NCSU Libraries Category
Wonder what it was like to be a student at NC State during the Great Depression? Or what it was like on campus when Pearl Harbor was attacked? Curious about what it was like to be an African-American student at NC State in the late 1960s, or how it felt to be the first woman to serve as the student body president?
Thanks to the folks at NCSU Libraries, you can find the answer to these and other questions about student life at NC State through the years. Through a project known as the Student Leadership Initiative, NCSU Libraries has assembled oral histories, photographs and other documents associated with student leaders at NC State. The project’s website featured video interviews with everyone from former senior class president William Friday to former student body president James B. Hunt Jr.
Over the course of this summer, we will periodically feature some of the project’s work here at redandwhiteforlife.com. So stay tuned.
With about 100 group study rooms and a wide variety of chairs, sofas, tables and desks, the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library on Centennial Campus has plenty of spots for students to get ready for their next class or work on a project. You can read all about it in the cover story on the Hunt Library in the spring issue of NC State magazine.
What the Hunt Library doesn’t have yet, though, is memories. Those still belong to D.H. Hill Library on the main campus, where countless alums spent their college years prowling the stacks.
Did you have a particular carrel that got you in the study mode? Did you ever pull an all-nighter and find yourself asleep in the stacks? Do you remember your first encounter with technology at D.H. Hill?
We would love to hear your stories of life in D.H. Hill, and share them with our readers in the fall issue of NC State magazine. You can write us at email@example.com or share your story here in our comments section. In either case, please be sure to include your name, the town or city where you live and your graduation year.
The James B. Hunt Jr. Library has been open since January, but it remains a work in progress.
The Hunt Library makes the latest technology available to students and faculty, but the final touches are still being made to some of the most innovative spaces in the new library on Centennial Campus. The Game Lab, with its 20×5-foot MicroTile display screen, is now open four hours each evening for students wanting to try their hand at the latest video games and is expected to be open around-the-clock soon. The Teaching and Visualization Lab and the Creativity Studio are scheduled to open this summer, although the spaces already have been used by a couple of different groups.
The challenge, says Maurice York (right), head of information technology for NCSU Libraries, has been to make sure library patrons can easily make use of all the new high-tech tools.
“We’ve got a lot of advanced technology in the building, but if the right human interface isn’t there to make it easy to engage with, it just becomes a big pile of hardware,” says York. “With any of these spaces, no matter what the level of technology, you should be able to walk in, push some buttons, and get to work. You should not have to have a secret handshake or three months of training, so that this building really is in the hands of the students.”
Making such cutting-edge technology readily available to students is at the heart of what the Hunt Library is about. Students and professors can even check out some items, ranging from iPads to credit-card sized computers that plug into a television.
“It’s a crazy idea,” York says. “But we know they want to get their hands on stuff. They’re not happy with a passive presentation of technology, because it’s not that interesting. They’re not here to learn how to use a computer or how to use a display. They’re here to learn how to engineer the next generation of that stuff. So if they can’t get their hands on it and mess with it, we haven’t really done our job.”
York has been pleased with the initial response to the new library, which is featured in the spring issue of NC State magazine. He says the library is full most nights and weekends and that students have occasionally complained about not being able to find a seat. He says the library’s group study rooms have been extremely popular, and that students have taken advantage of the display screens and other technology available in each of the study rooms.
One of York’s next challenges is to find a way to get some of the technological features of the Hunt Library into D.H. Hill Library. “It’s easy to get to Centennial at night and on weekends, but there’s an enormous center of gravity on North Campus, and we’ve got to be able to bring these services back up there,” he says.
The automated bookBot at the Hunt Library, with its capacity for 2 million books, has freed up space in D.H. Hill that had been devoted to the stacks. One of those spaces is being remade into a visualization room, much like the visualization lab at Hunt Library. Those spaces — York calls them black box theaters — will allow students and professors to rethink how they do presentations and other projects. “It’s a very flexible, dynamic learning environment,” York says.
From there, York looks forward to seeing where their imagination will take them. He takes comfort in knowing that they won’t be limited by inadequate technology.
“It’s just so rewarding,” he says, “to be able to listen to what people want to do and say, ‘Yeah, we can do that,’ and know that you’ve got a space for them.”
It’s been open for three months. But today, the James B. Hunt Jr. Library was formally dedicated.
