Alumni Association News Category
Bill Allen likes to joke that he got his fill of the “ologies” at NC State. As a CHASS student in the mid-1970s studying sociology, anthropology and psychology, Allen says it was NC State professors who inspired him to go out and travel the world trying to solve ecological problems as an anthropologist.
But Allen began to trade in his “ologies” for his love of theater and music after his international travel throughout the 1990s had exposed him to European circus performers. And in the 2000s, he gave up anthropology altogether, a move that, to this day, raises some eyebrows.
“I still have people calling me,” he says, “and saying ‘Bill, I heard you ran off with the circus. Did you meet some tight-rope walker?’”
It turns out that Allen, a Shelby, N.C., native and childhood friend of David Thompson, did more than run off with the circus. He started one.
Allen is the executive director and producer for Cirque de la Symphonie, a performance company he co-founded in 2005 that blends the European circus tradition with symphony performances.
“You’ll see a mime who is a juggler and a contortionist who works to a melodic piece,” Allen says of the performances in the Cirque de la Symphonie, which makes its way to Raleigh Dec. 20-21. (The Alumni Association is hosting an event with Allen before the Dec. 20 performance.) “There’s a lot of aerial acrobatics. You’ll see people fly out over your heads. You don’t see that in any other cirque show.”
Allen says the idea came to him in the 1990s, when he made 38 trips through Russia. In his down time, he would take in the famed circus in Moscow. He would go early before the show and watch the performers practice.
With those connections, he started to serve as an informal pipeline for those performers to find their way onto American stages. He says it seemed only natural to marry performances to metropolitan orchestras, and he’s never had to look back.
“It’s the kind of thing people don’t get tired of,” he says. “It’s repeat business every year. It turned out to be more than a hobby. It’s serious business.”
Student organizations flooded the Brickyard with hundreds of homemade cupcakes of all shapes, sizes and flavors Wednesday for the Cupcake War, a two-hour event that raised money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and included a competition judged by professors.
“Talk about one of the best things you could do,” says Anita Flick, a biology professor serving as one of the judges. “It’s great to see all these organizations out here. And there’s cupcakes! What’s not to like?”
With two criteria for judging — taste and incorporation of the “Red, White and Wolfpack” Homecoming theme — Sigma Alpha Omega sorority and Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity hoped their Cheerwine cupcakes would help them secure their second consecutive first-place finish.
“It’s my mom’s recipe,” says Brittany Hall, Sigma Alpha Omega president and senior in biology from Raleigh. Hall and her fellow sorority members spent more than six hours baking and decorating 300 cupcakes for the event. The group also made empty Cheerwine cans into decorative displays for the cupcakes.
A short walk from last year’s winners, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity served up three varieties of cupcakes: Red, White and Wolftracks. The red: a red velvet cupcake topped with an almond cream cheese frosting. The white: a white chocolate latte cupcake with buttercream icing and a caramel drizzle, garnished with a small straw. The Wolftracks: a chocolate cupcake with ganache inside, peanut butter frosting on top and a chocolate drizzle.
Set up in front of DH Hill Library, the Impact Leadership Village sold chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with red and white icing decorated with footballs and wolves.
Anna Sossaman, an Alumni Association student ambassador and sophomore in accounting from Raleigh, organized the event and says she was glad to be a part of a new NC State tradition. “It’s helping the Kay Yow fund and gets students involved on campus, which is great,” she says.
Contest winners will be announced at the Homecoming Pep Rally in Reynolds Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
After the event, Christopher Lawing, a student ambassador and junior in industrial engineering from Charlotte, presented the $3,197.26 raised to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
In addition to volunteering at the Cupcake War, Lawing organized another event in the Brickyard: the Homecoming Canned Food Drive. When the event ended Wednesday afternoon, the drive had gathered 1,000 cans for Feed the Pack, NC State’s food pantry, and 21,782 for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Last year, the drive collected more than 14,000 cans.
“The drive is so different than the other homecoming events,” Lawing says. “It’s not just about school spirit, but the spirit of giving to someone else.”
Alumni Association staff and student ambassadors hope to feed 5,000 students in the Brickyard this week so long as they follow one simple rule: wear red.
Starting just before 11 a.m., the group served free Marco’s Pizza to 1,000 red-clad students Monday for Wear Red, Get Fed, a weeklong event intended to promote school spirit during Homecoming week.
Laura Sandtner, a student ambassador and junior in chemical engineering from Haymarket, Va., organized this year’s campaign and says some students went to great lengths to persuade checkers that they were wearing enough red, with a few even offering to show their undergarments.
