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Honoring former Chancellor Marye Anne Fox

Dear NC State community,

 I write today with the sad news that former NC State Chancellor Marye Anne Fox passed away Sunday night at her home in Austin, Texas, after a long illness. 

Marye Anne Fox was appointed NC State’s 12th chancellor on Aug. 1, 1998. As well as being NC State’s first female executive leader, she also provided tremendous guidance and vision as our land-grant university charged into the 21st century, propelled by her commitment to raising NC State’s stature in teaching, scholarship, research and extension. She played a prominent role in lobbying the North Carolina legislature for the historic $3.1 billion University and Community College Bond Referendum and in the decision to expand the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which NC State is a charter member.

During her tenure, the number of endowed chairs and professorships and endowed and designated merit scholarships increased substantially. The number of buildings on Centennial Campus doubled, as did the expansion of fundraising, the development of new multidisciplinary programs and the number of patents held by the university. The university also emerged as a national pacesetter in a number of science and technology programs. 

When Marye Anne left in April 2004 to become the chancellor of the University of California San Diego, NC State had laid the groundwork to expand its outreach within North Carolina, while also gaining national and global prominence. NC State’s first building constructed with funding from the state bond approved in November 2000 was a science research center that included industrial laboratories, classrooms and greenhouses for horticultural science. The research center opened in 2004 and was named the Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Laboratory in honor of her service to the university.

Throughout her career in leadership, Marye Anne remained an active and prominent scientist and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010.

Even with all of her many accomplishments, what stands out to me is that Marye Anne perpetuated the notion that NC State needed to raise its expectations as a premier academic institution. Her leadership changed how we think of ourselves as a university and elevated NC State’s stature as a world-class academic institution. 

NC State owes a great deal of gratitude and respect to Marye Anne Fox. 

Randy Woodson