Contributed by Samantha Rich
In February, staff members from the NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center met with NC State alumnus and former Raleigh Mayor Smedes York to discuss his experiences as an NC State student and local politician as a part of the Libraries’ growing Student Leadership Initiative.
York began the interview discussing his family’s historical connection to the Raleigh area, including his father’s development of Cameron Village in the late 1940s, and growing up across the street from the NC State Memorial Tower. While attending State, York held membership in Phi Kappa Phi and the Interfraternity Council. York, a civil engineering major, also served as the commanding officer of the First Battalion in Army ROTC and played on the Wolfpack basketball team under the direction of Coach Everett Case. During the interview York discussed the challenges of balancing a full academic course load along with extracurricular commitments, which he said was important in preparing him for the demands of a busy political career.
Other highlights from the interview include York’s discussion of his service in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, his mayoral campaign, and his continued work with the Urban Land Institute. Staff members also captured images of the treasurers York displays on his office walls, including images of York with the Reverend Billy Graham, the U.S. Olympic torch that York carried through Raleigh in 1996, and a letter (shown at right) that Coach Case sent York on October 6, 1962 announcing the first basketball practice of the season.
To learn more about Smedes York and other former NC State student leaders, please visit Historical State. For more information about the Libraries’ Student Leadership Initiative, please contact Genya O’Gara at 919-513-2605.