Keynote speaker Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, called the library “a Laboratory of human endeavor, a window to the future.” He said the library embodies the spirit of the Morrill Act, the legislation signed 150 years ago that created land-grant universities such as NC State. Gregorian, the former president of Brown University, praised the vision of Gov. Hunt and his support of education. “I salute you. Today is your day,” he said to Hunt, who sat on the front row with his family.
Chancellor Randy Woodson said the library on Centennial Campus is nothing like the libraries of the past. To those who haven’t been through its spaces, he said, “you’re in for a surprise.’’ Woodson added, “Today’s students need to interact across disciplines in creative ways….We created space for that to happen.’’
The library uses an automated bookBot retrieval system that allows storage of over a million volumes while freeing up more space for study areas. The group study rooms are each equipped with large-screen display monitors, and walls made of whiteboard are ready for students to write down equations and notes. A Teaching and Visualization Lab and Creativity Studio offers opportunities for simulation that can enhance teaching. And patrons can use technology such as 3-D printing. At the conclusion of the dedication, Woodson presented Gregorian with a 3-D printed version of the Hunt Library.
Andy Walsh addresses the audience at the dedication of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
Andy Walsh, student body president, spoke of the buzz among students about the building— saying it was a constant presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He noted that more than 1,700 images of the library are online through the #myhuntlibrary campaign to collect photos of the library.
You can read more about the library in the upcoming issue of NC State magazine, a benefit of membership in the Alumni Association.
The building attracted attention while it was still under construction in 1958. Shaped like an “X” when seen from above, the building was described as a “new modernistic dormitory.”
But when it came time to name the newest addition to the NC State campus, university officials looked to the past and named the new dormitory Bragaw Residence Hall. It was named after Henry Churchill Bragaw, an NC State alum who had managed the Orton Plantation near Wilmington, N.C. He was credited with developing one of the largest collections of camellias in the South, according to an account in Historical State, an online archive maintained by NCSU Libraries.
Henry Churchill Bragaw
The new dormitory was dedicated on this day in 1959.
Bragaw had been a stellar student at NC State, where he studied forestry. He earned membership in Golden Chain, was chairman of a foresting competition and was vice president of the agricultural fair. He also managed and edited publications in agriculture and forestry.
But after his four-year stint at Orton Plantation following his graduation in 1938, Bragaw was inducted into the armed services and saw action in Italy during World War II. He was killed during the Battle of San Pietro. He won the Silver and Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.
It’s just a simple roll-top desk, but it’s also a piece of history. The desk used by Charles W. Dabney to draft the legislation that would establish the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts is on display in the Special Collections Reading Room in D.H. Hill Library.
Dabney was an early member of the Watauga Club, an influential group of civic leaders who focused their efforts on working for the founding of a college to teach farming and manufacturing skills to young men. After Dabney wrote the bill, it was introduced by Augustus Leazar. Passage came on March 7, 1887; a day celebrated as “Founders Day” at NC State. The rest is history.
Dabney himself was a prodigy. He graduated from Hampton-Sydney College at the age of 17 and then continued his studies at the University of Virginia. He went to Germany to get a Ph.D. in chemistry, and in 1880 he became North Carolina’s state chemist and director of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, an agency created to analyze fertilizers, soils and water. He lobbied for the station to be moved to a farm west of Raleigh, and Dabney and his assistants began to expand their work from an office headquartered in a farm house on what is now Vanderbilt Avenue near campus.
The Dabney Hall on main campus, built in 1969, honors Dabney. There is also a Dabney Hall at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where Dabney served as president.
– Sylvia Adcock ‘81
Going to college, it seems, has always been a costly proposition.
There have been countless news stories and studies done in recent years about the rising costs of higher education amid concerns that some people won’t be able to afford a college education.
But concerns about rising tuition are nothing new at NC State.
On this day in 1939, students at State College gathered in Thompson Gymnasium to protest plans to increase the tuition from $85 to $125 for North Carolina residents and from $180 to $225 for out-of-state students, according to an account in Historical State, an online archive maintained by NCSU Libraries.
“Students don’t know much about State legislation, but when they are hard pressed they can step into action with amazing promptness and really get things done,” read an account in the February 1939 issue of Alumni News.
It was an increase “which most of the boys that go to State College cannot afford,” read the account.
