N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 2 / NO. 5 / MAy 2019

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

50 Years Later, A Deserved Celebration
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Fifty years ago this month, the North Carolina A&T campus more resembled a battleground than a university.

Protests over racist interference in student body elections at nearby Dudley High School had drawn participation from our student body. When tensions escalated, local authorities responded with force. In short order, state leaders mobilized the National Guard, and within hours, the A&T campus air was thick with teargas and gunfire.

One student was killed and another wounded. The university was closed, students were sent home and commencement exercises were cancelled. The shocking episode was described at the time as the biggest armed assault ever made against a U.S. university.

We had the chance to give the Class of 1969 a proper graduation celebration earlier this month as part of the university’s Spring 2019 Commencement. Marking the 50th anniversary of their graduation, 112 members of the class donned golden regalia and joined this year’s graduates to process into the Greensboro Coliseum before nearly 13,000 attendees.

We were not the only ones to remember and venerate those A&T alumni or to use the milestone occasion as an opportunity to reflect on the events of 50 years ago. Journalists at  The Atlantic, Teen Vogue and the Greensboro News & Record published ambitious news features on what has become known over the years as the Greensboro Uprising or the A&T/Dudley Revolt.

Members of the Golden Class of 1969 Members of the Class of 1969 watch a video at commencement documenting the events of 50 years ago.

As both chancellor of A&T and someone who began his undergraduate studies at the university the year after the Class of 1969’s tragic final days on campus, it was my honor to recognize these alumni during commencement.

Watching the standing ovation given to these graduates by the parents, family members, faculty, staff, alumni and students – many of whom heard their story for the first time at our commencement – made for a moment that no one in the coliseum will ever forget. As the graduates rose and acknowledged the cheers, it was gratifying to see the healing and restoration of spirit that took place in front of us all, as their historic moment was acknowledged and publicly celebrated.

The stories of A&T are rich and diverse. They include both challenging times and moments of triumph. The Class of 1969 is illustrative of both, as well as the abiding truth that for 128 years, we have consistently risen to the occasion, overcome obstacles and shown a dogged commitment to our values that is perhaps the defining characteristic of our university.

That’s what Aggies Do. 

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

+ To learn more about North Carolina A&T, please visit iTunes and subscribe to the On Point with Chancellor Harold L. Martin podcast.
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Lab Report

New Data Shows Aggie Pride is Exceptionally Strong
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N.C. A&T First Lady Davida Martin and alumni at Homecoming Concert.A group of alumni join A&T First Lady Davida Martin, center, at the Fall 2018 Alumni Homecoming Concert.

The 16-campus University of North Carolina System is considered one of the nation’s best state higher education systems, with multiple highly regarded campuses, including North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

So when the system commissioned the Gallup organization to do a survey of alumni of all 16 campuses, it was no small feat that A&T graduates lead their system peers in enthusiasm for alma mater. In measures such as how likely they are to recommend A&T to family and friends and how attached they are to the university, Aggie responses charted higher than those of any other campus surveyed.

The Gallup survey was conducted Nov. 15, 2018 through Feb. 1, 2019, and yielded a total of 77,695 completions from undergraduate alums who graduated from UNC campuses between 1940 and 2018. More than 2,700 A&T alumni completed the survey.

In addition to those findings noted above, one of the most impressive A&T results showed that 99 percent of respondents said if they had it to do all over again, they would still obtain their bachelor’s degree and 96 percent would return to A&T to do so. Other findings include:

  • On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), 85 percent of respondents replied with a 5 or 4 to the statement, “My professors at A&T cared about me as a person” and 94 percent with a 5 or 4 to the statement, “I had at least one professor at A&T who made me excited about learning.”
  • In assessing their lives since graduation, 95 percent of respondents described themselves as “satisfied” with their personal lives today.

“These results give definition to something we’ve known for a great many years -- there has always been something special about the educational experience and environment at North Carolina A&T,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

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These Three Things

Lives of Impact, Lasting Contributions
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Kevin Wilson Jr. (Class of 2011) Kevin Wilson Jr. (’11) at May’s Chancellor’s Town Hall

North Carolina A&T has produced more than 70,000 alumni over 128 years, many of whom have gone on to lives of significant accomplishment, from the late NASA astronaut Dr. Ronald McNair to millionaire entrepreneur Joyce Bryant Howroyd.

