And then there were 10.
Ten designers left to compete on Project Runway, that is — and NC State’s Justin LeBlanc is still in the running. On last night’s episode of the reality show, LeBlanc didn’t end up in the top or in the bottom, but his outfit was good enough to survive the round.
“Safe!” he tweeted just after the judges’ ruling.
Unlike last week, little of the drama involved LeBlanc. Instead, viewers were treated to a battle of tartan plaids and a lesson on how not to rock a thigh-high boot.
The designers started by choosing a pair of shoes for inspiration. LeBlanc picked a pair of platform sky-high pumps with a colorful pattern of checks and triangles. At first glance, it seemed a challenging choice. His original plan was to use some color in the top to reflect one of the colors in the shoe, but the show’s fashion mentor Tim Gunn warned him it would look “too matchy.”
In the end, a designer who paired plaid pants with red flats was kicked off for looking “too Christmasy,” among other things. LeBlanc stayed in the running with artfully constructed slim pants and a fitted strapless top with a tiny jacket, all in black.
“I want to represent a powerful woman who is willing to wear anything — even those shoes,” he said as his model walked the runway.
Last week, the show’s storyline revolved around LeBlanc, an assistant professor at NC State and a graduate of the College of Design.
First, his glue-lace-embossed dress got him eliminated. Then the show’s fashion mentor Tim Gunn used his “save” to overrule the judges, keeping LeBlanc on the show.
It was an emotional moment, and actress Marlee Matlin later tweeted that watching the episode was ‘‘so MOVING” and added, “love u @TimGunn.” The shout-out likely had special meaning for LeBlanc, who listed her as one of the women he’d most like to design for.
Before the show started, LeBlanc reflected on his status on the show.
“I know I have the passion and fire to continue,” he said. “I’m ready. I’ve always been ready.”
—Sylvia Adcock ’81
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Alumni are invited to a special presentation at the College of Veterinary Medicine on Wednesday about dogmen, the workers who care for, breed, train and race greyhound dogs.
Gwyneth Anne Thayer, associate head of special collections at NCSU Libraries and the author of Going to the Dogs: Greyhound Racing, Animal Activism, and American Popular Culture, will discuss dogmen and their role throughout the history of the sport as well as their role as animal caretakers.
The 6 p.m. event, is in the North Theater in the Main Building (C120), is free and open to the public. The event is presented by NCSU Libraries.
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For many NC State students, nothing tops a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A when they are looking for a bite between classes. The Chick-fil-A Express in the Atrium Food Court on the lower level of D.H. Hill Library is a popular spot for hungry students.
And that’s been true for nearly two decades, for it was on this day in 1994 that the first Chick-fil-A opened at NC State. It was the 33rd franchise that Chick-fil-A opened on a college campus that year. Chick-fil-A opened its first campus location, at Georgia Tech, in 1992. The restaurant chain is now on more than 200 college campuses.
The company’s chicken sandwiches were a hit from the first day, with a company official telling the Technician that year that the early sales had gone well. The restaurant was officially opened a few days later, on Aug. 28. Student Body President Bobby Johnson Jr. took a bite out of a chicken sandwich and, according to the account in the Technician, gave it a “big thumbs up.”
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Last night’s episode of Project Runway was filled with tears, love from peers and a dramatic down-to-the-last-minute ending with NC State’s Justin LeBlanc taking center stage.
The fashion challenge required the designers to get their inspiration from a camping trip (yes, they roasted marshmallows). LeBlanc, an assistant professor at the College of Design, was inspired by the froth of the river against rock. He decided to make lace with a glue gun, a technique that got a lot of compliments during the workroom session.
But it was ultimately a risk that didn’t sit well with the three judges.
“I’m not a huge fan,” said Heidi Klum before another judge leveled a critique that we won’t use here. (Like a lot of fans who commented on Project Runway’s Facebook site, we would have knocked off the designer who created a tent-like yellow ombré dress held up by a leather belt.)
