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News Chief Pate Dies at 93

Rudy Pate shortly before his retirement in 1985. Photo courtesy Historical State.

Rudolph “Rudy” Pate, who grew up on a tobacco farm near Lumberton, N.C., and spent his life promoting the good agricultural and engineering works at NC State, died Tuesday at his home in Georgetown, S.C. He was 93.

As a student, Pate worked in the College News Bureau and wrote for Technician and The Wataugan, a campus humor and literary magazine. During his senior year, Pate was editor of The Agriculturist, a magazine published by students in the School of Agriculture. He was a member of the YMCA Cabinet, the Student Government Council and Golden Chain, the university’s top honor society.

A 1943 graduate in agricultural education, Pate spent 19 years as NC State’s director of information services and was once personally recruited back to the school by Chancellor John Harrelson from a newspaper job in his hometown. He was known to reporters and editors around the state for his homespun storytelling style.

Led Growth in Fundraising

He also spent time working as an assistant to UNC system President William Friday, who was Pate’s college classmate and friend. After several years in Atlanta working as the director of development for the South Regional Education Board, Pate returned to NC State as vice chancellor for foundations and university relations, where he helped increase private donations from $1.3 million to $6.8 million at the time of his retirement in 1985.

In 1975, Pate served as the chairman of the committee that created the Watauga Medal, which honors people who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the university.

“The biggest thrill in my work has been to see NCSU, in my lifetime, grow from a small land-grant college to one of America’s 25 top public research universities — an amazing accomplishment,” Pate wrote after he retired.

“NCSU provided ‘a window to the world’ for me, as a student, and opened up the doors for me. With the help of many fine people . . . I was able to walk through those doors and proceed to this point in my life,” he added. “I will, therefore, always be indebted to the university for its guidance and inspiration and hope, in some minor manner, to be able to continue to assist it.”

Service Set for Friday

The family will receive friends at 1 p.m. Friday at Mitchell Funeral Home,  7209 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh. The funeral will follow at 2 p.m. Pate will be buried at Raleigh Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rudolph Pate Endowment at the NC State Alumni Association, attention Becky Bumgardner, Office of University Development, Campus Box 7501, Raleigh, N.C., 27695-7501, or to the Tidelands Hospice, 2591 N. Fraser St., Georgetown, S.C., 29440. Memorials can also be made online.

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