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Posted on Sep 22, 2014

Powerful Philanthropy: $4M Gift From Zelnaks Helps PCOM Think and Do

With a $4 million gift, a Raleigh couple is putting NC State’s Poole College of Management on the fast track.

Steve and Judy Zelnak made the donation to endow the Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Dean’s Chair in the College of Management. The Zelnaks’ gift gives Dean Ira Weiss flexibility to make strategic investments that will raise the college’s profile.

“It’s a dynamic environment, and if you’re not moving aggressively ahead, you’re slipping backward,” said Steve Zelnak, former chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials. “So we thought it was very important to get Dean Weiss additional resources to work with.”

Poole is already a college on the rise. Over the last year, Bloomberg Businessweek has rated the college’s undergraduate supply-chain management program sixth nationally and the Jenkins part-time MBA program 20th in the country. Poets and Quants, a blog covering business schools, also rated the Jenkins program in its national top 20. The Zelnaks’ gift will help the college maintain its upward trajectory.

“What they’re really investing in is the future of this college,” Weiss said.

Poole College of Management Dean Ira Weiss (center) holds the first endowed deanship in NC State history.

Poole College of Management Dean Ira Weiss (center) holds the first endowed deanship in NC State history.

A graduate of Georgia Tech, Steve Zelnak led Martin Marietta as it grew from a division of Lockheed Martin into a publicly traded company in its own right. Under his leadership, Martin Marietta made five appearances on Fortune magazine’s list of America’s most admired companies. Judy Zelnak is also a committed philanthropist. She is the namesake of the Judy D. Zelnak Center of Hope, which is home to the Salvation Army’s social ministry programs in Wake County.

The Zelnaks’ bond with NC State dates to their arrival in Raleigh 32 years ago. The couple chose to support NC State over other area universities because of its focus on applied learning.

Application is very important at NC State, not just learning for the sake of learning,” said Steve Zelnak. “And at the end of the day, the world goes to the doers.”

The new dean’s chair expands the Zelnaks’ philanthropic footprint at Poole. In 1999, they established a term professorship in marketing innovation at the college. Five years later, they launched the Martin Marietta Endowed Scholarship Fund, which supports an incoming Poole freshman each year. Steve Zelnak was the college’s person of the year in 2010. He sits on the Poole College of Management advisory board and served eight years on the NC State Board of Visitors.

The Zelnaks’ gift continues a trend of growing philanthropic support for NC State. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, donors gave or pledged $187 million to the university, including a $50 million gift from the Park Foundation to establish an endowment for the Park Scholarships. State funding helps maintain day-to-day operations at NC State, Weiss said, but philanthropy powers innovation.

“Private support allows us to really think about and execute on innovation,” he said. “It’s the private support that is the ‘do’ part of the ‘think and do’ process.”

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Posted on Sep 22, 2014

Donor Giving Boosts Endowment to Record Level

Another year of extraordinary giving by NC State donors helped propel the university’s endowment to an all-time high, boosting it a remarkable 76 percent in just four years to more than $884 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Chancellor Randy Woodson targeted endowment growth as one of his key goals when he took the helm at NC State in 2010. Since then he’s led efforts to inspire alumni and other supporters to increase giving to record-breaking levels.

The university’s endowment is an increasingly important source of funds for NC State as state and federal budgets have tightened in recent years. The endowment creates financial stability, allowing NC State to be less dependent on unpredictable sources of revenue such as state appropriations. Money generated by the endowment pays for scholarships and fellowships for talented students, professorships and chairs for distinguished faculty members and programs advancing research and academic endeavors across campus.

“State funding gives the university the foundation to be good, but it is the support of alumni and friends that makes NC State great,” Woodson says. “Because of this generous support, we are attracting the best and brightest students, retaining the nation’s top faculty, and driving economic, societal and intellectual prosperity across the state and around the globe.”

The chancellor’s work to engage the university’s most successful alumni continues to pay off. Under his leadership NC State secured 27 seven- and eight-figure gifts in the 2014 fiscal year and three eight-figure gifts last year.

A New Normal

A look at recent fundraising trends at NC State shows that giving has jumped dramatically in just a few years, establishing a new normal in every category. Gifts and new commitments, which never topped $100 million before 2011, has been at or near $200 million for the past two years. In the last fiscal year alone, NC State raised more than $187 million. Gift receipts, an important measure of “cash in the door,” totaled $117.5 million year, making 2014 the third straight year that gift receipts exceeded $100 million.

