The Best of the Pack
At NC State, 2014 opened with a presidential visit and closed with record-high levels of research funding and donor support.
Between those bookends lay a year of highlights: new public-private partnerships to tackle global challenges, problem-solving faculty research, athletic success at the conference and national levels, and more.
More than 8,600 NC State students became career-ready NC State graduates in 2014, too. It all adds up to one of the best years in NC State history, according to Chancellor Randy Woodson.
“Our momentum at NC State has never been stronger,” Woodson said at his fall address.
NC State Power
The year began with a surge: President Barack Obama’s on-campus announcement that the university would lead PowerAmerica, a $140 million national research effort that will unite university and industry partners to build a new advanced manufacturing sector. PowerAmerica’s work holds the promise to create a new generation of energy-efficient electronics, as well as a productive new engine for the American economy.
At the center of the work is the wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor, a power source that could increase efficiency in everything from industrial motors and household appliances to military satellites. NC State faculty members have been researching WBG technology for three decades.
“We want to build on the kind of work that’s being done in places like NC State to develop technology that leads to new jobs and entire new industries,” Obama said Jan. 15 at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.
“Here at NC State, you know something about innovation,” he added.
PowerAmerica was just the largest of several partnerships that came to fruition at NC State in 2014:
- The $25 million Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities, funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration, will bring together partners from industry and higher education to develop new approaches that could curb the spread of nuclear weapons.
- A pair of federal climate-change hubs — the Southeast Climate Science Center and the Southeast Regional Climate Hub — launched on campus. Each will bring together experts from different universities and disciplines to cope with a changing global climate.
- In August, leaders from NC State and SAS Institute announced a new agreement that will spawn analytically driven research in a range of fields. SAS, one of the world’s largest software companies, sprang from the NC State statistics department in the 1970s.
In 2014, NC State research grabbed national headlines. Check out our biggest hits.
With public funding for higher education in decline, NC State has worked to develop new sources of support for its mission of education, research and outreach. In 2014, those efforts resulted in new milestones for research funding and private philanthropy.
University researchers received $304.5 million in external research funding during the 2013-14 fiscal year, the first time NC State has crossed the $300 million mark. That figure included a record $35.8 million in industry funding.
NC State’s endowment has grown 76 percent since Woodson came to NC State in 2010, reaching its current all-time high of $884 million. Breaking $1 billion was among the goals Woodson set at his fall address.
Fundraising highlights for 2014 included transformational gifts to two NC State colleges: An $8 million gift from Moise and Vera Khayrallah established a new center for Lebanese diaspora studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and $4 million from Steve and Judy Zelnak created an endowed deanship in the Poole College of Management.
Winning on the Field
It was a year of team and individual success for Wolfpack athletes, too.
No NC State athlete had a bigger year than wrestler Nick Gwiazdowski. The sophomore heavyweight won a national championship, the sixth in history for the Wolfpack wrestling program.
Sophomore men’s basketball player T.J. Warren capped an explosive scoring season by winning the ACC Player of the Year award. The nation’s third-leading scorer, Warren was also a second-team All-American.
In 2014, the men’s and women’s basketball teams played in the NCAA Tournament, the women’s golf team had its first national top 10 finish at the NCAA Championships and the softball team advanced to the finals at the NCAA Athens Regional. The football team also returned to the postseason, winning the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl and finishing with an 8-5 record.
For the first time in school history, both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships, with the men at 13th and the women at 16th.