Gregg’s legacy is being ‘a mother’ to the arts at NC State

March 13, 2012
By Chris Saunders
Nancy and John Gregg.

Nancy and John Gregg.

Charlotte Wainwright, former director of what used to be called the Gallery of Art & Design at NC State, remembers the 2007 naming ceremony that celebrated the $750,000 endowment Nancy Gregg helped create. The endowment led to the gallery being renamed the John N. and Nancy C. Gregg Museum of Art & Design.

“She walked around to where her grandchildren were sitting and said, ‘This is your responsibility. It’s about what’s been collected. It’s about other people,'” Wainwright says.

Gregg died March 8 after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease for the last several years. She was 78.

Gregg was married to John Gregg ’55, who served on the university’s Board of Trustees in 1989 and 1990. He was a driving force in raising money for the original gallery before it became the Gregg.

Nancy served as president of the Friends of the Gregg, a nonprofit organization supporting the museum, and on the board of Arts NC State. She also served as a docent at the N.C. Museum of Art. Wainwright says Nancy’s service and the charge she left her grandchildren symbolized her role as a keeper of the arts.

“I told her one time she was the mother of the Gregg,” Wainwright says. “She was really a mother in the most positive way, being a role model, someone who never failed to support the things she loved.”

Wainwright also appreciated Nancy’s elegance and grace when she would host afternoon meetings for the Friends of the Gregg at her home. Her pleasantness always made the meetings fun, Wainwright says, and she always left thinking Nancy was a “grand woman.”

“She was just one of those critically important people in the evolution of the Gregg,” Wainwright says. “The fact that it’s named for Nancy and John is a testament to how important she was.”

There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. today in Raleigh at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

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