NC State History Category
It’s safe to say that almost every Wolfpacker is familiar with campus publications like the Technician or the Agromeck. But for years one of the most prominent publications on campus went unnoticed.
That was until this day in 1983, when the Technician reported that The Wataugan had been rediscovered.
The magazine served as a men’s publication and was founded in the late 1920s. According to the Technician, the magazine was based on The American Mercury, founded by H.L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan and was a humorous response to the tough economic times of the ’20s.
“Parodies began with mock Esquires and mock Times and spread into tabloid lampoons of the National Inquirers of the day,” the Technician reported. “The Technician took regular, mean drubbings.”
The magazine apparently disappeared in the late 50′s. But even 30 years after that, when it was found again, the magazine was lauded for its humor.
“Under the guise of laughter, it is said, truth will out. The Wataugan barrels into the real crisis of campus life, the actual concerns of the people here,” the Technician claimed. “Much of the magazine continues to evoke the same responses despite distance of time and tastes. What could The Wataugan be if it did not have to keep its imagination reigned up? Even more priceless.”
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 had been four years since Jim Valvano had led NC State to the ’83 national championship in basketball, but his name and coaching prowess still resonated, stretching even as far north as New York City.
Valvano had spent the summer months during 1987 flirting with the NBA, specifically with the New York Knicks. He was one of five candidates, along with University of Kansas Head Coach Larry Brown and Providence College Head Coach Rick Pitino, that the Knicks were reportedly considering making their head coach, according to the Technician.
But it was on this day 27 years ago that Valvano closed the door on the New York courtship and pledged to stay with the Wolfpack.
Illustration courtesy of NCSU Libraries.
“At this time, I would like to state that I am definitely remaining at NC State University,” Valvano announced. “My family and I are extremely happy at NC State, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. I have the utmost respect for the New York Knicks and their management. I will always remain a Knicks fan, and I wish them the best of luck.”
The New York native admitted he had met with the Knicks but had never been formally offered a job.
“I love NC State. I’m excited about the future — of what we can become,” he said.
The Knicks eventually hired Pitino, now the head coach of ACC foe Louisville.
With the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts being founded as a men’s college, it set forth a history ripe with potential firsts for the gender-barrier being broken on-campus in Raleigh for many years.
In 1899, the trustees first started to debate whether to admit female students. Jane S. McKimmon became the first woman inducted into the college’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. And later that year, in June, the college first conferred degrees to women. One of those women was Mary E. Yarbrough, the first female graduate to complete all of her graduate coursework at the college.
And it was on this day in 1988, that another historic first for women happened on campus. Aquinas House, NC State’s Catholic Student Center, welcomed its first female staff member as Sister Mary Lynch started as an associate minister.
“I feel that it is important for me to be present, visible and seen,” Lynch said in the Technician. “I am looking forward to whatever opportunities open up for me at NC State.”
One of Lynch’s main goals, she said, was to serve as a role model for young women on campus. She cited that women then comprised 38 percent of the student body and said it was important for them ” to see a woman in a predominantly-male occupational field such as the Catholic ministry.”
Lynch is now director of silent retreats at the University of Notre Dame.
When Willis Casey was hired by NC State to coach its swim team, it began a period of dominance for Wolfpack athletics in which Casey won 16 Southern Conference and ACC titles. He gave up coaching duties and became athletics director in 1969, a post he held for 17 years.
But it was on this day 28 years ago that Casey eschewed any farewell speeches or tearful goodbyes for just a “regular” day that would mark the end of his tenure at NC State and the beginning of his retirement.
“[Casey] just said a few good-byes to his department colleagues and added just a touch of uncharacteristic flamboyancy for a local television station by kissing golf coach Richard Sykes on the cheek,” the Technician reported, adding that Casey’s legacy at NC State was “unsurpassed in Wolfpack Athletic Department history.”
