Catching Up with Chancellor Woodson

May 28, 2010
By Cherry Crayton

We spoke with Chancellor Randy Woodson a couple of weeks ago for a story we’re working on for the summer issue of NC State magazine. He took the time during our interview to answer several questions about his time at NC State since he officially began work here on April 5.  In our new interview with him, he talks about the biggest challenges, what he’s learned, and his favorite NC State moments so far. (If you haven’t read our interview with Chancellor Woodson from our spring issue of NC State magazine, read that here.)

Chancellor Randy Woodson and his wife, Susan. (Photo by Vincent Walter)

Chancellor Randy Woodson and his wife, Susan. (Photo by Vincent Walter)

Describe what your time as chancellor has been like so far.
It’s been fantastic. Part of it is that I felt like I did everything I could to be ready for this job by spending time here before I was officially in the position. Someone said to me yesterday, “You hit the ground running.” And I said, “You know, I think the ground was moving. I didn’t have any choice to start running.” It was like a treadmill and already turned on full speed. You’ve got to run. And the transition has been great. There are a lot of people to meet, and a lot of people to get to know. I’ve been around the state, and I’ve been meeting with alumni and faculty and staff and some leaders. It’s been fantastic.

What’s some of the best advice you’ve received?
You get a lot of advice. Probably one of the best pieces of advice is to take the time to get to know the culture of the university and the people of the university so you can understand the context before final decisions are made; so I’m working hard to do that.

What have you learned?
I knew this, but this has been reinforced: This university touches every portion of the state. We are in every county of the state, and we have alumni all over the state, and they are passionate about NC State and they want to be more proud of it. I tell all the alumni, “My job is to enhance the value of their degree.” The alumni and students make an investment in this place and an investment in their future when they become students here; and just like any investment we make, we want the value of that to keep going up. The best way to do that is to increase the academic reputation of NC State.

What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Just getting up to speed as quickly as possible by understanding the university and the climate. I came in here the first of April, and we’ve had to deal with athletics and launch a search for a provost and we’re here in the middle of a legislative session and we’ve trying to advocate for the funding of this university. I’ve spent a lot of time at the General Assembly. While it’s not a challenge, this is a big job.

What’s been the most rewarding experience so far?
Graduation. Students were so excited because they were in red, and they have been asking for that for a long time. I don’t want to take credit for this because it certainly wasn’t me, but I’ve been told it was one of the better graduations. I think it was the attitude of being in red. Our students want very much to be proud of NC State, and a little thing like wearing red to celebrate the pride in NC State meant a lot to them.

What’s been your favorite NC State moment?
Graduation was a big one, but I’ve had great meetings with a lot of people. And overall, the most impressive thing has been the excitement and passion that people have for this university. It’s great because it makes it easier to keep pushing to make NC State better.


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