We ended a successful academic year with what may have been the most well-attended commencement in our history both in terms of number of graduates and their families and friends. The attendance was not only evidence of the enrollment growth of our university, but the growing pride within the Wolfpack family.
That pride is evident as I have traveled the state and nation, meeting with alumni, friends and partners.
Last summer, I visited North Carolina’s seven economic partnership regions, getting to know the state and the university’s impact from the coast to the mountains. Since then, I have expanded my travels, making stops in New York, California, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Florida and Virginia. It’s obvious that NC State is already fortunate to have many strong partnerships with government, business, industry and academic entities. In fact, we are pleased to host on Monday President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness as they discuss opportunities to expand a federal skills program linking companies with educational entities. Moving forward, we will build on our partnerships and explore new ones in keeping with goal five of our strategic plan: to enhance local and global engagement through focused strategic partnerships.
Reconnecting with our outstanding alumni is an important step in broadening our engagement. With each stop, I have had the opportunity to meet with alumni, hear their stories and see firsthand the interest and passion they have for seeing their alma mater thrive. These alumni are leaders in their communities and careers and are eager to explore ways to partner with the institution that taught them so much. As a result of the California trip, for example, alumni on the West Coast are planning and exploring more networking opportunities and tangible ways to connect back to and support NC State.
Alumni and partners recognize what a great resource NC State is and the exciting opportunities for partnership that exist here. We are addressing grand challenges with our research, have been voted as a ninth best value university in the Princeton Review, corporate recruiters voted our graduates among the nation’s best prepared and MIT’s Technology Review listed our renewable energy work among the world’s 10 most important emerging technologies. We are telling our stories of success and our alumni and friends are well aware of our accomplishments. Their pride is growing.
This summer, I look forward to taking my travels abroad, beginning with Prague Institute. And, as we move into the fall, I will be traveling to China. With these international trips, I am eager to see the unique presence we have built beyond the United States and look forward to reconnecting with our alumni around the world.
Stay tuned as we continue to build our partnerships both here and abroad. And safe travels to us all this summer.