NC State Breaks Ground on Fitts-Woolard Hall, Announces Major Gift

North Carolina State University will break ground on its next major building project, a 250,000 square-foot Centennial Campus engineering building partially funded by the passage of the May 2016 Connect NC Bond referendum, during a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 20.

During the ceremony, the university will also unveil the building’s name: Fitts-Woolard Hall, which comes as the result of a $25 million gift from alumni Edward P. Fitts Jr. and Edgar S. Woolard Jr. The gift is the largest given for a campus building naming in NC State’s history.

Fitts-Woolard Hall will become NC State’s fourth engineering building on Centennial Campus, the next step in unifying the college and leveraging the power of convergence across disciplines, forming one of the world’s most dynamic research and education environments. The $150 million building will contain classrooms and cutting-edge laboratories that will further research in bio-manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, health systems engineering, construction engineering and management, transportation systems and other fields of engineering research. The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and the dean’s administration will all be housed within Fitts-Woolard Hall.

“This is a very exciting and important gift for NC State,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “Fitts-Woolard Hall will be a state-of-the-art facility that truly supports our vision of collaborative, interdisciplinary instruction, research and innovation. The fact that this vision is becoming a reality through a public-private partnership very appropriately reflects the solutions-driven teamwork taking place on Centennial Campus every day.

“Having two families that already have made such a significant impact on our students and faculty continue to set such an example of leadership is phenomenal. This project is vital to the future of the College of Engineering. We are grateful to the Fittses and Woolards for their extraordinary commitment to its success.”

Fitts earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from NC State in 1961. He is the former president and CEO of Dopaco Inc., a packaging company he founded in 1979. He serves as the current chair of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Advisory Board, and he also served on the Board of Directors for the NC State Engineering Foundation from 2003-2011. He is the recipient of the Watauga Medal (2006), Industrial and Systems Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award (2006) and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award (2001).

Fitts and his wife, Deb, have strongly supported NC State philanthropically with gifts to NC State, including but not limited to the Edward P. Fitts Scholarship (1999), the Edward P. Fitts Industrial Engineering Professorship (2002), A. Doug Allison Endowed Professorship (2006), and the Dopaco, Inc. Endowed Professorship (2006), In 2005, they made a gift of $10 million that established the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), the first endowed academic department in the history of the University of North Carolina System.

Woolard earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial systems engineering from NC State in 1956. He was chairman and CEO of DuPont from 1989 to 1995. He served as chairman of the board of Apple Inc., led the company out of financial decline and convinced the board to bring back Steve Jobs. His service at the university includes the Achieve Campaign Steering Committee, the Board of Trustees and the College of Textiles Foundation Board. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society. Woolard is the recipient of NC State’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award (2006), Watauga Medal (2001), Meritorious Service Alumnus Award (1998), College Alumnus of the Year Award (1988) and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award (1988).

Woolard and his wife, Peggy, have supported NC State through gifts to the CAL-Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Endowment (1992), Edgar S. Woolard Dean’s Discretionary Fund Endowment (2006), Terry G. Wood Scholarship for the Poole College of Management Endowment (2007) and Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. Scholarship Endowment (2008).

Providing NC State students more opportunities and access to transformative experiences and spaces is one of NC State’s Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign priorities.

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This post was originally published in NC State News.