Campus Events Category
There’s an endless list of rock ‘n’ roll and country music legends who roared through Reynolds Coliseum over the years and left the crowds wowed by their performances.
The Rolling Stones in ’65. Elton John in ’80. Van Halen in ’82. And who can forget Conway Twitty closing his show with “Three Times a Lady” and “It’s Only Make Believe” in 1984?
That succession of music memories ended temporarily on this day in 1984, however, when university officials announced Reynolds Coliseum would no longer host rock concerts.
“Reynolds Coliseum will not be booking any future rock concerts,” read the first line in the Technician‘s lead story that day.
That statement, as reported in the same article, was the only statement released by Richard Farrell, business manager of Reynolds Coliseum at the time. It seemed to be a response to a request from Jim Edwards, chairman of the Union Activities Board‘s entertainment committee. He had written a letter to Athletics Director Willis Casey earlier that August asking for approval to invite such acts as ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen and Prince to play inside Reynolds.
Instead of receiving a response from Casey, Edwards got the one-sentence statement from Farrell, according to the Technician.
“I personally feel the administration has made this decision because most of the crowd (at rock concerts) are non students, and because they don’t like the type of crowd that rock ‘n’ roll concerts draw,” Edwards told the paper. “For Friends of the College events, I feel that student attendance is lower than at rock ‘n’ roll concerts such as Van Halen. …To me they’re segregating the types of music.”
The policy by NC State administrators turned out to be only a temporary injunction on fun at the coliseum, as acts like the Charlie Daniels Band, Alabama and Aerosmith went on to rock out Reynolds in the late 1980s.
For years it had become an annual August custom for students to stand in the lines on Reynolds Coliseum’s floor and sweat it out — literally and figuratively.
They waited for hours to see if they could drop the course with the professor who was a harsh grader and get into a class that might offer them a more comfortable academic setting or might allow them to sleep in on weekdays.
But all of that ended on this day in 1988 as NC State held the last-ever registration/change day in Reynolds.
“The day is a finale for a university-old tradition,” the Technician reported, “and the signs and posters mean a new easier process of registration is on the way.”
This scene in Reynolds Coliseum became a thing of the past in 1988, when NC State held its last-ever change day.
The signs and posters were advertising TRACS, or Telephonic Registration Access in Computerized Scheduling. It was described as a “high tech” and efficient system that enabled students to get into that one business class they needed before graduation by simply picking up the phone and dialing a number.
NC State was the first university in the state to go telephonic, according to the Technician. “We’re on the cutting edge in technology,” an NC State official told the paper. “Only 30 to 35 schools in the nation have this system.”
The system allowed for the use of 12 telephone lines for a 22 day period that started Oct. 30, 1988. Each student was assigned a certain window in which he or she could call.
Jason Jefferies grew up finding a story anywhere he could. He consumed comic books daily and saw video games as storytelling devices. That led him to study English and literature. He fell in love with the works of authors such as James Joyce and T.S. Eliot, appreciating the authors as people and reading about their lives.
Jason Jefferies promotes the 2014 N.C. Literary Festival at a radio station.
So it makes complete sense that Jefferies, a former library supervisor at NC State who earned a master’s degree in English in 2008, has a job that’s all about his love of authors.
He’s the programming coordinator for the 2014 N.C. Literary Festival, which kicks off today and runs until Sunday at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on Centennial Campus.
Jefferies, 33, says that his job consists of securing authors, developing the programs, raising money, handling the press and managing volunteers.
And he is most proud of this year’s festival location: the Hunt Library. In fact, when the festival, which rotates between Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central and NC State, was set to come to Raleigh after the 2009 event, organizers postponed it until this year when they knew that the Hunt Library would be open and ready to take center stage.
“The best part of the job is really just coming back to the campus where I received my master’s degree,” says Jefferies. “I’ve been able to work very closely with the creative writing program.”
So how did he decide to bring in literary heavyweights such as Richard Ford and Junot Diaz? You might say Jefferies figured out what was “socially” acceptable. He conducted social media polls and talked to local booksellers.
The choices he made were good ones. The response to the festival has been outstanding and underscores that there are more readers than ever out there.
“Society is more literate,” Jefferies says. “People are reading blogs. And they’re reading and writing more than they were 20 years ago. With the Kindle and other devices, folks are buying books that they normally wouldn’t have.”