LeBlanc was voted off the show. The reaction among the other contestants when they learned LeBlanc had been eliminated was unambiguous: Some sobbed openly and it was obvious that despite the competitive nature of the show, they loved him.
“I just want to thank all of you, and you will forever be my inspiration,” LeBlanc told them after he was dismissed from the runway. “I am so not ready to go home, because I had so much more to show.” He teared up and everyone else in the room was passing the Kleenex.
That’s when Tim Gunn, who serves as the mentor for the designers, stepped in and used his one “save” — the only one he is allowed all season — to override the judges’ decision. He called LeBlanc “one of the sweetest people to ever be on Project Runway,” but made it clear he was saving him because of his talent and not his personality.
At the end of the broadcast of the episode, LeBlanc tweeted a photo of himself signing, “I love you,” and said thank you to Gunn, the other designers and fans for their support.
We’ll be able to see LeBlanc compete again — one of 11 out of the original 16 — on next Thursday’s show. But if you can’t wait that long, you can see him Saturday at Packapalooza, the university’s big blowout on Hillsborough Street. LeBlanc will be at the College of Design’s Art2Wear tent from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, he’s been spotted around campus this week. (Classes have started, after all, and someone has to teach those up-and-coming fashion designers.)
— Sylvia Adcock ’81
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Officially, Will Quick majored in political science when he was a student at NC State in the mid-2000s.
But Quick said he often felt as if his major revolved around his work with student government. He was president of the Student Senate during the 2004-05 academic year and student body president during the 2006-07 academic year (after losing the previous year’s election to “The Pirate Captain”).
“You also ended up basically just majoring in sort of people skills and how do you deal with administrators and how do you go down to the legislature and do lobbying,” Quick said in one of a series of recorded interviews as part of the Student Leadership Initiative, an effort by NCSU Libraries to document the experiences of student leaders at NC State. “Yeah, I had a major in political science, but I ended up probably learning just as much if not more that helps me now from some of these other things that were going on in our lives.”
That approach didn’t always sit well with Quick’s mother, a college professor. “She used to lament the fact that I was spending so much time in meetings that were not class,” Quick said. “I’d call her and say, ‘Hey, Mom, I just got out of this meeting with this really cool person. It’s Jim Goodnight and he’s got this huge company and it’s so cool.’ And her first question was, ‘Well, how did he get to his company?’ I said, ‘Well, he went to State and got a PhD.,’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah, he actually went to class, didn’t he?’”
Quick was active in student government, working on issues ranging from the establishment of a prayer room for Muslim students to reestablishing the Red Terror Transit system to get students from campus to Carter-Finley Stadium for football games. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Quick cast the only vote against a proposed $230 tuition increase in 2006, arguing that tuition increases should be covered by the state. According to the Student Leadership Initiative, Quick’s “most celebrated accomplishment” was successfully lobbying for extended tailgating hours.
But Quick, who is now a lawyer in Raleigh, said in one of the interviews that the moment that stood out for him went beyond the realm of student government.
“It was probably some of the stuff with the Hurricane Katrina relief for me and how you can bring people together who are working — who have their own student organizations and they’ve got their own great ideas — but you can bring them together as a campus,” he said.
Quick said he got calls from people at UNC who were curious about how NC State managed to rally everyone together behind the relief effort. “I said, well, it’s sort of organic,” Quick recalled. “We asked people to stay in touch with us, we come up with ideas and ask people to run the ideas, and to me that was really neat, just doing something that was NC State, not student government, not IRC, not UAB, not anybody else, not IFC or any of the different groups… It’s NC State doing something.”
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Want to have some Wolfpack fun? Looking for some interesting ways to get reconnected to your alma mater?
Then check out Packapalooza, an all-day block party and street festival along Hillsborough Street on Saturday, Aug. 24 to help kick off the new academic year. There will be music from several different bands, food and a wide range of activities – many of them showing you some of the interesting stuff being done at NC State these days.
