Judi Grainger ’72 EDD received her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University, but she spent most of her weekends in those days hanging out at NC State. That’s because Grainger was dating an NC State football player. “I had more friends here at NC State than I did at East Carolina because all my social life was here in Raleigh,” she says.
After graduating from ECU, Grainger returned to Raleigh to work at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Grainger enjoyed working with children with disabilities, but ultimately decided she wanted to go to graduate school in adult education. Naturally, she decided to go to NC State.
“The perfect choice, being right here in Raleigh, was NC State,” she says. “I already loved NC State.”
Grainger now serves as president of the NC State Alumni Association, presiding over the association’s board of directors and serving as an ambassador for NC State. We talked with Grainger about her experiences at NC State and her goals for the Alumni Association:
A valuable lesson learned at NC State: I had a lot of courses with this guy who studied all the time. That’s all he ever did. You would ask him to go out with a group of friends, but he would never go. He always had to study. One day, I said, “You are going to miss out on so much if you study all the time. I think you need to mix it up a little bit.” He said, ‘No, I’ll mix it up when I’m out of school.’ Do you know, about a month later, he was killed in a car accident? And that stayed with me for the rest of my life, that you need to fix your priorities so you can mix it up a little bit and have fun while you’re doing serious things, too. You need to live life to the fullest each day.
Favorite memories from her time at NC State: Football games and basketball games. Hanging out with friends and knowing so many of the players from having been here so much on the weekends.
Her goals for the Alumni Association: I want to grow membership and give the Alumni Association more exposure. I want to educate our board members and get them out there in the community. Each member should be an ambassador of the university and tell the story. The things that are going on on this campus are just amazing.
On the value of membership in the Alumni Association: If you don’t belong to the Alumni Association you’re missing out on a lot of things. Some of the obvious things are the opportunity to be more engaged with your university, to be more engaged with fellow alumni who you’ve either gone to school with or are just now meeting. The networking you can have between people who are graduates of this university is just tremendous, whether it’s for business or social networking.
Why she’s Red & White for Life: I am passionate about NC State. I feel like this is my home. I really can’t imagine my life without NC State and without all my NC State family, who are as dear a friends as anyone could ever have. My pride in NC State is overwhelming – I just cannot believe what we’re discovering here and what we’re inventing here. My pride – that’s what makes me Red & White for Life.