The college football bowl season is about to kick into high gear, with NC State taking on Louisville in the Belk Bowl next week in Charlotte.
But at least one NC State alumni is always thinking about college bowl games. That would be Gary Stokan ’78, who is president and CEO of the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, one of the most successful bowl games in the country. Stokan, a former Wolfpack basketball player, is featured in the upcoming winter issue of NC State magazine talking about the business of college football.
The article also looks at Stokan’s efforts to bring the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta and, in the process, turn the city into the capital of college football. Stokan’s dreams for the Hall of Fame are big, as you can see in this video of Stokan’s vision for what he calls an “edutainseum” that will be a high-tech showcase for the best athletes and teams to ever play college football.
Stokan also runs the Chick-fiil-A Kickoff Game, a bowl-like spectacle that matches two top teams to start the college football season. There will be two kickoff games next year, with NC State meeting Tennessee in one.
So cheer for the Pack in the Belk Bowl next week and then read about Stokan when your copy of NC State magazine arrives in January.
Read More >
Kelli Clough ’05 MBA has built a business by finding holes in the market and filling them.
A mother of three boys and an entrepreneur, Clough decided to start a business in 2006 that would allow her to stay at home and keep up her business skills. So she began My Lullabug, an online apparel store for babies and children. She started with 10 shirt designs and built a base of wholesale customers.
But what really helped propel her business was her innate ability to find a viable market that didn’t already have her product. Clough says she was aiming for baby clothing stores but that in today’s economic climate, they would fold somewhat regularly. So she needed a market for her golf shirts. She realized that golf pro-shops were not victims of the downturn and that they rarely sold children’s shirts. She made her pitch and got in them with her shirts, which are one of her most popular items.
Another one of her successes is her playmat. Having twins boys that are each five and a 7-year-old, she says she has been able to locate the need for things that her family could never find. She could never find a durable playmat, so she researched materials and developed an entire line. Now, they’re the source of her staying up late at night leading into Christmas to fill orders.
But she never complains about the long hours, which she is now trying to manage as a full-time job with her youngest sons in kindergarten. In addition to managing the business side, she also creates all the designs on the clothes. “I want to keep enjoying,” says Clough. “I think it’s such a privilege to have a job you enjoy. I love the creative process of it.”
Clough is one of several entrepreneurs from NC State who are trying to make it in today’s sour economy (we have profiled two others who have designed scarves and skirts, respectively). Part of Clough’s success is that she didn’t have to play catch-up with technology, which she credits to her time at the university. She utilizes social media, with a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
“The emphasis for the MBA at NC State was on technology,” she says, adding she concentrated in e-commerce and product development. “I took a class where all the material was on Google. And they have such an impact on how your business works. They have a whole formula on how your page appears.”
One of Clough's sports-themed designs for a shirt.
She now has 40 different shirt designs and has introduced a line of stickers that go on shirts but can be replaced when a child’s age changes. She also has dipped into sports-based apparel, which caused a family conflict. Recently, she asked her son, who cheers for NC State, to model a UNC shirt for the website. She had to bribe him with a piece of candy to get him to do it.
Read More >
This fall saw the completion of the chancellor’s new residence on Centennial Campus beside the Park Alumni Center. And now NC State has opened the residence’s doors for its community to see. We went inside to see the new digs. Click here to see the photos we got.
The university broke ground on the project in March 2010 and finished construction this October. Known as “the Point,” the residence features a 5,400-square-foot downstairs that serves as a welcoming area for Chancellor Randy Woodson to entertain guests and donors. “It is a gathering place where university partners and collaborators can gain a sense of our core values as a university,” says Woodson. “We take pride in our new residence as we do in all of NC State’s accomplishments both at home and abroad.”
Upstairs, the residents live in a private 3,100-square-foot area. NC State College of Design Dean Marvin Malecha led the design of the home, which replaces the residence on Hillsborough Street that served as the chancellor’s home since it was built in 1928. That building will become the home of the new Gregg Museum of Art & Design.
The project cost $3.5 million, none of which came for public or state-appropriated dollars. Instead, private donors made the Point a reality with their private dollars and in-kind donations, like furnishings.
Read More >
Willis Casey. Photograph courtesy of NCSU Libraries Special Collections.
We profiled John Calvert ’71 for the upcoming winter issue of NC State magazine that should be in your homes in early January. He was an ACC champion swimmer here in the 1960s and a part of Willis Casey’s storied swimming dynasty at NC State. But Calvert, a Philadelphia native, was just one in a powerful pipeline of talent from the North that Casey brought to Raleigh.
Ed Spencer ’64 was one of the first in that lineage. A Philadelphia swimmer who excelled at the butterfly, he arrived on campus in 1959. By that time, he says Casey had established a lot of experience working with champion swimmers and knowing how to make them tick. Casey approached his swimmers with an easy manner. “He wasn’t the kind of guy that screamed at you or pounded his fist on the starting block,” Spencer says. “He never broke the relationship by scorning [swimmers] or insulting them or making them feel less of a person. So many times coaches burn bridges and they can never get that relationship back.”