“The things people do to get free pizza,” Sam Wurst, an ambassador and junior in industrial engineering from Weddington, N.C., said as a fellow student pulled down his pants to show his bright-red gym shorts. But Wurst is glad to see students showing their school spirit by wearing red this week.
“We want to see red, that’s the most important thing,” Wurst says. “If you can do something to show support for the Wolfpack and bring our campus of 33,000 students together, then that’s great.”
For those who were less prepared, the Alumni Association also gave away 700 red Homecoming T-shirts to students who downloaded the Homecoming app. After putting on their shirts, students could go through the Wear Red, Get Fed line to collect their free slice.
Rob Tapp, a freshman in computer science from Cary, N.C., didn’t wear red when he left for class Monday morning but says he saw signs for the event and decided to pick up a shirt.
“I saw ‘Wear Red, Get Fed’ and figured it out,” Tapp says. “I like free food. I mean, who doesn’t?”
Shalyn Brown, a freshman in agricultural education from Polk County, N.C., says she heard about Wear Red, Get Fed this weekend and came prepared with Harrison Jenkins, a freshman in agricultural education from Iredell County, N.C. The two say they plan to attend as many Wear Red, Get Fed events as possible this week.
“Free food is always good,” Brown says, “Especially with college students.”
“It breaks up the monotony of eating in the dining halls,” Jenkins says.
Wear Red, Get Fed continues in the Brickyard 11 a.m.–1 p.m. every day this week with free food from Zoë’s Kitchen, Wing Zone, Backyard Bistro and Amedeo’s for any students wearing a hand-sized amount of red.
A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available on the Homecoming website.
NC State’s homecoming event won national awards last year after a historic celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary. And we hope Homecoming 2013, whose theme is “Red, White & Wolfpack,” will once again give students, staff and alumni alike an enjoyable experience that makes them feel at home.
The weeklong event, which is led by students in the Alumni Association Student Ambassador Program, kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, with a festival of music, food and giveaways at Miller Field. The celebration is the first of many events, including the Hillsborough Street Music Festival, parade and football game.
On campus, students have the opportunity to get involved and show off their Pack pride with a spirit competition lasting all week. It consists of multiple events, including the annual “Paint the Town Red” competition and the new Instagram video challenge, where students can submit videos showing off their school spirit. There’s also the “Wear Red, Get Fed” events, where students can receive lunch for wearing a red garment, held Monday through Friday in the Brickyard. They’ll also be a special screening of ESPN 30 for 30′s Survive and Advance at the Hunt Library.
Be sure to download the Homecoming “Red and White” mobile app for the schedule of all events or check the website for more details. You can also check out the event’s Twitter page for more information.
And this year marks the first time that Homecoming has earned the highest level of Wolfpack Certified Green recognition, offered by the University Sustainability Office. The certification is awarded for events that incorporate sustainable choices involving food, waste reduction, purchasing, education, marketing, transportation, energy, water and service.
“This year the Champion Level …quickly became a top priority in our planning process,” says Emily Collier, a junior parks, recreation and tourism management major from New Jersey who is co-director of this year’s homecoming. “We were able to adjust previous practices to implement and encourage sustainable actions from ourselves and participants. Through these efforts and modifications, we hope to sustain NC State for 126 more years.”
When Raleigh Brewing Company’s owners, Kristie and Patrick Nystedt, were kicking around ideas for a new Triangle venture in 2010 with home brewer John Federal, they all wanted something more than just a brewery.
“The plan evolved into a ‘brewtopia,’” says Federal, who graduated from NC State in 2006 with an English degree. “We wanted to have a large tap room and a home brew store. And we wanted it central to the Raleigh area.”
And with a brewery, a tap room and a 3,300 square-foot home brew store all on site located near PNC Arena and NC State, that’s exactly what they got. There, visitors can get a tour of the brewery, sample such beers as the Hidden Pipe Porter or the City of Blokes Bitter or get tips for brewing their own beer at home.
Federal, a former social worker in South Boston, Va., met Patrick Nystedt when Federal was working at a home brew store. He says he had been approached about starting breweries before, but the Nystedts offered a tangible piece he’d never seen. “No one had put together a business plan before,” Federal says.
Now a production manager and brewer with Raleigh Brewing Company, Federal says that the key to surviving as a brewery is not just stumbling upon a good beer, but being able to replicate it time and again.
“I have a big thick recipe book of all the things I’ve tried over the years,” he says. “Consistent beer is what can make or break a brewery. There are a lot of breweries out there. You have to set yourself apart and let customers know they’re going to get a quality product every time.”
