C.E. “Ed” Vick ’56, ’60 MS, an engineer whose love for NC State led him to play an integral role in the creation of the Caldwell Fellows program and the construction of the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center, died Friday.
Vick was one of the founders of Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., a Raleigh-based engineering, planning and environmental consulting firm that grew to have over 1,500 employees and offices in 17 states. Vick was the longtime president and then chairman of the company before retiring in 2001.
One of Vick’s most fervent passions, along with his church, his family and his company, was NC State. Vick served on a variety of NC State boards, from the Alumni Association Board of Directors to the NC State Board of Visitors.
Vick was generous in his financial contributions to the university, and worked diligently to get others to contribute to NC State. He served as co-chair of the Alumni Association Campaign for Excellence that led to the construction of the Park Alumni Center.
“Ed had a lot of passion for NC State,” said Lynn Eury ’59, the other co-chair of the Campaign for Excellence.
Eury said that he and Vick faced a tough challenge, trying to raise money for the Alumni Center during difficult economic times. “But we kept pushing,” Eury said. “We hung in there and met our goals. Ed would never give up. He was a wonderful person to work with.”
Gene Langley ’61, who was president of the Alumni Association when Vick was on the association’s board of directors, said the Park Alumni Center may not have been built without Vick’s efforts.
“His commitment to seeing that the Park Center was built was just incredible,” Langley said. “He took great, great pride in that building.”
In a 2002 issue of NC State magazine, Vick talked about the importance of creating a world-class facility to serve as the home for the Alumni Association.
“I have long been a proponent of having a center that would be commensurate with the stature of NC State University,” Vick said. “This project, I feel, will be the most important legacy we can leave the university … It will be a rallying point for alumni on campus, a place to meet, eat, socialize and feel good about NC State.”
Vick also was instrumental in the establishment of the Caldwell Fellows program, a merit-based scholarship at NC State.
“There was a realization at the time that NC State did not have a merit scholarship program that might compete with the Morehead at Chapel Hill,” said Gerald Hawkins ’57, the initial directer of the Caldwell Fellows program. “He felt like a quality university ought to have a merit scholarship, and that’s what happened.”
Colleagues and friends said Vick was driven to get results, even if that meant he could sometimes be blunt.
“He wasn’t somebody to fiddle around and talk about the process,” Eury said. “Ed was always talking about, ‘We need to get it done and we need to get it done now.'”
Bob Wright, who succeeded Vick as CEO and chairman at Kimley-Horn, said Vick was a loyal individual – to his company, to his church and to NC State.
“I can’t think of anybody who had the love of NC State that he does,” Wright said. “I think that’s obvious if you look at all the things he has done for NC State.”
Vick was recognized in 1991 with the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award and in 2006 with the Alumni Association Meritorious Service Award. In 2007, he was inducted into the N.C. Transportation Hall of Fame.
Benny Suggs ’69, executive director of the Alumni Association, said Vick was not one to rest on his laurels. He said Vick was always thinking of ways to make NC State better for future generations.
“He had a pride and a passion for NC State that was obvious,” Suggs said. “He was always looking to the future and where NC State could and should go.”