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College of Engineering meets campaign fundraising goal

students working in a laser lab

NC State’s College of Engineering has met its ambitious $230 million fundraising goal for the University’s Think and Do the Extraordinary capital campaign.

This generous financial support from alumni and friends of the College will grow NC State Engineering’s impact for generations to come by funding graduate fellowships, professorships, undergraduate scholarships and support for student programs and capital projects.

“We set an ambitious goal and were amazed that we met that goal a year ahead of schedule,” said Griffin Lamb, assistant dean for development and alumni relations and director of the NC State Engineering Foundation. “It’s a testament to the dedication of our alumni and friends and how well they understand the impact that this College can have and why it’s worth supporting.”

The record-breaking Think and Do the Extraordinary campaign launched in October 2016 and is set to conclude at the end of 2021. NC State surpassed its overall goal of $1.6 billion in November 2019, more than two years ahead of schedule.

Throughout the campaign, the College prioritized funding for student scholarships, professorships and the construction of the new Fitts-Woolard Hall on Centennial Campus, as well as for many more areas requiring private, programmatic support, such as the College’s Women and Minority Engineering Programs (WMEP).

With the campaign under way, the University broke ground on Fitts-Woolard Hall in April 2018. A $25 million gift from alumni Edward P. Fitts Jr. and Edgar S. Woolard Jr. bolstered fundraising efforts for the building, which will be home to the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE); the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE); and the dean’s administrative offices, unifying the College on Centennial Campus.

The College has always made efforts to increase the availability of student scholarships, but these have never been more important amidst a pandemic affecting families’ budgets and students’ ability to afford higher education.

Zhania Deterville

For Zhania Deterville, a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, paying out-of-state tuition to study at a mainland university was difficult. The Dr. Chisa K. Brookes Scholarship has helped Deterville, a senior in the UNC / NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, overcome that challenge.

On campus, Deterville is involved in the National Society of Black Engineers, The Helping Hands Project, National Society of Leadership and Success and the Caribbean Student Association. After graduation, she plans to return home for her career, with a focus on the health of the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands, namely St. Croix.

“Receiving this scholarship is just another factor that motivates me to continue to strive for excellence,” Deterville said. “The scholarship is providing me with the ability to study the field of biomedical engineering at NC State, a challenging learning environment. I will have the opportunity to gain the qualities and skills needed not only to succeed as a biomedical engineer, but also for effective leadership and a successful collegiate life. Let me again express my sincere gratitude for the generous scholarship awarded to me, it has made a profound impact on my life.”

Though the College and University have met their campaign goal, fundraising efforts will continue for ongoing student, faculty and programmatic support.

More than 72 percent of NC State undergraduates apply for financial aid; the average need is $16,431, while the average scholarship or grant is $9,133. Sophomore Rylee Sepesi is studying paper science and engineering with the help of the Mark and Robin Wyatt Scholarship and is planning a career in industry.

Rylee Sepesi

“With this scholarship I will not be as financially burdened,” Sepesi said. “This donation alleviated some anxiety I have experienced due to not having a college fund. This scholarship has allowed me to start my college career with less stress and being able to focus more on my studies versus worrying excessively about being able to afford college.”

Though Fitts-Woolard Hall has opened, the College still needs to raise $11 million in additional support to meet its $60 million fundraising commitment. Without meeting that goal, the College would have to borrow to help close the gap, taking money away from necessary programs.

“Those whose lives have been impacted by this College know the value of its research, education and extension activities,” said Louis A. Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering. “These are the people who have given so generously to help us meet our fundraising goal. They are making a tremendous impact on the lives of our students and faculty members and they have my sincere gratitude.”

To learn more about the campaign, including how to contribute, visit

Return to contents or download the Spring / Summer 2021 NC State Engineering magazine (PDF, 52.0 MB).

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