Philadelphia was a great area for swimming with strong club programs at the time, and Spencer says he stayed tuned into that community when he’d go back home during the summers and holidays. One visit he ran into Pat Gavaghan ’67, who was considering Kansas at the time. Spencer told him to give State a look. Gavaghan came, won multiple ACC championships and stayed on to coach with Casey as an assistant.
But one of Gavaghan’s strongest contributions was becoming Casey’s connection to the North. “I recruited eight to 10 guys from the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas,” he says. “Willis Casey had one of the top 10 programs every year. We created a pipeline of talent from Paterson, N.J., to Philadelphia.”
Since Gavaghan was from the area, he always knew who the best swimmers were and would set his sights on recruiting them for Casey. One he targeted was a 6-foot-7, 190-pound swimmer from Paterson, N.J., who was “one of the great physical specimens I’d ever seen.” And the recruitment of future Olympic gold medalist Steve Rerych ’69 began. (Read a 1967 profile of Rerych in Sports Illustrated here.)
But it wasn’t until a visit that Rerych was ready to commit. “I’ll tell you what convinced me,” he remembers. “My dad and I flew down to Raleigh. It was in springtime. In Jersey it’s spring and still snowing. We came down for a spring weekend and it was just gorgeous.” He says that his father and Casey then went to a local restaurant and mapped out the strategy to bring him here.
Calvert, Gavaghan and Rerych all say that Casey took care of his swimmers. Given his role as assistant athletics director, he gave them gigs selling programs at football and basketball games. “Steve Rerych and I went to the same church,” says Dr. Larry Lykins ’68, a swimmer on the team during that era from Georgia. “We’d pool the money we’d make on Saturday and go to church on Sunday and then go out and blow it on a lunch buffet after church.”
But Casey’s loyalty was accompanied by a zero-tolerance policy for nonsense. He was particularly wary of the influence of his native California swimmers on other members on the team when it came to one extracurricular activity. Rerych says at one point the California guys got a lot of the team into skateboarding. “We got to going down a hill one time,” says Rerych, who says their exploits were often met with wrecks. “It looked like we had road rash. He was very sincere. He said the next time he saw us on a skateboard, ‘You’re off scholarship.’ ”
The guys from the North are just a part of Willis Casey’s legacy at NC State. The Wolfpack won 11 ACC titles under him and were consistently a top 15 national program. As athletics director, a position he held from 1969 to 1986, he hired Lou Holtz, Jim Valvano and Kay Yow.
Read More >
Stephen Colbert and Gen. Ray Odierno sing on "The Colbert Report" Wednesday night.
NC State’s own Gen. Ray Odierno ’86 MSE, the Army’s chief of staff, appeared on “The Colbert Report” Wednesday night, where he and the show’s host Stephen Colbert lifted their voices in song to welcome the troops home.
During the interview, the audience burst into applause when Odierno said, “The war is over, Stephen.” Odierno also made a plea for employers to hire returning veterans.
“You get somebody with high moral values, you get somebody with a work ethic,” Odierno said. Odierno, who greenlighted the 2003 raid that captured Saddam Hussein, was named Army chief of staff in June.
Visit colbertnation.com to hear Odierno and Colbert sing, “I’ll be home for Christmas.”
Read More >
It’s graduation time again at NC State. While many people still think of May as the time for graduation, an increasing number of students at NC State are taking part in December graduation ceremonies.
Graduates and their families will gather at the RBC Center at 9 am Saturday for this year’s December graduation ceremonies. Chancellor Randy Woodson will speak and Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will deliver the keynote address. Pachauri earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering and Ph.D.s in industrial engineering and economics at NC State.
Congratulations to the newest NC State alumni!
We’d love to hear your stories about graduation, either your own or that of your children. How did you celebrate the special day when you went from being a student to a graduate of NC State? Were you sweating out in Reynolds Coliseum or waiting your turn in Dorton Arena?
Share your memories with us, and we’ll publish some of them in the spring issue of NC State magazine.
Read More >
NC State broke ground last week on Centennial Campus for a new student housing project slated to open in fall 2013.
Centennial Campus Apartments, located across from Hunt Library, is a $129-million, 550,446 square-foot facility that will house sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students will live in apartments with one to four private bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. The capacity will be 1,195 students. There will also be a bookstore, an array of dining options and three different courtyards.
The project will also include 30 lofts that will accommodate graduate students. (Click the Centennial Campus Apartments link above to access three webcams documenting the project’s construction.)
The project arose from a 2002 task force that looked at the direction of student housing on NC State’s campus. One of the recommendations was that with the College of Engineering and the College of Textiles relocating there, Centennial Campus needed student housing. “The belief was that if it was going to be a true college campus where students could live and learn, it needed to have some basic elements,” says Tim Luckadoo, associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
Luckadoo says no state appropriations and no private money went to the project. Instead, he says housing borrowed for the project, and will pay back the loan with receipts from the apartments’ housing, dining and bookstore.