“The plan before the General Assembly was to decrease the school’s appropriation and increase the tuition. Carolina sent over three of its lobbyists, State students called on their legislators and had a few heart-to-heart talks, and the folks back home did their part by sending letters to the Assembly.”
The protest apparently worked, as the Alumni News account said that “the plan seems abandoned.”
It was a big deal when NC State’s basketball team played at Madison Square Garden in New York last month as part of the Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic. It was the team’s first appearance at “The Garden” in several years.
But NC State once had a team that made it a habit of performing at Madison Square Garden — the State College Poultry Judging Team.
On this day in 1926, the Poultry Judging Team competed for the 10th consecutive year in the National Inter-Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest at Madison Square Garden, according to an account in Historical State, an online archive maintained by NCSU Libraries.
The team did well, with senior John Jacob Barnhardt, a vocational education major from Acme, N.C., earning a silver medal for second best individual in utility judging. Other members of the team featured in the 1927 Agromeck were seniors John L. Fort and William M. Ginn and sophomore R.W. Shoffner.
Harry M. Lamon of the Madison Square Garden Poultry Show (far left) congratulates NC State senior John J. Barnhardt for his silver medal. (Photo courtesy of the Agromeck.)
Joab Thomas was not from North Carolina and had no connection to NC State, having earned all his degrees at Harvard University. His strongest ties were to the University of Alabama, where he had taught botany before serving in several administrative roles.
And the man he would succeed as chancellor at NC State, John T. Caldwell, was popular and visible on campus.
Yet on this day in 1976, Joab Thomas became the chancellor at NC State.
“He came to N.C. State because he was impressed by the institution’s potential and the state’s commitment to higher education,” according to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History.
“Thomas’ personality was different from Caldwell’s; he tended to be much more low-key and less visible,” Reagan wrote. “He considered his task one of fine-tuning the university and its programs, and he sought to give priority to quality on every level.”
Thomas stayed at at NC State for almost six years, leaving to become the president of the University of Alabama. He later served as president of Penn State University.
Thomas was recognized for establishing the Caldwell Fellows scholarship program, which is now administered by the Alumni Association, and leading the university to establish the College of Veterinary Medicine. Thomas was supportive of NC State’s library as it completed a campaign to increase the holdings in D.H. Hill Library to one million books. Thomas oversaw the establishment of the NC Japan Center, and the construction of the McKimmon Center, Bostian Hall, Caldwell Hall and Kamphoefner Hall.
Enrollment at NC State grew from 16,903 to 21,169 during Thomas’ tenure.
“He made excellence in academics and research his top priorities, placing strong emphasis on developing major endowments for merit scholarships, increasing funds for professorships, strengthening the University’s library, and upgrading research facilities and resources,” read an account in the NC State alumni magazine when Thomas was presented with the university’s Award of Merit in 1985.
In 2009, the former Southwest Gardner Hall was renamed Thomas Hall in honor of NC State’s ninth chancellor.
Thomas, in a 1996 article in the alumni magazine, fondly recalled his time at NC State.
“When I arrived I found it was a much better institution than I had thought and better than anybody here thought,” he said. “I wanted to make it clear we had to get over this inferiority complex and realize we were first-class. I reminded everyone: The only way an object to the west can cast its shadow on you is when the sun is setting on it.”
In NC State’s early years, the library was nothing more than a small collection of books that shared a building used for other purposes. It’s initial home was in what was known as Main Building (later renamed Holladay Hall), and it moved into the first floor of the new Pullen Hall in 1903.
But as the library’s collection grew — to 10,000 books by the 1920s — college officials and the Alumni Association told state lawmakers that the college needed its own library building. They argued that the existing facilities were “literally a disgrace to an institution of our proportions,” according to North Carolina State University: A Narrative History, by Alice Elizabeth Reagan.
The appeal was successful, with the General Assembly appropriating funds for a new library building. And, on this day in 1923, a contract for the construction of that building was awarded to Joe W. Stout & Company, according to an account in Historical State, an online archive maintained by NCSU Libraries. The cost of the building was to be $227,500.
The new library building, finished in 1926, was later named Brooks Hall in honor of former NC State president Eugene Clyde Brooks. Brooks Hall now houses the College of Design.
Brooks Hall in 1936 photo (Courtesy of Historical State)