N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 2 / NO. 8 / OCTOBER, 2019

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Aggie Pride, Aggie Impact
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.Tens of thousands of North Carolina A&T alumni and supporters were on our campus last week for what has become widely and affectionately known as the Greatest Homecoming on Earth. It’s a major annual reminder of the depth and breadth of Aggie Nation’s affinity for this university, but it also points to another important dynamic: the impact of A&T graduates in North Carolina and beyond.

Dating back to 1899, our university has produced more than 70,000 alumni. As a land-grant institution since our establishment, we have provided educational opportunity for many students who were the first in their families to attend college and in many cases who were barred by discriminatory admissions policies from applying to other universities.

As both a beacon of opportunity and a campus known for its educational quality and impact in STEM disciplines, A&T’s appeal has grown significantly in recent years. We have been America’s largest historically black university since 2014, and the ever-increasing size of our student body means more graduates to meet workplace needs.

Today, we see those alumni having major impact in a variety of fields. A&T produces more African American engineers and agricultural science bachelors graduates and more math/statistics masters earners than any university in America. We are among the top five in a range of other disciplines, from journalism/mass communications to family/consumer science.

In a nation starving for STEM workers, our graduates increasingly are sought out by companies in Silicon Valley and other technology centers by the hundreds of companies that flock to A&T career fairs each year. Our graduates are unfailingly well prepared to have an immediate impact in those businesses and organizations, and in many cases, they bring diversity to workplaces in need of breaking the homogeneity of their employee ranks.

We saw plenty of those graduates and their peers at A&T last week, attending college reunions, marveling at changes as they walked the campus and rooting for the Aggies as they won Saturday’s big game. They brought to mind a finding from a Gallup survey of UNC System alumni released earlier this year: N.C. A&T alums had the highest marks in the system for affinity for their alma mater. In fact, 96 percent said they’d return to A&T to earn their degree again, if given the chance. We saw endless evidence of this quantification of Aggie Pride throughout the week in the form of alumni who attended homecoming with children, grandchildren, mentees and friends, giving them an expert's viewpoint on what this special place might hold for them.

We deeply appreciate their advocacy for our university. Just as importantly, we appreciate the value they provide as as living inspirations for our 12,556 current students, modeling what a degree from A&T means and just how far it can take you.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

N.C. A&T football team The Aggies take the field in what would be a blowout, 64-6 win over Howard University.
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Alumni Dig Deep to Support N.C. A&T
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Alumni supports enjoy riding in golf cart.A&T alumni supporters enjoying themselves at the 41st-annual Richard E. Moore Homecoming Golf Tournament.

A&T’s growing success in generating private financial support is a reflection of the love that its alumni have for their alma mater: Of the $85 million raised in the current Campaign for North Carolina A&T, more than two-thirds of the funds were given by nearly 12,200 alums.

Those monies have the potential to fund transformative changes in areas critical to the near- and long-term success of the university. For instance, nearly $41 million has been raised in support of student scholarships, a number that has more than doubled the number of A&T endowed scholarships to 406. An additional $32 million has been raised for academic program support. The latter represents 640 percent of the original campaign goal for programs.

One of the university’s most high-profile alumni is also one of its most generous supporters. Retired pharmaceutical industry executive Willie A. Deese has given $7 million over the life of the capital campaign, which he co-chairs along with fellow alumnus Royal Mack. The university renamed its business college the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics in recognition of Deese’s lifetime support of $10 million, including a $5 million donation announced during homecoming week. It is the university’s first college to be named for a supporter.

The growing share of alumni donors was reflected in an increase in this fall’s U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings, which rose slightly to 9 percent.  

“The commitment of our alumni to North Carolina A&T is nothing short of inspiring,” said Teresa Davis, head of alumni affairs for the university. “Whether they’re giving of their time or treasure or just supporting us in the community, it’s wonderful to see their numbers and impact grow.”

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These Three Things

A Month That Shows What Makes A&T Special
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Oscar-nominated director Kevin Wilson Jr. Oscar-nominated director Kevin Wilson Jr. captivated attendees at N.C. A&T’s Fall Convocation.

While homecoming dominated October, it was hardly the only major development at N.C. A&T during what is often the busiest month of the fall term. October also saw A&T faculty and students recognized nationally, the university formally open a new center of excellence and an Oscar-nominated alumnus address the university’s fall convocation.

In many ways, the month was a vivid illustration of what makes the university special. An outstanding academic and intellectual environment, a commitment to research excellence and an appreciation for the arts were all well represented in these three things:

  • Dr. Salil Desai, Ph.D., an industrial and systems engineering professor and co-director for the Center of Excellence in Product Design and Advanced Manufacturing, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The recognition celebrates the efforts of STEM mentors who “encourage the next generation of innovators developing a science and engineering workforce.” Meanwhile, two A&T students were named Stanford University Innovation Fellows. Dorian Holmes, Computer Science, and Jaelyn Phillips, Industrial and Systems Engineering, will join peers from such institutions as Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech and Yale in the prestigious program at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.
  • N.C. A&T officially launched its new Center for Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach with a ceremony at the university’s Student Center attended by industry and state officials, including Sen. Erica Smith and Evelyn Re, executive director of the North Carolina Center for Cybersecurity. The opening coincided with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and highlighted A&T’s longstanding and growing leadership in this critical technology field.
  • A&T alumnus and Oscar-nominated director Kevin Wilson Jr. delivered inspiring keynote remarks at fall convocation, detailing his personal journey from nearly failing out of college to earning an M.F.A. in film production from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and an Academy Award nomination for his short films, “My Nephew Emmett.” Wilson encouraged students to be clear about their aspirations, do the work to get there and “fight for your vision.” “Nurture the seed inside you, and watch it grow,” he said. Wilson is preparing to work on his first full feature film in 2020.
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Greatest Homecoming on Earth Gets Greater
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N.C. A&T Royal CourtThe A&T Royal Court enters a jam-packed BB&T Stadium to cheers from more than 20,000 Aggie fans.

Homecoming returned to the A&T campus and Greensboro this fall, bigger and better than ever before, from the tens of thousands of Aggies and supporters who came from across the state and country to attend a week of concerts, parties and other events to the 64-6 thrashing of Howard University in the annual big game.

Long known as The Greatest Homecoming on Earth, the weeklong celebration is the highlight of each school year, not only for its sheer size and the celebrities who both entertain and attend, but the warm, family atmosphere that draws alumni back to campus, year after year. From Patti LaBelle to Hillary Clinton to Marlon Wayans, the headliners and guests bring a flair to A&T homecoming that sets the event apart from similar celebrations.

En Vogue take the stage at the Alumni Homecoming concertThis year’s entertainment featured singers En Vogue and Johnny Gill, rapper 21 Savage, among others, numerous DJs, dance parties, tailgaters and cookouts and campus events ranging from the A&Tiques Roadshow to an Aggie Fitness Boot Camp.

Beyond all the fun, Homecoming has become a major economic boost for Greensboro. It has an estimated financial impact well in excess of $10 million, according to local financial analyses. And it shines a spotlight on an area increasingly known for its higher education riches: In addition to A&T, the nation’s largest historically black university, Greensboro is home to 11 four-year colleges and universities, with a wide range of missions and programs.

Data Points
Data Points

N.C. A&T’s historic total of more than 70,000 alumni includes nearly 57,500 living alumni on touch with the university today.

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart
Todd Hurst Simmons

Kimberly "Nikki" Pressley

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.