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Meet the Dean’s Circle

Alumni. Friends. Faculty members. Sons and daughters. Spouses. Members of the Dean’s Circle, the College’s signature annual giving fund, are connected to NC State engineering in different ways. But by giving $1,000 or more annually to support the College, they all play a major part in making it strong. Gifts help fund scholarships and fellowships, which are used to attract and retain top students, and support innovative programs in the College’s academic departments. Meet four Dean’s Circle donors and learn why they give.

Christopher Phillips
Christopher Phillips

Christopher Phillips

It was apparent early on that Chris Phillips would study civil engineering, and that he would do it at NC State.

“I was born into it,” said Phillips, who earned his undergraduate degree in 1985 and graduate degree in 1988 from the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. “My dad’s a civil engineering graduate, class of 1960, who had a long distinguished career with the DOT. So from the time I was old enough to speak, I knew who the Wolfpack was.”

Phillips started with Hazen & Sawyer, a national environmental engineering firm with a Raleigh office, after graduation and is now the corporate head of the firm’s structural engineering department. He keeps in touch with his former professors, including for help when seeking new candidates for employment.

“I can’t lie to you to you, when it comes time to add staff, that’s where I look,” he said. “Especially for positions in this area.”

A season ticket holder for Wolfpack football, basketball and baseball, Phillips lends financial support to athletics as well as academics. He chooses to support the College because of the opportunities his degree has afforded him: to work on projects that interest him and provide for his family while staying close to his native Garner, NC.

I think that they’ve given a lot to me and they deserve something back.”

The youngest of Phillips’ three children will start at NC State this fall, providing yet another reason for him to stay close to the university. As if he needs one.

Phillips describes his loyalties as “God, family, country and the Wolfpack.”

Dr. Frances and Dr. George Ligler
Dr. Frances and Dr. George Ligler

Dr. Frances and Dr. George Ligler

No strangers to supporting higher education, and taking leadership roles while doing so, Frances and George Ligler made a commitment to support the College upon their arrival in Raleigh.

Dr. Frances Ligler was named the inaugural Lampe Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NC State in 2013 after a distinguished career with the US Naval Research Laboratory that included election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2005. Dr. George Ligler is a computer systems engineering consultant with more than 40 clients on three continents.

A pioneer in the fields of biosensors and microfluidics, Frances Ligler mulled several options when she decided to retire from the Naval Research Laboratory and turn to academia. The leadership of engineering Dean Dr. Louis Martin-Vega was one of the things that drew her to NC State. That leadership is also one of the reasons she and her husband support the College financially.

George Ligler serves on the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Reengineering Census Operations with Martin-Vega and the Joint NC State/UNC Department of Biomedical Engineering’s industrial advisory board. Both Liglers have held volunteer leadership positions with Furman University, where they earned undergraduate degrees.

Frances Ligler is a member of the Council of the NAE, the organization’s governing body. The couple has endowed the Ligler Challenge, matching donations to fund NAE activities.

After successful careers, the Liglers say they are in the “give back phase” of their lives. That includes giving to the College.

“It’s basically an obligation of being part of the community,” George Ligler said.

Brandi Weaver
Brandi Weaver

Brandi Weaver

Ask Brandi Weaver for a favorite memory from her student days at NC State and you will get more than one thing. A lot more.

Weaver, a 2003 graduate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was involved in the College’s Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) and student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

She was part of the MEP mentoring program for minority engineering freshmen and was a teaching assistant for an Introduction to Engineering class. MEP helped her take a study abroad trip to Vienna and Budapest. She even played violin in a hip-hop band.

Weaver, who is also a member of the university’s Chancellor’s Circle giving society, went to work as an electrical design engineer at Duke Energy’s McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, NC, and is now part of a multidisciplinary team in the company’s corporate offices in Charlotte, NC doing Probabilistic Risk Analysis for nuclear reactors.

After studying at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, Weaver knew she wanted to be an engineer. Exposure to STEM education in high school and having an older brother who is an engineer guided her decision.

“I knew early on in life that it was an option,” she explained. “A lot of people didn’t even know it was an option.”

Now, through mentoring and tutoring, she is teaching younger students that engineering is an option for them as well and that, thanks to Dean’s Circle donors, financial concerns don’t have to hold them back.

“That’s a lot of the reason I want to give,” Weaver said. “I had so many opportunities while I was there. I’m very adamant about giving back.”

Return to contents or download the Fall/Winter 2015 NC State Engineering magazine.