Apart from the swimming dynasty he built as a coach, Casey is credited with turning around an athletics program in the red as athletics director. According to the Technician, he took over a program that was more than $100,000 in debt, in part because of Carter-Finley Stadium’s construction. He also bolstered women’s sports at NC State, hiring Kay Yow as women’s basketball coach. And he also hired Lou Holtz and Jim Valvano, who succeeded Casey as AD.
“The picture most people have of me is I’m a mean son-of-a-gun,” Casey told the Technician his last day on the job. “But I’m really just a teddy bear underneath it all.”
Students certainly had their fair share of options as to which club they might want to join during the early 1980s on campus. There was the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Technology Club. Students could explore conservation in the wildly popular Leopold Wildlife Club. Or they could stay on top of their studies with the Water Ski Club.
But for one club, 1984 marked a major breakthrough as NC State’s campus was introduced on this day for the first time to the Steady State Breakers, the only professional breakdancing crew in Raleigh, the Technician reported.
Steady State consisted of four students who were visionaries, seeing that breakdancing would have just as much staying power as the salsa and or the waltz. Scott Wilce, Richard Lewis, Curtis Hamilton and Elaine Furtis had been practicing daily for several months and worked on other campuses to spread their gospel of gyration.
“The Breakers won a Breakdance contest at Groucho’s during finals week last semester and gave a Breakdancing demonstration at Groucho’s a few weeks ago,” the Technician reported. “In addition, they are currently working a Breakdance clinic at Duke University.”
The club members’ styles varied, with each excelling in one of the multiple facets of the art form. “Other moves include the Hanglide, which is spinning the body using the hand as a pivot and the legs for balance; the Backspin; the Headspin; the Windmill, which is spinning alternately on one shoulder then the other; and the Suicide, which is a no-hands forward flip where you land flat on your back.”
Tommy Burleson was a first-team All-ACC performer after his sophomore year in 1972, but that summer, the 7-foot-4 center took his talents national as he was picked to be on the 12-man Olympic team by head coach Henry Iba.
The pick on this day 34 years ago came after two weeks of Olympic trials at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Burleson was one of three rising juniors that year to be named to the team, according to the Technician.
Norm Sloan, Burleson’s coach at NC State, visited the trials and said the experience gave the center a chance to see for himself just how good he was. “Tom didn’t appreciate how good he was on a national level until these trials,” Sloan said. “This was a good experience for him.”
“I really wanted to make it and I couldn’t sleep the night before the naming of the team on Sunday afternoon,” Burleson said in the Technician. “It is the greatest honor ever bestowed upon me. It meant so much to me and I tried to do everything it took to make it. Not only on the court, but all the little things required. Coach Iba told us it was as tough mentally as it was physically playing in the Olympics and that was why we had such a rigorous training program.”
The ’72 Olympics in Munich that September became forever linked to the massacre by terrorists of eleven athletes from Israel.
The games were also marred by a controversial finish to the men’s basketball final, in which the U.S. team lost to the Soviet team in a game it had initially won. Burleson and his teammates never collected their silver medals.
Burleson recounted the experience for a feature story in NC State magazine in summer 2012.
The summer months are usually reserved for poolside fun, barbecues and trips to the beach. But that wasn’t the case for a group of students at NC State in 1990.
Rather, June marked just the beginning of their yearlong intensive work that led them to a place they’d never been before–the Robotic Walking Machine Decathalon.
On this day 24 years ago, it was announced that a group of engineering and computer science students were going to compete in the event, which was put on annually by the Society of Automotive Engineers, for the first time in school history the following April at the University of Maryland.
There were 10 events or presentations in the contest, each one testing some concept in the field of robotics. According to the Technician, there was the “dash,” where the team’s robot had to walk across the floor in a straight line with no wheels attached. There were events where the robot had to push a hockey puck and walk up a set of stairs.
The team used the summer months to use $12,000 to purchase the materials they needed and test their design. They planned for the robot to be able to walk by Christmas.
There was no record of the team testing if its creation could make it down a chimney.
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.