One of the major amenities at Centennial Campus Apartments will be a new living and learning village. Entrepreneurial Village will enable students to work together on developing ideas and getting them to market.
“You might get an engineering student with a marketing student with a communications student,” says Luckadoo. “They become a team. They will have activities geared toward them that deal with how you grow from an idea to a successful corporation.”
That village will join a movement already afoot at NC State — there are currently nine living and learning villages — in developing more learning communities. Luckadoo says that is a goal in Chancellor Randy Woodson’s strategic plan and that it is based on research that such communities help shape a positive learning experience.
“Students who live in the villages, their grades are better,” Luckadoo says. “Their retention is better. They have more awareness about the world.”
Read More >
Chancellor Randy Woodson has been elected to a leadership position in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Woodson was elected secretary of the Council of Presidents, the membership group for university presidents and chancellors within the association. The position puts Woodson in line to eventually become chairman of the association’s board of directors.
Woodson’s election to a leadership position comes at a key time for the association, which will celebrate the 150th anniversary next year of President Lincoln signing the Morrill Act in 1862. The Morrill Act established the land-grant system of colleges.
Read More >
Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries, Historical State Collection.
With NC State’s recent acceptance of its Belk Bowl invitation, we’d thought it would be interesting to revisit some Wolfpack’s bowl memories. The Peach Bowl, now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, was a good place to start since NC State is tied with Clemson at seven for the most appearances by a school in that bowl.
NC State is 4-3 in that bowl, and one of NC State’s three losses stands out as more than a defeat. The Wolfpack lost the 1975 Peach Bowl to the West Virginia Mountaineers, 13-10, as Lou Holtz bid adieu to the program.
NC State defeated Bobby Bowden’s Mountaineers, 49-13, three years earlier in the same contest. But the 1975 Wolfpack team battled injuries and a scoreboard malfunction that caused the referees to keep time on the field and alert the coaches to the clock. As a result, NC State rushed a field goal before half to take a 10-0 lead. However, there was still just under a minute left on the clock, and West Virginia gained momentum by scoring a quick touchdown amid the confusion before halftime.
But the bigger story was that Holtz, who coached the Wolfpack from 1972-75, made his pilgrimage to the NFL after that game, leaving NC State with a record of 33-12-3 while at the helm.
His tenure as head coach of the New York Jets wouldn’t last a full season, and by 1977, he was back in the college ranks, coaching at Arkansas. He went on to coach at Minnesota, Notre Dame (where his team won the 1988 national championship) and South Carolina, his last coaching stop before he became an analyst for ESPN.
Tom Higgins ’76, a nose guard on that ’75 team and now director of officiating for the Canadian Football League, says that Holtz influences him even today because of the coach’s ability to instill belief. “He was a master magician. He had the ability to make people believe. … He was king of the clichés, but clichés have a lot of truth to them,” Higgins says. “Holtz is in you. You can’t separate that out.”
Read More >
Rademacher with her award in Portland three weeks ago.
When Keely Rademacher graduated from NC State’s College of Design in 2003, she put most of her energy into teaching art to elementary school children in Raleigh. She had studied fiber arts and photography at NC State, but she loved seeing the kids’ faces light up as she introduced them to the creative, fun world of art.
“I never knew I wanted to be a practicing artist,” she says.
But that’s what she is now. And not just a practicing artist, but an award-winning practicing artist. Three weeks ago, Rademacher won an award naming her the top visual artist in Portland, Ore.
After her time in Raleigh, Rademacher moved to San Diego, Calif., with her husband, Jesse Rademacher ’04, who wanted to find work as a footwear designer. She continued to teach, but says her new life in California was a hard transition. It was there that she got more into painting, and her own art became “that safe and happy place to me.”
After a subsequent move to Portland, Rademacher discovered the city’s flourishing arts community. She says one of the city’s communities will have an art opening every week. “There are so many different avenues for art here,” she says. “It’s more woven into the community. There’s murals and all kinds of public art.”
With that influence around her, Rademacher turned to art full-time in April 2011, focusing on oil paintings. And there’s been a quick turnaround on her effort. In November, RAW: Natural Born Artists, a grass-roots organization dedicated to showcasing local artists in 21 American cities, awarded her the Portland Visual Artist of the Year award. Click here to see her profile.
Her favorite painting, "Jade."
But it’s the intrinsic reward that she cherishes about her art. Her favorite painting, a self portrait, is called “Jade.” Rademacher celebrates it as her “aha” moment of taking her vision from a sketch book and translating it to canvas.
“One of my biggest enjoyments with art is one when someone’s looking at it and the dialogue they’re sharing,” she says. “I think that’s what the beauty of art is. Every single person is going to take away something different. That’s the biggest enjoyment for me.”
With the Portland honor, Rademacher is now eligible for RAW’s national award. The winner will be announced Dec. 12.
Read More >