Raleigh Brewing Company is one of dozens of vendors – including restaurants, farms, breweries, wineries and bakeries – participating in the Red & White Food and Beverage Festival during the week of homecoming. All of the vendors have NC State connections, with alumni as owners or managers. The festival is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at The State Club in the Park Alumni Center. Visit the festival website to register and see a full list of vendors participating.
If you are ever out in Hurdle Mills, N.C., at the Rock of Ages Winery and Vineyard and you happen upon a familiar shade of red at a tasting, understand it’s deliberate.
“Brushy Fork Red is our best seller,” says Rock of Ages’ owner Kevin Moore, who graduated from NC State with an economics degree in 1984. “It’s an NC State red.”
Moore, who had formerly been a stockbroker and also owns Hard Rock Marble & Tile in Hillsborough, N.C., says he made the move to wine in 2002, when he had some land that he didn’t want to simply give up to development. Instead, he wanted to find some way to actually use the land, which has been in his family in Person County since the 1700s.
“And I thought it woudl be a great asset for the community,” he says. “I thought it could mean some good things for the rural community.”
Kevin and Kim Moore
Though Moore came into the wine market with a business background, he got a enology and viticulture degree from Surry Community College to help him learn the science of wine making. And it’s that element that’s kept him and his wife, Kim, with whom he owns the winery, loving the business for more than 10 years now.
“Starting a vineyard in an entire new area is like a kid in the candy store,” he says. “We grow 17 different varieties on 26 acres. We’re trying to couple wine making with the grape-growing.”
While the science is fun for Moore, he says understanding the politics of getting a wine on the retailers’ shelves has been hard work. He says more famous and well-established wines may not necessarily want to see a local winery’s product on a shelf, and so there’s always a need for constant monitoring to make sure Rock of Ages’ wines are where they need to be in a retailer.
Moore’s had hire a sales manager who does nothing but monitor retailers to make sure prices are correct and to see if the wine has been hidden, say, behind potato chips. “You have to go out and fight for almost every bottle you sell,” Moore says.
Rock of Ages also hosts weddings, private gatherings and free events for the public. But if you’re ever there, you bet you won’t see any light blue products.
“For obvious reasons, we don’t want to make a Carolina blue wine,” Moore says, laughing.
Rock of Ages Winery is one of dozens of vendors – including restaurants, farms, breweries, wineries and bakeries – participating in the Red & White Food and Beverage Festival during the week of homecoming. All of the vendors have NC State connections, with alumni as owners or managers. The festival is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at The State Club in the Park Alumni Center. Visit the festival website to register and see a full list of vendors participating.
Last week, campus organizations built and manned wooden shacks in the Brickyard for Shack-a-Thon, a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. By Sunday, the event had already broken its fundraising record, collecting more than $28,500 in donations.
Though the shacks came down Saturday afternoon, the fundraising effort continues through Oct. 5 with online and mail-in donations.
The Caldwell Fellows, a leadership-development scholarship program, have already met their goal of $4,000, raising more than $4,300 by Saturday afternoon.
“I feel great about this past week,” says Summer Higdon, a senior in wildlife biology and leader of the Fellows’ Shack-a-Thon effort. “Once the shack went up, everyone got 10 times more excited about it.”
Higdon says she expects to receive a few more donations from alumni during the week and feels confident that the Caldwell Fellows will continue their streak of top-three Shack-a-Thon finishes this year.
To contribute to Habitat for Humanity through the Caldwell Fellows, visit 2013ncsushack.kintera.org.
– Alex Sanchez
The Caldwell Fellows program is an intensive leadership-development scholarship program that was created by the Alumni Association to honor the legacy of Chancellor John T. Caldwell.
You’ve spent what seems like an eternity networking. Your profile on LinkedIn is in good shape and your resume is up to date. It’s only a matter of time, right, before the job offers start pouring in.
But first you’ve got to nail the job interview.
“It’s hugely important,” says Catherine Tuttle, career services coordinator for the Alumni Association. “You still have to be able to articulate your skills to a potential employer.”
Tuttle will talk about some of the keys to a successful job interview in the next installment of the Alumni Association’s Career Services Webinar Series. The session, on Sept. 10, is free, but registration is required.
Many job-seekers make the mistake, Tuttle says, of going into a job interview unprepared. That can lead them to ramble, or fail to get to the point, when responding to questions.
Another common mistake, she says, is to not be ready with questions to ask the interviewer. Such questions can be used to illustrate your knowledge of the company and demonstrate your interest in working for that company. “Make it clear that you are passionate about the job,” she says.
The webinar will include representatives from four companies who will answer questions and talk about their experiences as interviewers.
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!
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