Yes, students will be there to wrap up Wolfpack Welcome Week. But alumni and friends of the university are welcome to join in on the fun.
The event runs from 2-10 p.m. from Pogue Street to the roundabout near the Memorial Bell Tower and it’s free and open to the public.
MuteMath is the musical headliner, but you’ll also be able to hear from the likes of Kooley High, The Embers, GalFriday Band, and Pam Saulsby and the Reel Deep band.
And did we mention that NC State’s Scotty McCreery will be performing a song — with Chancellor Randy Woodson and Head Football Coach Dave Doeren?!
But there’s so much more. You can enjoy deep-fried candy bars, turkey legs and NC State’s own Howling Cow ice cream. You can learn about the history of the Bell Tower and what makes it chime. You can learn about sustainability efforts at NC State and check out the alternative vehicle showcase, or connect to your inner arts in the Arts Zone.
Wolfpack sports fans will get a chance to meet some of their favorite NC State athletes or try their hand at hitting a baseball or being a combatant in a water balloon battle.
You can even learn more about all the cool stuff going on at the Alumni Association, and the benefits of being a member.
There’s much, much more to do at Packapalooza, so check here for more details on the day’s events. Have fun and Go Pack!
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Kevin Strauss wants to help families around the world do a better job of communicating with each other.
Never mind that Strauss is single and has no children. Or that he has degrees in mechanical and biomedical engineering. Or that most of his professional life has involved developing new medical devices (his name is on more than a dozen patents and he has nearly three dozen patents pending) and helping companies get such devices approved by the FDA.
But Strauss says he is an outside-the-box thinker who is keenly interested in human behavior, having read a lot of books and spent a lot of time thinking about why people do the things that they do. Why do they smoke? Why do they do drugs? Why do they fight with each other?
“I want people to live a happier life and a more successful life,” he says. “When people feel connected to one another, all their behaviors improve. I’m trying to improve communications in families and improve their connections.”
Strauss hopes to do that through something known as familyejournal. It is a website created by Strauss to prompt families (or any sort of group seeking stronger connections with each other) to communicate in more meaningful ways. It is a project that Strauss fiddled with for years as a sidelight to his regular job. But in late 2012, Strauss quit his job so that he could devote all his efforts to building familyejournal. He relaunched a new website earlier this month, and already has a few hundred active members.
“The need for connection is a basic human need,” says Strauss, who lives outside Washington, D.C. “I would love to have this helping families all over the world.”
Familyejournal is a free service in which members are asked to spend a few minutes at their computer each day to respond to a handful of simple questions — What was the best part of your day? How would you define a really good conversation? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Those responses can then be seen by other family members and, Strauss says, can prompt subsequent conversations that have more depth and meaning. Those conversations could take place around the dinner table, riding in the car together or by email or telephone in instances where family members don’t live together. It can be a useful tool, he says, to keep parents connected with their children when they are off at college or to help families with military members stationed overseas.
“We’re not trying to find out your deepest, darkest secrets,” Strauss says. “We’re just trying to help get the communications ball rolling. It just lets you talk about your feelings.”
Social media, or texting, can give the illusion of meaningful communication, Strauss says. Most texts between parents and children typically involve logistics — When will you be home? When do I need to pick you up? — rather than meaningful conversation.
“This is much more guided,” Strauss says. “It’s so simple, but it works so well.”
Strauss is partnering with a few universities to conduct studies of the effectiveness of the approach used by familyejournal, but says the anecdotal data he has is encouraging. “I have testimonials from around the world from family members who haven’t talked who are now talking,” he says. “A parent wrote in to say that from the very first day they signed up, life around the house was better.”
