Campus Buildings Category
Augustus Witherspoon was a pioneer at NC State. He was the second African-American to earn a Ph.D. from NC State (he also earned a master’s at NC State) and the first African-American professor (of botany) to work at the university. He would later go on to become associate dean of the graduate school and the associate provost for African-American affairs.
So it was fitting that on this day in 1995, the Student Center Annex was renamed the Witherspoon Student Center in honor of Witherspoon.
“He was like a father figure to many students,” Tracey Avery, president of the student center, said in a story in the Technician. “He served as an inspiration for the future generation.”
The Witherspoon Student Center was built in 1990, and initially provided offices for student government and campus publications. It now houses the NC State African American Cultural Center.
It was the 1960s and the newly organized School of Physical Sciences and Applied Math was growing so much so that it needed more space for its Department of Physics.
And on this day in 1962 NC State administrators announced that the physics department would get a new home.
“The modern structure, slated for completion in the middle of 1963, will enclose approximately 64,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, and it will be completely air conditioned,” read the administration’s statement in The Technician that year. The building’s plans promised a six-story facility to be built behind Harrelson Hall and be utilized for general lab space for undergraduate and graduate physics students. Lectures were still going to be held in Harrelson. And the new building was set to also host the Department of Experimental Statistics.
The proposed physics building in 1962. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.
The building was constructed and eventually became what is now known as Cox Hall. It was named for Gertrude Mary Cox, a statistics expert and the first woman to be a full professor and department head at NC State. She was hired to begin the Department of Experimental Statistics here.
The last remnants of Riddick Stadium, as noted in the winter issue of NC State magazine, came down last April when the stadium’s field house was demolished to improve pedestrian access and safety near the railroad tunnel. That means that the only remaining salute to one of the most important figures in NC State’s history is Riddick Hall, which houses the physics department.
And as much as Wallace Carl Riddick did for the university, both as an athletics coach and as an administrator trying to grow NC State, it’s fitting that the campus can’t wholly shake his name.
Riddick first came to NC State in the college’s infancy, joining the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1892. He came as a professor of civil engineering after graduating UNC-Chapel Hill and obtaining a graduate degree from Lehigh University (and, according to his obituary in the American Society of Civil Engineers, even being expelled from Wake Forest College for being a member of a fraternity, or as the college saw it, a secret society).
In his years of building a robust civil engineering department at the college, Riddick became known as being the “father of engineering in North Carolina,” as former chancellor J.W. Harrelson once described him. And David Lockmiller, in his History of the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, credits Riddick’s efforts as being the driving force behind bringing sewer connections and city water to campus in the early 1900s. Riddick also coached the 1898 and 1899 football squads.
Riddick was elected vice-president in 1908 and president in 1916. The college’s name was changed to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering during his time in office, according to Hardy D. Berry’s Place Names on the Campus of North Carolina State University. Riddick gave up the post in 1923 to become the first dean of the School of Engineering.
When Riddick Engineering Laboratories were dedicated in April 1951, the formal program memorialized Riddick, who had died in 1942, as “the man who has served State College in more capacities and for a longer time than any other person.” It also hailed his leadership for guiding “the college through the turbulent period of the first world war and its aftermath. Under his guidance the college made some of its greatest progress.”
Riddick later in his life.
In Riddick’s file at the Alumni Association, there is a letter from his wife, Lillian Daniel Riddick, in which she outlines her husband’s belief in NC State and the students it serves. She tells a story about a group of Serbian students who were brought over to study at NC State with their first year paid for. But when it became apparent that personnel changes at the college had led to those same students not having a funding source for their remaining three years, Riddick stepped in. As president, he persuaded the Board of Trustees to let the Serbian young men finish their studies with the college giving them their tuition and board.
It was that belief in education that defined Riddick and his commitment to NC State, where his name will never be forgotten.
Abie Harris will turn 80 in early January, and his friends and colleagues at the Roundabout Art Collective in Raleigh have come up with a special way to celebrate the occasion and Harris’ long ties to NC State.
Harris is an NC State alumnus, having graduated with a degree in design in 1957. Following graduation, Harris won the prestigious Paris Prize in Architecture and was able to travel and study throughout Europe. He eventually returned to NC State as a professor in the College of Design and the university architect, a job that gave him a leading role in the development of Centennial Campus and the re-development of Main Campus.
But Harris is also an artist, focusing on drawing in pastels and acrylics since he retired from NC State in 1998. He is a charter artist at the Roundabout Art Collective, which will celebrate his 80th birthday with a retrospective of his life in art. The show, which opens on Jan. 3 as part of Raleigh’s First Friday festivities, will feature nearly 60 years of Harris’ drawings and paintings. Some of the drawings will be sketches of buildings on NC State’s campus that Harris did while he worked at the university. On Saturday, Jan. 4, Harris will open the studio and gallery in his home in Raleigh to showcase more of his works.
A drawing by Harris of the Parthenon from his travels as a recipient of the Paris Prize
“There are drawings that were part of my work as university architect,” Harris says. “There are a lot of travel sketches and recent paintings that I’ve done. It will have a lot of variety.”