From unprecedented leadership achievements to business success to philanthropy, many are recognized for lives of impact and for lasting contributions they continue to make. Among the many illustrations of those dynamics this year alone, these three are among the most recent and notable:

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (’69, ’72). Even when her party didn’t hold the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Adams was organizing for impact, creating the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, now more than 80 members strong and increasingly influential in policy and appropriations discussions. Adams recently co-founded another major legislative group to focus attention on disturbing health trends for African American mothers, their pregnancies and babies: The Black Maternal Health Caucus. “We are losing too many black mothers and black babies to preventable childbirth complications,” tweeted Adams at the group’s launch. “We can and we will do better.”

Willie Deese (’77). The co-chair of the $85-million Campaign for North Carolina A&T, retired senior Merck pharmaceuticals executive Willie Deese has been as effective a philanthropic force for A&T as he was a business leader. His generosity to the university has included gifts supporting academic programs, scholarships and facilities, including the iconic Deese Clock Tower and the Deese Auditorium in the College of Business & Economics. In recognition of his more than $4 million in gifts to the capital campaign, A&T earlier this month named the ballroom of the new 150,000-square-foot, award-winning Student Center in his honor. Deese delivered the Spring 2019 undergraduate commencement keynote address the following morning to an audience of 13,000.

Kevin Wilson Jr. (’11). While an undergraduate at A&T, Wilson wrote and staged a play about the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. As a graduate student at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, he developed the work into an award-winning script. In 2017, he directed and released a short film based on that script: “My Nephew Emmett.” The critically acclaimed project was nominated for an Oscar the following year for Best Live Action Short Film. Wilson, who is moving into larger projects made possible by the success of his film, returned to A&T recently to moderate a Chancellor’s Town Hall panel discussion with actresses Jasmine Guy (A Different World), Loretta Devine (Dream Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Public) and Chloe x Halle (Grown-ish).

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Growing Enrollment, Increasing Graduate Production
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Class of 2019 Commencement Ceremonies

North Carolina A&T’s Spring Commencement ceremonies saw the university award diplomas to 1,300 new graduates, pushing to approximately 2,300 the total number of degrees awarded during the 2018-19 school year.

While final graduation numbers have not yet been certified, it is projected that this will represent A&T’s most productive year in student graduation in its 128-year history. Over the past five years, the university has awarded more than 10,000 bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.

That’s good news for a university recognized nationally for its strengths in STEM education – A&T produces more African American engineers and agricultural science degree earners than any other campus. For the growing number of businesses, organizations, schools and government agencies that flock to A&T for its twice-yearly career fairs, it may be even better news.

The university’s strategic plan, A&T Preeminence: Taking the Momentum to 2023, calls for it to grow from its current record enrollment of 12,142 to 14,000. (A&T is already the nation’s largest historically black university, a position it has held since 2014.) With new degree programs approved over the past two years at the graduate and undergraduate level in high-demand disciplines, the university is expanding capacity to serve more students and investing in student success supports to enhance retention and get more grads to the finish line.

Construction is beginning on both a new Engineering Research and Innovation Complex and a residence hall that will complement recent acquisitions of additional off-campus housing. That’s just part of a master plan that will significantly enhance and develop A&T’s East Greensboro campus over the coming decade.

Data Points
Data Points
91 percent 
... of N.C. A&T respondents to the Gallup Survey of UNC System alumni responded with either a 5 or a 4 (on a 1 - 5 scale) to the statement, "I can't imagine a world without A&T."

It Was Worth It
A total of 92 percent of A&T respondents said they strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, "My degree from A&T was well worth the cost."

95 percent
....of Aggie respondents described themselves as "satisfied" with their personal lives today.

Six out of 10
... Aggie respondents said they had a mentor at A&T who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams, and 40 percent said they were still in communication with their mentor, at least within the past two years. 

88 percent
... of Aggie alumni respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that A&T challenged them academically.

Nearly 3 out of 4
... alumni said A&T had helped them understand how to make their community a better place. 

The Gallup Survey was fielded Nov. 15, 2018, through Feb. 1, 2019, and included 77,695 alumni from 16 campuses around the University of North Carolina System, more than 2,700 of them from N.C. A&T.

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart, Interim
Todd Hurst Simmons

Yvonne L. Halley

Tonya D. Dixon
Jordan M. Howse
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral University: High Research Activity.

N.C. A&T does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@ncat.edu.

N.C. A&T is an AA/EEO employer, and it is an ADA compliant institution; thus, facilities are designed to provide accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities.