NC State has had 14 chancellors lead the university throughout it’s history, but none resisted the job more than Carey Bostian, who served as chancellor from 1953-59.
In the summer of 1953, he was unanimously elected to succeed John Harrelson, and Bostian agreed to take the job under one condition — that he be allowed to step down in just a couple of years. And it was on this day 60 years ago that he took office as the chancellor of NC State College.
He eventually stayed in the position for six years and dealt with a larger faculty role in running the college, students wanting more campus freedoms and the beginnings of the integration debate on campus.
Despite his administration’s challenges, Bostian served as a needed leader during a time of changing dynamics at NC State. “The college was undergoing various stresses in the 1950s with the burgeoning enrollments and limited autonomy under the UNC Consolidated University,” Hardy D. Berry wrote in Place Names on the campus of North Carolina State University.
Bostian stepped down in 1959 to return to what he loved best — teaching. He won the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 1968 and retired from teaching at NC State in 1973, after more than 40 years of service to the university. Today, Bostian Hall, which houses the botany, entomology, microbiology and zoology departments, bears his name.
In the 1947 Agromeck‘s dedication, the staff wrote that Bostian was “a wise counselor, a true friend, and an inspiration to all.”