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Resilient Pack

Woodson Reflects on Heroes of Pandemic

Hear the chancellor's thoughts on the past year and the inspiring work of our Wolfpack community.

An NC State student in a mask looks at her laptop. Play Video

In a conversational video recorded outside his residence on Centennial Campus, Chancellor Randy Woodson reflected on a year that many are undoubtedly glad to see in their rearview mirror.

But Woodson’s look back doesn’t just focus on the sacrifices and challenges wrought by COVID-19 — although there were plenty. He gives credit to the Wolfpack community for persevering through it all.

“We were in crisis mode,” he says on camera. “It was a very dark time because there was so much unknown. But we figured out how to get through this and how to manage the university and how to continue to do research and education and extension across the whole state of North Carolina.”

A forward-looking leader, Woodson has steered the university in crafting ambitious back-to-back strategic plans since he took the helm in 2010. But in 2020, for the first time in his tenure nothing seemed to go as planned. After the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in March, NC State quickly reduced campus operations, asking most employees to work from home. Faculty moved courses online; most students moved out of residence halls and continued their coursework at home.

There are so many heroes at NC State.

Virtually overnight, faculty, staff and students faced unexpected challenges. More than 500 employees were placed on furlough.

Today, thanks to a rigorous testing and vaccination program on campus, NC State is on track to return to something approaching normal operations in the coming months.

In the relief and excitement of the moment, Woodson doesn’t want the suffering, sacrifices and valor of the past year to go unacknowledged.

“There are so many heroes at NC State,” he says. “Just so many heroes.”