Chancellor Randy Woodson, left, meets with donors Bill and Marsha Prestage at the chancellor's residence.

Chancellor Randy Woodson, right, meets with donors Bill and Marsha Prestage at the chancellor’s residence. Woodson has led efforts to engage NC State’s most passionate supporters.

Cash allocated to the endowment – just $17 million in 2010 – hit nearly $50 million in the last fiscal year. During this time, donations to NC State’s annual giving program reached a record $2.45 million, rising an impressive 25 percent over the previous year.

“Our recent track record in fundraising demonstrates the increasing awareness and support of this outstanding university,” says Brian Sischo, vice chancellor for university advancement. “NC State is on a rapid upward trajectory, and our alumni and friends are investing in the power of NC State to make a real difference in the world now and well into the future.”

Increases Across the Board

Giving to individual NC State colleges and units has also improved significantly. Following are some highlights of the amounts raised this year in gifts and new commitments, and the percentage growth over last year for select colleges and units:

  • Academic/Student Affairs: $1.7 million (+34%)
  • Agriculture and Life Sciences: $34.4 million (+20%)
  • Alumni Association: $1 million (+55%)
  • Education: $1 million (+57%)
  • Engineering: $20.3 million (+16%)
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: $2.4 million (+64%)
  • Poole College of Management: $5 million (+124%)
  • Sciences: $5.6 million (+124%)
  • Veterinary Medicine: $20.1 million (+85%)
  • Wolfpack Club/Athletics: $23.3 million (+13%)

Membership in the Alumni Association has reached an all-time high of 24,997, an increase of 25 percent over four years. Membership revenue has grown 15 percent to a record $648,000.

Woodson says the dramatic increase in donor giving shows that NC State is a good investment. And, he notes, research funding is on the rise as well, hitting a record $300 million this year.

“It’s a great time to be a part of the Wolfpack,” Woodson says. “I’m confident that with continued donor support, we’re just getting started. The best is yet to come.”

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Posted on Sep 19, 2014

Solomon Stepping Down

Dr. Dan Solomon has announced that he is stepping down as dean of the College of Sciences, effective July 1, 2015.

Solomon has been a dean at NC State since 2000, serving in that capacity for 13 years in the former College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS). In 2013, he became the inaugural dean of the College of Sciences.

“It’s been an honor to serve as the first dean of this college, which is populated by so many innovative and energetic faculty, staff and students,” Solomon said. “Since its launch 15 months ago, the college has made tremendous strides toward becoming one of the finest institutions of its kind. Its sturdy foundation of outstanding people and programs means the sciences have a bright future at NC State. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Dan Solomon

Dan Solomon

During his 33 years as an administrator at NC State, Solomon has been a driving force in developing and promoting effective teaching methods, expanding research and graduate programs, and propelling the universitywide emphasis on convergence science that solves societal problems.

Solomon has also stressed the importance of diversifying the sciences. He has promoted, developed or led a wide array of activities designed to diversify the sciences workforce pipeline, student body and faculty; created a more inclusive and welcoming community; and enhanced work-life balance. For example, during his 13 years as dean of PAMS, the number of tenured and tenure-track women faculty nearly tripled.

Solomon was instrumental to the implementation of the College of Sciences, working with Provost Warwick Arden on a smooth and successful 14-month transition that involved faculty and staff from across the university. The new college, which launched on July 1, 2013, brought together NC State people and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.

“Dan’s passion for the sciences is unmatched and he’s been a strong and effective champion for equity and diversity in the college and beyond,” Arden said. “He is a progressive and forward-thinking leader with the dedication and willingness to always do what’s best for NC State and the college. Dan has set the College of Sciences on a trajectory toward worldwide prominence and influence.”

Solomon began his faculty career in 1968 at Cornell University, moving through the ranks to become professor of biological statistics and heading the Biometrics Unit there. He came to NC State in 1981 as head of the Department of Statistics. He held that position until 1993, when he joined the PAMS administration as associate dean for academic affairs.

Solomon is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a 2010 winner of its Founders Award. He was a key figure in the founding of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, and continues to serve in various capacities on its board of trustees. He currently chairs the Governing Board of the National Science Foundation’s Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute based in Research Triangle Park.

Solomon earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Florida State University in 1962. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematical statistics in 1964 and 1968, respectively, also from Florida State.

Arden said the university will conduct a national search to find a new dean for the college.

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