N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 6/  NO. 1/ JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2023    

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Impact Data and the East Greensboro Renaissance
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.The latest significant business move fueling the economic renaissance within East Greensboro -- home to North Carolina A&T – went public last summer with the announcement that a new, $108-million data center would be established in the research park overseen by the university.

At that time, ImpactData had just won a $530,359, four-year grant to help launch its new enterprise at Gateway Research Park, just a 3-minute drive from A&T’s main campus. ImpactData will build and operate a 110,000-square-foot “Dream Center,” a multi-use facility that will include a 10-megawatt data center, a higher education innovation center and workforce development co-working flex space to support the neighboring community. The center will support dozens of construction jobs and, once open, it will employ 28 professionals in competitive high-tech jobs.

Founded in 2020 and headquartered in Atlanta, ImpactData is the brainchild of HBCU alumni Terry Comer and David Calloway. They have a shared vision of addressing the growing digital divide separating underserved communities and the rest of the nation by establishing Dream Centers on or near select HBCU campuses – a novel co-location idea in the highly competitive high-tech marketplace.

Each center will connect users to mission-critical technology and the infrastructure necessary to compete in the modern global economy. ImpactData’s principal partner in this ambitious venture is the world’s largest digital infrastructure firm, DigitalBridge, a Florida-based company with $35 billion in managed assets.

ImpactData’s plans for East Greensboro are but the latest for this area. Companies are lured by low costs, a business-friendly environment and the many educational and research resources available through A&T, America’s largest historically Black university and its top producer of Black STEM graduates. ImpactData’s neighbors at Gateway will include the rapidly growing advanced manufacturing business, Core Technology, satellite operations for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

Housing is springing up adjacent to North Carolina A&T to serve new high-tech professionals being attracted to our area. Bailey Village, a 172-unit luxury apartment complex, opened last fall across the street from the A&T College of Engineering. Construction is set to begin later this year on The Resurgent, a $60-million housing, retail and office space development facing the main entrance to A&T.  And on our campus, work will begin in 2023 on a 450-bed residence hall adjacent to A&T’s 10-acre National Register Historic District.

The economic halo around A&T is approaching the kind of development that many 1860s land grant universities have experienced for generations, but which has been beyond the reach of 1890s land grants, such as A&T. The growing awareness of and appreciation for HBCUs across the nation is finally overcoming the forces that have long blunted investments in our institutions and the communities they serve.

When we look back at this period in future years, I have no doubt we will see it as a pivotal moment for our community and as a model of what is possible in partnership with A&T. In the meantime, we look forward to the promise of more investment in East Greensboro and more opportunity for our students and our neighbors.  

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

Dream CenterRenderings show the Dream Center to be built by ImpactData as part of its partnership with North Carolina A&T.

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Uzochukwu, Simpson Receive EPA Panel Appointments
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Godfrey Uzochukwu, Ph.D.Dr. Godfrey Uzochukwu is chair of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board CASTNet Review Panel.

Two professors in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences have received national appointments in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Godfrey Uzochukwu, Ph.D., licensed soil specialist and senior professor of natural resources and environmental design, was named chair of the agency’s Science Advisory Board CASTNet Review Panel.

The Science Advisory Board is authorized by the EPA to provide advice and review the quality of scientific and technical information used by the agency; in January 2023, the board was asked to review CASTNet (Clean Air Status and Trends Network) – a rural ambient air monitoring network that provides information on air pollution trends in national parks and rural State and Tribal lands – and provide advice on the future operations and mission of the network.

Uzochukwu, a charter member of the science advisory board since August 2021, was appointed by his former student, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, ’98. During his time at A&T, Regan assisted “Dr. Uzo” as he founded the Waste Management Institute, an interdisciplinary program which coordinates the university’s environmental and waste management efforts.

Uzochukwu earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University and his doctorate in agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

College of Agriculture and  Environmental SciencesAgricultural education professor Chantel Simpson, Ph.D., was appointed to the EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee.

Agricultural education professor Chantel Simpson, Ph.D., was appointed to the EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee.

The committee provides the EPA with advice and recommendations on environmental issues that affect agriculture and rural communities. Simpson will serve a three-year term on the committee.

“Sometimes I think there are laws and policies that are good in theory, but policymakers don’t always understand how they impact the small people on the ground,” said Simpson, a fourth-generation farmer. “Given my education and experience and knowing the language to be able to speak on behalf of those farmers who may not make it to Capitol Hill, I want to make sure I bring their voices to the table.”

Simpson earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from N.C. A&T and her doctorate in agricultural, leadership and community education from Virginia Tech. Simpson joined the CAES as a full-time faculty member in 2019.
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These Three Things: three arrows icon
These Three Things 

Stepping Up Our Game in the CAA
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NCAT CAA Track and Feild Student North Carolina A&T athletics are making a big splash in the Colonial Athletic Association.

