By: Library Staff
On November 3, the NCSU Libraries will open a major exhibit that tells the stories of how students are transformed into leaders at North Carolina State University. In conjuction with the exhibit, on November 6 the Libraries will also host a panel discussion during NC State’s Homecoming week that will feature five past student body presidents, including the first female who held this position; a former mayor of Raleigh; and the current senior class president.
Leading the Pack: Student Leaders at NC State explores a rich cultural tradition that encourages students to act on what they are learning. This alchemy of participation and involvement has produced an unusually large number of citizens who began their lives of service to the university and to the wider community while students at NC State.
When Abraham Lincoln signed the legislation that created land-grant institutions like NC State, he not only created a practical way to make higher education available to motivated, ambitious people who did not have access to the elite private schools of the time; his bold but practical move also provided a perfect model for how real leaders should think deeply about the problems in front of them and then act to solve them.
Transformative leadership was present at NC State’s land grant founding. And ever since, NC State students have been picking up the tools they discovered on campus and setting out to change the world. Immersed while on campus in an ethic that asks them to do nothing less than solve global challenges, each generation has left to shape the future in fields as diverse as engineering, public policy, agriculture, defense, design, humanitarian work, medicine, journalism, and business.
Leading the Pack examines that culture of leadership at NC State and follows the stories of those who immersed themselves in student government, student media, ROTC, Greek life, and service projects—or just followed their own geniuses—and learned the skills that later let them serve as the state’s youngest and most re-elected governor, or lead the nation’s military, or establish a non-profit that battles the water-borne illnesses that kill a child every 21 seconds.
Leading the Pack draws on the rich trove of materials collected by the NCSU Libraries’ Student Leadership Initiative. This ongoing, multi-year program has chronicled the experiences and impact of former student leaders through the collection of hundreds of video oral histories, biographical essays, and digitized images.
During the week of NC State’s Homecoming, the NCSU Libraries will also host a panel discussion of current and past student leaders to explore how NC State fosters leadership and challenges students to make positive change. The panel will be moderated by Tony Caravano, Student Body President from 2003 to 2005, and will include:
- Superior Court Judge Ron Spivey, Student Body President, 1981-1982
- Kelly Hook, Student Body President, 2010-2011
- Kate Sterling, the first female Student Body President, 1970-1971
- Smedes York, former NC State basketball player and former mayor of Raleigh
- Harold Pettigrew, Student Body President, 2000-2001
- Molly Basdeo, current Senior Class President
The panel discussion will be held on November 6 at 4 p. m. in the Mountains Ballroom at the Talley Student Center.
Both the exhibit and the panel discussion are open and free to the public. The exhibit may be visited during regular library hours in the D. H. Hill Library’s Exhibit Gallery through the spring of 2015.