Strauss believes that familyejournal could even help reduce high-risk behavior such as binge drinking and eating disorders. “Studies show that when people feel connected to something — and especially when teenagers feel connected to something — all of their high-risk behavior is reduced,” he says. “All of these behaviors that people participate in are symptoms of a bigger problem. If you address that one root cause, everything improves.”
While the service is free to members who sign up, Strauss hopes to make money off the venture by selling advertising on the site and by partnering with larger organizations such as universities, churches and hospitals. In exchange for a fee, those organizations will get data on how frequently members of their organizations are using familyejournal and use that to track changes in behavior such as graduation rates or counseling sessions for depression. Strauss says the responses of individual members are private and will not be shared with partner organizations.
“What I find is that the mental health professionals — counselors and therapists — they all love the concept,” he says. “If you really believe in the concept, just give it a try.”
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New NC State women’s basketball coach Wes Moore announced in July that Rachel Stockdale was joining his staff as the director of high school relations. Stockdale played for the Wolfpack from 2002 to 2006, and returns to NC State after spending the past six years as an assistant at Wake Forest, Elon and East Carolina.
The fall issue of NC State magazine will include a profile of Moore and how he’s preparing his first squad at NC State for the 2013-14 season. In the meantime, we talked with Stockdale about what brought her back to NC State, what her role and responsibilities will be with the women’s basketball program and what she learned from Coach Kay Yow.
How did you end back up at NC State? I loved coaching at East Carolina, but I was in a situation where I didn’t know what path I wanted to take. After graduating from NC State, I completed a yearlong marketing internship with Fox Sports in Florida, and I loved it. So I was thinking about moving back to marketing when Coach Moore and I had a conversation about this new position as director of high school relations. The job is a perfect fit for what I was envisioning as I transition out of coaching. It’ll allow me to still be part of a women’s basketball program, but it’s more of a marketing angle and there are some things I can bring to the table. It was a no-brainer. I love Raleigh. I love NC State. And there’s something about Wolfpack Nation that is very exciting. It’s like coming home.
What will be your role? Coach Moore has stressed the importance of getting to know the high school coaches in North Carolina. I grew up in Winston-Salem, I played high school and AAU ball in the state, and I’ve been coaching in the state for the past six years. I have a pretty good foundation and a lot of relationships already built; it’s just a matter of getting the coaches connected to Coach Moore and the rest of the coaching staff. I’m also trying to get those high school coaches on campus and excited about NC State and the national program we’re building. Outside of that, when recruits are here, I’ll be organizing and coordinating visits with the coaching staff. I’m very detailed and organized, so it plays to one of my strengths.
Will you miss coaching and recruiting? I don’t think people grasp the time that goes into coaching. People think it’s seasonal. But there are a lot of hours that go into it throughout the year, especially from a recruiting standpoint. I’m at a point now that this new position fits perfectly with where I wanted to go. But just because I’m stepping away from having a whistle around my neck, that doesn’t mean I want to be on an island by myself. I still want to be as involved as I can be within the NCAA rules and as much as Coach Moore wants me to be.
How will you be involved with the players? Though I’m taking on a different role here, I still want to be a mentor and help these young women as they face adversity.
Who were your mentors? I had one of the best mentors, Coach Yow. Obviously, she was in an incredible coach, but she taught more about life than anything and that is what has carried through at the places I’ve coached and as I’ve been a mentor. It was from her I learned the importance of how you approach different obstacles and handle adversity. That’s what I hope to instill in these young ladies. The transition to college is tough, and kids go through a lot, but it’s a different journey for every person. You’ve got to take time to get to know each and every individual. What you say to one kid may not be what you say to another kid.
—Cherry Crayton ’01, ’03 MED
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Some had ties that went back four generations; others brought a mom or dad who went to NC State. And for one mother and son, the Alumni Association’s Legacy Luncheon this weekend was particularly meaningful. Hristiyana Zhelezova became an NC State alumna and a legacy parent all in the space of a few months.
