Founded in 1887, North Carolina A&M opened its doors in 1889. Six years later, it had its own Alumni Association. The association has worked from those earliest days to anticipate and fulfill the needs of the university.
In 1919, the Alumni Association launched plans to build a memorial to alumni who had died in World War I. The cornerstone for the Bell Tower was laid in 1921, but war and fund-raising lulls delayed its completion and dedication until 1949.
Meanwhile, the association supported NC State in other ways. In the 1920s, it operated the first Student Cooperative Supply Store and promoted construction of the campus radio station, gymnasium and a library befitting “an institution of our proportions.”
NC State Alumni News came out in the 1930s as the association expanded its alumni publication, created in 1917. Also during this decade, it led efforts to establish the college’s first news bureau.
In 1942, the association helped incorporate the NC State College Foundation—the first official organization for receiving and administering gifts and bequests. Its early activities included construction of Owen and Tucker dormitories to accommodate the GIs returning from World War II.
In the 1960s, working through the association, alumni actively opposed proposals to change the name of the university to UNC-Raleigh.
In the 1970s, the association established the university’s first unrestricted merit scholarship program, the John T. Caldwell Merit Scholarship Program. Today, more than 120 Caldwell Fellows are enrolled at NC State.
In the 1980s and ‘90s, the association expanded its services to reflect the land-grant mission of the university—specifically with awards to faculty who’ve merited recognition for outstanding teaching, research and extension.
In 1987, as the university celebrated its centennial anniversary, the Alumni Association sponsored construction of the Alumni Centennial Gateway on Western Boulevard. The gateway was officially dedicated in 1992 at Alumni Weekend.
In 1977, the association created the Caldwell Scholarship Program to honor the legacy of John T. Caldwell. It merged with the NC Fellows Program to become the Caldwell Fellows Program.
In September 2006, the Alumni Association moved into the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center, built on the southern shore of Centennial Campus’ Lake Raleigh. The Park Alumni Center is the realization of a 20-year dream and a point of pride for generations of NC State alumni and friends as return they to campus to celebrate happy occasions. It’s a $25 million, 60,000-square-foot home for alumni, built by alumni.