Even in retirement, Harris has maintained his ties to NC State, walking across campus every day to work out in Carmichael Gym. It’s a campus that he helped shape and design.
When Harris was hired as the university architect, Chancellor John T. Caldwell was clear about his mission. “Caldwell charged me with making the campus a better looking place,” Harris recalls. “Looking back at it, I feel very satisfied that the campus is much nicer today than it was then.”
The Court of North Carolina, for instance, had a street running through it when Harris started working at NC State. “We have taken parking lots and made courtyards out of them,” he says. “The whole emphasis was on the spaces in between. That is something that is starting to mature and blossom.”
The creative energy that Harris brought to his work on campus is now directed into his art. He says that joining the Roundabout Art Collective — and surrounding himself with high-energy, creative people — has been a boon to his own productivity.
“I very much enjoy the process,” Harris says of his drawings and paintings. “I enjoy the finished product because it’s very seldom what I imagine it’s going to be. I’ve always enjoyed putting ink or color on paper and seeing how those interact and take on a life of its own.”
Harris recently took on the unusual challenge of drawing music. Yes, drawing music. Harris was challenged by a friend who performs in the N.C. Symphony to draw the Goldberg Variations, compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, during a recent performance by the symphony. So Harris drew the music — he ended up creating about 50 drawings (right) and paintings — while listening to the symphony perform. “That was fairly unusual,” he says.
Harris is excited about the upcoming retrospective.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself going through this process,” he says. “I like to draw and hope to continue to draw. I hope that people just appreciate that process.”
When you consider all that Carroll Lamb Mann did for NC State during his 47 years as a professor of civil engineering (including 32 years as head of the Department of Civil Engineering), it’s not surprising that he would have a building on campus named for him.
But two buildings?
On this day in 1963, the Technician reported that the new civil engineering building had been completed. The story noted that the four-story building, with more than 76,000 square feet of space, would be named after Mann.
What the story did not note was that it would be the second building at NC State that had been named for Mann. The other building had been incorporated into Daniels Hall in 1956, some seven years earlier.
The new civil engineering building was a 65 percent increase in existing engineering facilities on campus, but it was also designed so that it could be expanded either vertically or horizontally, according to the story.
It was, as noted by NC State’s facilities division, typical of many building constructed in the 19609s. But it included at least one feature not found in most buildings — a five-foot thick concrete slab floor in a lab used for structural testing.
Mann, the building’s namesake, spent much of his life at NC State. He majored in civil engineering at the end of the 19th century, earning his degree in 1899. After working as a surveyor (he was part of an effort to study the feasibility of building a canal across Nicaragua), Mann returned to NC State as a professor of civil engineering and served as head of the Department of Civil Engineering for 32 years. He would teach at NC State for nearly five decades before retiring in 1948.
He also served for 30 years as chairman of the alumni memorial committee that conceived of and constructed the Memorial Bell Tower. The tower was dedicated in 1949, one year after Mann’s retirement from NC State.
“My greatest experience has been the work I have done on that tower,” Mann once said. “When the time comes for me to die, the last think I want to hear are the chimes on Memorial Tower at the College.”
E.T. hit movie theaters in 1982, chronicling a boy’s friendship with an kind alien from outer space.
But on this day almost two decades earlier, NC State was home to its own alien invasion. According to a 1961 article in The Technician, a crowd gathered to see — and welcome – the extraterrestrial, which had landed his spacecraft on top of Harrelson Hall.
“Hundreds of students, mistaking him for the Great Pumpkin, surrounded the flying saucer where they knelt in silent reverence and presented offerings of candy, popcorn, and one unfortunate professor,” the article read.
But, according to The Technician‘s report, once students realized it was an alien, he was vaporized: “It was not until the invader said, ‘Take me to the College Union’ that the students realized he was from outer space. He was immediately disintegrated by an [electrical engineering] major with a modified slide rule.”
We weren’t there, but we’re guessing this was an ”unreal” experience for the students who saw it.
For more than 60 years, NC State students had only the classroom in which to gain and test their knowledge of their desired disciplines. It wasn’t until 1954 that they had a place on campus where they could become “Grade-A humans as well as Grade-A technicians.”
Such was the promise in The Technician that came out on this day in 1954, announcing the opening and dedication of the new College Union. The article outlined the purposes of the more-than $1 million facility that opened in the heart of campus. The newspaper emphasized how the building’s game room, ballroom and art gallery would provide State students with new activities, programs, weekend recreation and “above all, pride in his school.”
Students enjoy the “sharpest snack bar” in the Student Union
The dedication of the building, which would go on to be named the Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union and is now known as the Atrium, was the culmination of six years of planning and construction. The Technician claimed it contained “the sharpest snack bar you’ve ever seen.” It also boasted a 40-by-12 mural painted by famed American artist Manuel Bromberg that contained in it 60 symbols and formulas from all disciplines taught on campus in order to represent the marriage between art and science at NC State.
But as snazzy as the snack bar was in 1954, it probably won’t hold a candle to the new food options opening this fall in the renovated Talley Student Union. That $120 million renovation began in 2011 and is slated to end in the fall of 2014.