One of the more scandalous would-be visitors in NC State’s history was Playboy model June Wilkinson. The pin-up girl was set to appear on campus in 1962, but the appearance was axed on this day 52 years ago.
The reason why was never totally revealed. According to The Technician, Wilkinson’s appearance was canceled due to one of two reasons. Either school administrators feared she would create too much “havoc” with the anticipated number of young men that would come to see her, or there simply was not room given that Gov. Terry Sanford was scheduled to appear on the same day.
Some even implied it might have been a matter of one not measuring up to the other. “June Wilkinson, allegedly 42-21-39 (?), lost the chance to appear on the State College campus Saturday to Governor Sanford (measurements unknown),” read the lead in The Technician‘s article about Wilkinson’s failed appearance.
However, Wilkinson kept her promise to appear and showed up at the Western Lanes bowling alley for autographs the following Saturday.
Adlai Stevenson was born with aspirations in his blood to one day live in the White House. His father, also named Adlai Stevenson, was Grover Cleveland’s vice president from 1893 to 1897.
So Stevenson the second spent much of his adult life trying to reach the highest levels of U.S. politics. He built on a successful career as a lawyer and served as assistants to the secretary of the Navy and to the secretary of state. He was elected governor in Illinois, serving a four-year term beginning in 1949.
And he ran for president as the Democratic candidate in 1952 and 1956, losing to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower both times.
After those losses, President John F. Kennedy appointed Stevenson to be ambassador and chief of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations in 1961.
Stevenson was serving in that capacity on this day in 1962 when he kicked off a new series of speakers, known as the Harrelson Lectures, at NC State.
For much of his talk, Stevenson found himself having to defend the role the United Nations played in the world. He conceded that the United Nations lacked some power but that it was not a weak body. He also said the U.N. was “full of conflicts and contradictions,” according to The Technician, but that is “what the U.N. was built for — to overcome conflict, to keep from exploding into war, and ultimately to tame it into something like a true community.”
The first commencement ceremony at NC State — at that time, the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts — was a three-day affair that took place in the spring of 1893. And for the next 97 years, the spring event was the only annual graduation ceremony to take place at the university.
But that all changed on this day in 1991, when 6,000 people gathered in Reynolds Coliseum to be a part of NC State’s first fall commencement.
A Technician article explained the December ceremony, which would become a mainstay at the university, arose after a many student pleas and requests by the NCSU Parent’s Board. Up until then, students who had graduated in the summer or fall would have to wait until the subsequent spring to put on their robe and stride boastfully to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
According to the article, 1,900 students received their diplomas that day, and Larry Monteith, who was chancellor, addressed the graduates and their families.
“We will need leadership,” Monteith said in closing, “we will need commitment, we will need education, we will need goodwill and we will need moral character.”
For 35 years, members of the Air Force ROTC’s Marching Cadets stood guard at the Bell Tower to honor veterans on Pearl Harbor Day. At noon Saturday, members of the now-dissolved fraternity are again meeting at the tower to pay their respects.
Founded in 1960, the Marching Cadets (MCs) served as the Air Force ROTC drill team, presenting the colors at football and basketball games and marching in local parades while spinning, throwing and catching M1 rifles. As its annual service project, the organization would guard the Bell Tower for 24 hours every Dec. 6-7 and hold a wreath laying ceremony.
A Marching Cadet at the Bell Tower in 1977
“Even though it was usually right in the middle of exams, we would go out and take turns for an hour at a time at the Bell Tower in groups of four or five,” says Marching Cadet Will Compton, a 1988 graduate. “It was modeled after the tomb of the unknown solider.”
Though they won’t be in uniform or guarding the tower this year, a group of Marching Cadets plans to honor World War II veteran Millie Beasey with an informal ceremony and wreath laying. Beasey served in the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all-female, all-black postal battalion that helped deliver mail to the front lines in Europe.
T.C. Moore, a Marching Cadet and 1988 graduate, says the group plans to talk to Beasey about her experiences, explain the significance of the tower and share some stories from past ceremonies. Moore and Compton say that while Dec. 6 always used to feel like the coldest night of the year, it was a special one for the cadets.
