Campus Buildings Category
Campus officials announced earlier this week that a new boutique hotel will take up residence on Centennial Campus in 2016. It’s just the latest building on the campus in a line of new development, including a clubhouse at Lonnie Poole Golf Course, the James B. Hunt Jr. Library and Wolf Ridge Apartments.
But it was on this day in 1988 that Centennial Campus first started to round into form, as officials announced the proposed streets and thoroughfares that would run through campus.
The plans were actually a composite of several plans that had been proposed by various entities, including NC State and the city of Raleigh, according to the Technician.
“The ‘X’ plan, which called for two large intra-campus streets to criss-cross one another, and the ‘Y’ plan which called for a main street which would branch off into two dissipating streets have been abandoned for the composite plan,” the Technician reported. The cost of the planned road work came in at a total of $2 million, according to the article.
NC State officials also announced that there was an ongoing study to research the feasibility of a monorail system that would connect Centennial Campus to main campus.
It was a quiet morning on campus in mid-June 1988. Professor Anton Schreiner was in the midst of teaching a chemistry class in Dabney Hall.
Then 9:42 a.m. came on this day 26 years ago, and news of a fluorine leak from the building’s laster system spread. Shreiner’s students left the building along with everybody else in there.
“I heard someone run by and scream, ‘Fluorine leak!’ and grabbed my stuff and left,” said Brian Buckley, a doctoral student working on research in Dabney, said in the Technician.
The leak of the corrosive gas occurred on Dabney’s seventh floor and led to the evacuation of hundreds of students, faculty and staff from both Dabney and Cox halls.
The cause was the rupture of a copper pipe that carried a helium/fluorine mixture for a laser. One firefighter sustained injuries from a chemical burn, and someone broke into one of the evacuated buildings to steal a Macintosh II personal computer.
“Friday afternoon there were still a few dozen people from the connected halls waiting outside, sipping iced tea and soda provided by the fire department,” the Technician reported. “They were not able to go home because in their rush to leave when the alarms went off, they left behind purses, wallets important notes and car keys.”
But by Saturday morning, Cox and Dabney were re-opened.
NC State’s Department of English had been housed in Winston Hall for 20 years in the spring of 1980. But due to space constraints and a move into the digital age, it was announced on this day in 34 years ago that the department would find a new home in Tompkins Hall.
“Right now, we are teaching any and everywhere,” said Larry S. Champion, professor of English and the department’s chair, in a 1980 Technician article. “We do desperately need the space.”
And part of that space would go to a state-of-the-art computer center to be used as a writing lab. It was meant to solidify a commitment to the writing and editing program and to help place students in journalism or business writing jobs.
“Students will use terminals with video display screens which will display texts for editing,” the Technician reported. “The terminals will be hooked by telephone line line into the Triangle Universities Computation Center (TUCC) used by State, Carolina and Duke, which is based at the Research Triangle.”
Tompkins, which has been home to the English department ever since, was undergoing a renovation at the time of the announcement. The building finally welcomed the wordsmiths in March 1981.
Up until the mid-1950s, the dean of students was a position mostly concerned with doling out discipline and delving into student attendance.
But there emerged a clear need for the position to foster other areas of student life, such as attracting performers to campus, that went beyond strictly academic life. So on this day in 1954, NC State’s director of student housing, James J. Stewart, was given a promotion and was named the college’s first dean of student affairs.
James J. Stewart. Photo courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries.
Stewart made an immediate impact, according to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History. She cites that he upgraded the college’s musical department as one of his first acts. And he helped breathe new life into the ROTC program by placing it under a new leader and getting new uniforms. “[U]nder Stewart’s direction, all aspects of college’s non-academic programs became better coordinated and planned,” Reagan writes.
In 1966, Stewart gained a great deal of respect among the students by siding with them in their fight to secure better food service and choices. He served as dean of student affairs until 1969. Today, Stewart Theatre bears his name.
Visitors to the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center can now enjoy artwork previously displayed at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. With the renovation and expansion of Talley Student Union underway, the Gregg has had to put a vast majority of its collection into storage until a new facility for the museum is completed.
As a part of the fundraising effort to convert the former chancellor’s residence into an art museum, the Gregg Museum put together a campaign committee. One member of the committee, Bing Sizemore, a 1971 textile chemistry graduate, thought it would be a great idea to get some of the art from the Gregg to be displayed at the Alumni Center.
“He thought that if some people who visit the Alumni Center saw some of the pieces of our collection, they might be more likely to donate to our cause,” says Roger Manley, director of the Gregg Museum.
The Park Alumni Center had very little art on display when it opened in 2006. The only art initially was portraits of contributors who donated $1 million or more toward the construction of the Alumni Center. There are nine framed portraits in various rooms throughout the building.
“During the building process, it was kind of a ‘thank you’ to those contributors,” says Randy Ham, associate executive director of outreach and data at the Alumni Association. “The portraits hang in the rooms that were named after them.”
Choosing additional art for the public spaces on the first and second floors was set aside until a few years ago, when the Alumni Association reached out to the Gregg Museum about displaying artwork done by alumni. Those efforts were dropped until about a year ago, when Sizemore approached The State Club and the Alumni Association again. A final agreement was reached last year to get some of the art that would have gone into storage put up in the Alumni Center.
“Manley was given free reign to pick what he thought was appropriate,” Ham says.
The pieces he chose are everything from photographs to landscape paintings. Nearly all of the art is related to NC State or North Carolina in some way. Many of the pieces are from artists who are alumni of NC State.
U.S. soldier in rotor wash of Blackhawk helicopter, Afghanistan, 2002,archival pigment print, gift of Getty Images
The abstract paintings on the first floor were done by George Bireline, a professor at the College of Design from 1955 to 1986. The first floor also features several photographs by NC State alum Chris Hondros, an acclaimed war photographer who was killed in Libya in 2011.
The first floor is also the home for a few contemporary pastel paintings by Will Henry Stevens. While he wasn’t directly associated with the university, Stevens was known for his pastels that depicted rural Southern nature abstracts and landscapes. He used to vacation in the mountains near Asheville, which is where he spent most of his time painting these works.
House with Red Roof, ca. 1921-1948, pastel on paper, gift of Will Henry Stevens Memorial Trust
Another notable artist is Cora Kelley Ward, whose pastel abstracts are located on the second floor. She went to Black Mountain College, a well-known art school at the time. “When they decided to start a college of design here, they looked to that college and tried to make ours the same way,” Manley says.
The last artist showcased at the Alumni Center, on the second floor, is Maud Gatewood. Her abstract landscape paintings were chosen because they are meant to remind alumni of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“We wanted people to have different kinds of art that they could walk around and gravitate toward and enjoy in different ways,” Manley says.
The artwork is expected to stay in the Alumni Center for at least a few years. Ham and Manley would both like for collections to rotate, much like they do at the Gregg Museum, to keep the aesthetics fresh and interesting inside the Alumni Center.
“Our whole goal here is to make this a warm, welcoming, beautifully-decorated building for alumni to visit and consider their home on campus when they’re visiting,” Ham says.
– Sam O’Brien ’14
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.”