When North Carolina A&T announced its second athletics conference change in three years last spring, this time to the highly regarded Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), some wondered whether the Aggies were biting off more than they could chew.

Considered by many the nation’s top Division 1 FCS league, the CAA and its schools benefit from strong athletics facilities and budgets. Would A&T have the resources and wherewithal to compete?

To the degree there were any doubts, recent moves by the university are both dispelling them and building confidence that A&T came to play in the CAA – and win. These Three Things in particular have Aggie Nation cheering A&T’s stepped-up game:

  • Women’s Basketball. One of the first A&T teams to begin competition in the CAA, the Lady Aggies are already making their mark, currently in second place in the conference with an 11-5 record, 17-10 overall. With 2 conference games and the conference tournament remaining, a conference championship is a distinct possibility – one that would send A&T in its first year in the CAA to the prestigious NCAA Tournament.
  • Track & Field. A&T men’s and women’s track teams have been literally world class over the past five years, yielding conference championships, national champions and Olympic medalists. When coach Duane Ross left last year for Tennessee, taking multiple recruits and Aggies with him, some worried the program might falter.

    Enter Allen Johnson. The former Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion hurdler, star athlete at Chapel Hill and assistant coach at North Carolina State was named director of Track and Field Programs for A&T last summer. In his competition debut in January, both his men’s and women’s indoor teams won the HBCU Showcase Challenge in New York. Their dominating performance included 12 event wins. They followed that up with a strong showing at the Carolina Challenge, notching four first-place finishes against Tennessee, South Carolina, Wake Forest and others and taking over numerous top positions in the CAA rankings. The NCAA Indoor Championships are set for March. You can bet Johnson and his charges will be ready.
  • Football. The Aggies fell one game short of winning the Big South Conference championship last fall and then parted ways with Head Coach Sam Washington in the offseason. Earlier this month, A&T announced the hire of NFL legend Vincent Brown as its new head coach, a move that drew enthusiastic support from alumni and acclaim from sports writers after Brown’s impressive, polished debut press conference. Most recently a coach at CAA rival William & Mary, Brown faces a fall schedule that includes Villanova, Rhode Island, Delaware and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. But they and others will face an Aggie squad led by a former linebacker so fierce, he was named a first-team All Pro three straight years and known as “The Undertaker.”
The university is also preparing to begin work on a major renovation to its baseball stadium (World War Memorial (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places), a renovation and expansion of Truist Stadium (home to the football and track and field programs) and planning a significant fundraising campaign

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A&T Cooperative Extension Announces New Leader
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Dr. Ray McKinnie Dr. Ray McKinnie, new administrator for Cooperative Extension at North Carolina A&T.

The statewide Cooperative Extension program at North Carolina A&T that now serves a half-million residents annually has a new administrator, a longtime agricultural leader who until recently led Virginia’s extension program.

Ray McKinnie, Ph.D., is both administrator of N.C. Cooperative Extension at A&T and associate dean of the university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the source of more Black bachelor’s degree graduates in agriculture over the past two years than any other university in America.

McKinnie earned his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at A&T and later served for 11 years as associate administrator of Extension at A&T through 2013. He also earned a master’s degree from Ohio State and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State. McKinnie was named dean of the Virginia State University College of Agriculture and leader of the its extension programs in 2016.

In his new role, McKinnie assumes leadership of an extension service with more than 110 campus and county staff who make educational programs available to 11 million North Carolinians across the state, as well as to the 16,000 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Its services, which include instruction and advice on health/wellness, environmental sustainability and nutrition, are critical to individuals living in limited resource communities, small-scale farmers, youth and families.

Extension at A&T reaches about 15,000 youth each year through its 4-H programs alone.

“Dr. McKinnie comes ready to hit the ground running,” said Mohamed Ahmedna, Ph.D., dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about our organization’s mission and purpose to the position.”

In addition to his Extension administrative and outreach work, McKinnie is a noted researcher who has published extensively on swine, goat and small ruminant production and on issues that impact small farmers, minority farmers and underserved communities. He is a North Carolina native born in Wayne County whose research and Extension work has taken him to Brazil, South Africa and Ethiopia.

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Data Points

A January report in The Chronicle of Higher Education showed that between 2011-2021, applications to North Carolina A&T grew by an astonishing 246% -- more than any other UNC System campus and roughly twice the rate of the second-place institution, Chapel Hill. The chart below shows that growth hasn’t been limited to quantity but also shows a just-as-sharp increase in students admitted to A&T with GPA of 4.0 or higher.


Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart



Todd Hurst Simmons

Sandra M. Brown


Yvonne L. Halley

Tonya D. Dixon

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.

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