Banks Talley was never a student at NC State, but there are few as influential in the development of student programs at the university than the former vice chancellor of student affairs.
A holder of three degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Talley first came to NC State in 1951 to become the assistant dean of students. That job offer is something he remembered fondly in his interview with the Student Leadership Initiative, which is NCSU Libraries‘ archived collection of former campus leaders telling their stories on camera.
“I came over and applied for the job and ultimately I got a little handwritten note from Dean [Ed] Cloyd saying, ‘If you want the job you can have it, starting-,’ date so-and-so, salary thirty-six hundred dollars,” Talley said. “That’s the sort of thing you remember. So, here I’ve been most of my life.”
Talley worked in the university’s division for student affairs for 32 years. In that time, the arts flourished at NC State, with Talley believing more students needed to be exposed to cultural programs. He developed the Friends of the College program, which brought renowned performers like Leonard Bernstein to Raleigh. And he helped enrich and expand the arts curriculum at the university, opening it up to engineering, agriculture and textiles students.
In 1984, Talley left his post at NC State to become executive director of the N.C. Symphony Society Inc, but he made frequent returns to campus in varying capacities. The Talley Student Center bears his name.