Until a few years ago, it wasn’t easy to walk from the Brickyard to the Court of North Carolina. A straight path would take you between Ricks and Withers halls, and then, something stood in the way: The 1911 Building.
“It was the building you had to walk around,” says Ed Funkhouser, assistant professor of communication and a former facilities coordinator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The 1911 Building was originally a dorm (named for the Class of 1911, which abolished hazing), and after it was put to use for classrooms and offices it was still a hodgepodge of small rooms and hallways, says Funkhouser, who once had an office in the building. In the 1990s, some walls were knocked down to make it easier to navigate.
But it wasn’t until 2008 that a major renovation cleared the sight lines between the front door at the top of the hill on the Court of North Carolina and the back door, which opens onto a tiny side street.
Originally, Funkhouser says, university officials considered building a tunnel through the middle of the building, much like the one that was made a part of David Clark Labs when a new addition was added. But in the end, the idea of a clear front and back door with easy access won out.
Now the building’s front door opens into a spacious lobby, and the back door is clearly in view. The 2008 renovation also replaced clanking radiators and window air conditioners with central heating and cooling. Some columns within the building could not be moved, so there are no large lecture halls, but classrooms and offices were enlarged.
The renovation was complemented by new landscaping in the Court of North Carolina, which had already undergone changes in 1996 when Hurricane Fran uprooted dozens of stately trees, including two huge willow oaks behind Winston Hall. “Prior to Fran, we had more trees and less lawn,” says Funkhouser.
Today, sloping brick walkways (that are also handicapped-accessible) now lead to the terrace at the top of the hill in front of the 1911 Building. And from the top of the hill, it’s a straight shot to the Brickyard.
– Sylvia Adcock ’81
Banks Talley was never a student at NC State, but there are few as influential in the development of student programs at the university than the former vice chancellor of student affairs.
A holder of three degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Talley first came to NC State in 1951 to become the assistant dean of students. That job offer is something he remembered fondly in his interview with the Student Leadership Initiative, which is NCSU Libraries‘ archived collection of former campus leaders telling their stories on camera.
“I came over and applied for the job and ultimately I got a little handwritten note from Dean [Ed] Cloyd saying, ‘If you want the job you can have it, starting-,’ date so-and-so, salary thirty-six hundred dollars,” Talley said. “That’s the sort of thing you remember. So, here I’ve been most of my life.”
Talley worked in the university’s division for student affairs for 32 years. In that time, the arts flourished at NC State, with Talley believing more students needed to be exposed to cultural programs. He developed the Friends of the College program, which brought renowned performers like Leonard Bernstein to Raleigh. And he helped enrich and expand the arts curriculum at the university, opening it up to engineering, agriculture and textiles students.
In 1984, Talley left his post at NC State to become executive director of the N.C. Symphony Society Inc, but he made frequent returns to campus in varying capacities. The Talley Student Center bears his name.
Curtis Dail, a long and devoted supporter of NC State University who made significant contributions to Wolfpack athletics, has died.
Dail, who was 85, and his wife of more than 50 years, Jackie, were Wolfpack fans despite never having attended NC State. Campus athletic facilities prospered thanks to more than $10 million in donations by the Dails over the years. Their names appear on the Curtis & Jacqueline Dail Basketball Complex at the Weisiger-Brown Athletics Facility, the Dail Plaza at Carter-Finley Stadium, Dail Club at Vaughn Towers, a football practice complex and an outdoor tennis stadium.
“He’s one of the men I most admired at NC State,” says Wolfpack Club Executive Director Bobby Purcell. “He cared deeply about his church, family, community and NC State. If you were a friend of Curtis, you were a friend forever.”
Jackie and Curtis Dail in 2007.
Originally from Cumberland County, Dail grew up on a tobacco and cotton farm with nine siblings. He received a partial scholarship to play basketball and baseball at East Carolina University, but he didn’t have the money to pay for the rest of his college expenses. He was drafted by the Army, where he spent three years as a jumper with the 101st Airborne.
After a series of jobs, Dail finally hit upon the business in 1975 that would define him — in the fast food industry. That year, he bought a half-share in two Hardee’s fast-food restaurants in Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh. According to a 2007 article in NC State magazine, Dail would go on to own 24 Hardee’s across North and South Carolina before selling the restaurants in the late 1980s to shift his focus to real estate.
Dail’s allegiance to NC State was secured during an encounter in Fayetteville, N.C. Dail refereed high school and college basketball games there that legendary Wolfpack basketball coach Everett Case would visit annually.
“Case would bring his squad to Fayetteville every year to go over rules changes with the referees,” Dail said in the 2007 article. “I really respected the commitment he had to educating both his players and all of us, and I’ve been a State fan ever since.”
The Dails funded athletic scholarships through the Wolfpack Club, and Curtis served on its board of directors. They also named the grand reception room in the Park Alumni Center on Centennial Campus. Curtis and Jackie Dail were named as Honorable Alumnus and Alumna by the Alumni Association in 2006.
There will be a visitation for Curtis today, May 30, from 6-8 p.m. at the Bryan-Lee Funeral Home in Garner, N.C. His funeral will be held Friday, May 31, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Garner.