The luncheon is an annual tradition that brings together new students whose parents or grandparents are alumni, and parents get a chance to pin their child with a “legacy pin’’ to welcoming them into the Wolfpack family.
Zhelezova and her son Paskal came to the United States from Bulgaria six years ago along with her husband and daughter. The family didn’t speak English, and Paskal enrolled at Apex (N.C.) High School, taking English as a second language courses while his mother studied as well.
She had been a lawyer in Bulgaria and after mastering the language, was able to transfer the credits from her education to NC State and enroll in a master’s program in education, earning her graduate degree in May. Paskal graduated from Apex High, and spent two years at a community college before transferring to NC State and the Poole College of Management. “It was extremely difficult,” she said of the first few years in the United States. “But we worked hard.”
Paskal says he is thrilled to be able to study economics at NC State. And his mother was beaming as she pinned the legacy pin on Paskal. “We came here to build a new life,” she said. “Now our history will be here at NC State.”
The crowd of more than 700 parents, grandparents, students and siblings enjoyed a buffet lunch at the McKimmon Center along with pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf and words of advice from Chancellor Randy Woodson (“Go to class,” he said.).
Paul Ridgeway, president of the Alumni Association’s board of directors, spoke of the excitement of students beginning a new chapter in their lives — but also of the emotions parents were likely feeling. “You will realize that they have really moved away,’’ he said to the parents, “and they likely will not return to live in our homes.” Ridgway should know. He was also there as a proud parent and alumnus, pinning his own son Isaac, who is an entering freshman.
“Hopefully, NC State has been a parent of these students’ lives since birth,” said Benny Suggs, executive director of the Alumni Association. “They have heard their parents’ stories, attended football or basketball games, seen the NC State symbols on sweatshirts and T-shirts and know the fight song by heart.”
His words were proven correct when the crowd stood up for a special appearance from the NC State Marching Band and sang, “We’re the Red and White from State.” Paskal and Hristiyana Zhelezova were clapping as loud as anyone.
—Sylvia Adcock ’81
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Getting involved in his school seemed to come naturally for Ed Stack. He helped establish the first student government at his junior high school in Rowan County, N.C., and then became the school’s first student body president. In high school, he was involved in student government, sports and, as he says, “every club that you could think of.”
So when he came to NC State, Stack didn’t hesitate to get involved — even if it was on a much larger stage than the small schools he had attended before college. As a textiles management major, Stack got involved with the Textile Student Council when he was a freshman.
“Fortunately, the textile school is a very fostering and encouraging place to be,” Stack said in one of his interviews as part of the Student Leadership Initiative, an effort by NCSU Libraries to chronicle the experiences of student leaders at NC State. “I mean, I certainly didn’t come to State with the mindset that I was going to run for student body president, although I had always been involved in student government.”
His time on the Textile Student Council, though, whetted Stack’s appetite for student government. He was elected student body president his junior year and then re-elected again his senior year, holding the office from 1990-92.
But while Stack enjoyed being involved with student government — working with other students on different programs and issues – he did not particularly enjoy the election process. “I’ve always been surprised at how much politics — pure, ugly politics — is involved in student government, or at least was at the time,” he said. “That is probably the thing that I liked least about it.”
Stack served during a tumultuous time for NC State, with state budget cuts impacting the hours that D.H. Hill Library could be open. Stack challenged the student body president at UNC to a fundraising contest to raise money for the libraries at the two universities. “Even though State and Carolina are big rivals, we can come together on such an important issue and send a strong message to the state legislature,” Stack said at the time.
The loser of the contest would have to wear the winning school’s colors at an NC State-UNC basketball game. Stack raised over $6,000, more than enough to win the challenge.
Stack, who is now associate executive director of The Wolfpack Club, says his motivation for being involved in student government — or in his fraternity or anything else at NC State — was simple. “Anything that I got involved in,” he said, “was really an effort to make NC State a smaller place.”
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