to more technological muscle.

In November, students and university officials broke ground on Lot 3 in Greek Village, site of the new Kappa Delta house, the first privately funded chapter house on campus.

And in December, the university broke ground on the Centennial Campus Apartments, a $129-million, 550,446 square-foot facility with housing for upper-division students and lofts for graduate students. The project will include a new living and learning community, called Entrepreneurial Village, to enable students to work together on developing ideas and getting them to market.

The Woodson family moved into the new chancellor’s residence on Centennial Campus in the fall, capping a year of construction. The residence was funded by university alumni and supporters. The design team, led by Marvin Malecha, dean of the College of Design, incorporated sustainable materials, solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling into the residence.

A Wolfpack Welcome and Farewell

Athletics Director Debbie Yow introduces Mark Gottfried as the new men's basketball coach.
Athletics Director Debbie Yow introduces Mark Gottfried.

Former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried arrived at NC State in the spring to coach the men’s basketball team, replacing Sidney Lowe. Gottfried led the Crimson Tide to a No. 1 national ranking and Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament. His resume includes 11 years in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference and experience in rebuilding a men’s program.

In June, the Wolfpack mourned the tragic death of basketball legend Lorenzo Charles, who made the championship-winning dunk in 1983.