“It was just a unique feeling to be standing there,” Moore says. “It just gave you a time to reflect on what sacrifices people in the military have made and what they gave up, and you knew you were doing your own little part in helping honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Compton delivered a speech at his first ceremony in 1986. He says having the chance to speak about the events of Dec. 7, 1941, in front of a Pearl Harbor survivor is something he’ll never forget.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” he says. “To actually have the Pearl Harbor survivor present certainly evoked images of what they went through.”
As a freshman, Moore noticed those wearing the Marching Cadets’ red-and-white cords always seemed to have it together and asked how he could join. Both Moore and Compton pledged in spring of 1986 and were inducted the weekend of the North Carolina Azalea Festival parade in Wilmington, N.C., one of the biggest events the group participated in.
Both Compton and Moore served in the Air Force after graduation. Moore now works for the Air Force as a civilian contractor and Compton is a Delta Airlines pilot.
Over the years, the Marching Cadets became an incredibly tight-knit group of men and women. And once members were initiated, they were in for life, even if they graduated or dropped out — Moore says it isn’t uncommon to see graduates come back to meetings or help out at events.
The group fell on hard times in the ’90s when Air Force ROTC’s national headquarters withdrew its sponsorship and membership declined from about 30 ROTC members to less than 20. Though the Marching Cadets fraternity dissolved in 1996, its legacy hasn’t — the Air Force ROTC guards the Bell Tower overnight for Veterans Day and the cadets held a reunion in 2011.
After the reunion, Compton, Moore and other Raleigh-area members decided to bring back “team eats,” a dining-out tradition from their college days. They try to get together for dinner once a month.
Reynolds Coliseum has seen its share of great performances, from the rock ‘n’ roll stylings of the Rolling Stones to David Thompson’s leaps over opponents.
But on this day in 1961, the arena was treated to something just as enticing as Thompson’s acrobatics when the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company performed there.
The performance, which was a part of the Friends of the College series, was presented in five parts to illustrate the cultural heritage of the Philippines.
One of those parts included the Maginlatik (above). The Technician described the all-male dance as one “characterized by horse-play and the beating of a staccato tattoo on sets of coconut shells positioned on the thighs, hips, chests, and backs of dancers. The dance has its origins in a mock fight for latik, which is the coconut meat residue after the oil has been pressed from it.”
The Bayanihan visit would be a precursor to another dance troupe’s performance at NC State several weeks later. In another performance in the Friends of the College Series, the Polish Mazowsze (below), not to be outdone, wowed another Reynolds’ audience.
Ken Blackburn was, in 1983, an unknown junior in aerospace engineering at NC State who had but one dream — to own the sky.
And it was on this day 30 years ago that Blackburn’s anonymity died and his dream took off as he set the world record for indoor paper-airplane flight in Reynolds Coliseum with his cutting-edge pulp glider, “Bossy,” that cut through the air for 16.89 seconds.
“‘Bossy,’ the record breaking plane, is constructed from a piece of standard-sized typing paper,” the Technician reported, quoting Blackburn as describing his design as being “highly modified” from a design he saw in a book in elementary school.
That November day had been a long time coming for Blackburn. According to the Technician‘s account, he’d been cradling that dream since the sixth grade. He had broken the record, which had been on the books since 1975, by three seconds a year before the historic flight in Reynolds. Unfortunately, there was no official representative from Guinness World Records to record that initial flight.
Even on the record day in 1983, “Bossy” wouldn’t have joined Blackburn on the unfolded pages of history if not for a simple twist of fate taking down another of his planes. “During warm-up, ‘Old Betsy,’ his previous record-breaking plane, gave her life as she drifted into the speaker system in the rafters of Reynolds Coliseum,” the Technician reported.
Ken Blackburn’s launch was captured by a Technician photographer.
According to the story, only six people were on hand to see history that day. But that, and the wear-and-tear that paper airplanes can inflict on their launchers, didn’t deter Blackburn from enjoying his glory. “Blackburn said that his right arm would be sore for the next few days, but this did not take away from the excitement of his accomplishment.” the Technician‘s account read.
Blackburn, who graduated from NC State in 1985, continued his upward trajectory after college. According to his website, he set another record in 1987 with a 17.2-second flight. He wrote and published The World Record Paper Air Plane Book. And he set another record in 1998 inside of Atlanta’s Georgia Dome with an airplane that whirled and twirled for 27.6 seconds.
According to Guinness World Records’ website, the current record for a paper airplane’s flight stands at 29.2 seconds and was set by someone else in Japan in 2010.
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.”