Student support and providing scholarships and fellowships to the next generation of engineers and computer scientists is vital to the College’s mission. Through the generosity of alumni, friends and faculty members, the Dean’s Circle helps provide support to the College’s outstanding students. The Dean’s Circle is a comprehensive society for all unrestricted gifts of $1,000 or more to the College and its departments. Meet three Dean’s Circle donors and learn why they give.
When Stuart Nisbet was looking at colleges, he felt drawn to NC State, but not just for the academic offerings.
“I had an affinity to NC State because of the athletics — thanks to people like (NC State men’s basketball stars) Kenny Carr, Dereck Whittenburg,” shared Nisbet. “But, I was also drawn to fields of computer science and applied sciences. There was so much NC State was doing in those fields that I wanted to be a part of it.”
After graduating from NC State in 1987 with a B.S. in computer science, Nisbet began his career at SAS as a software developer. Over the last 32 years, he has held multiple positions at SAS, including R&D manager; R&D director; senior R&D director; vice president of business intelligence R&D; and senior vice president, head of R&D.
Nisbet credits the education he received at NC State for his success in life and business.
“There’s a lot to be said for learning the theory of how things work — but the application of technology and how to apply it is greater. At NC State I not only went through the process of studying the how, but was also taught to think more broadly.”
For Nisbet, supporting the College is not an obligation, it is a small way to give back to the university that gave so much to him.
“When I was a student, NC State gave so much to me — in opportunities, in learning, and experiences. So as an alum, you have the opportunity to give back and help current and future students to succeed,” Nisbet said. “Giving back is not an obligation, but a way to contribute to the amazing work being done by the university for the community, the state of North Carolina and the country.”
Growing up with parents who are both alumni of NC State meant there was no shortage of Wolfpack pride for Evan Arnold.
“I grew up going to football games and watching NC State sports on TV,” shared Arnold, who earned his B.S. in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 2015 from NC State. “It meant so much to me to attend NC State.”
As a student, Arnold interned at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE), located on NC State’s Centennial Campus. After graduation, he continued his work with ITRE as an unmanned systems engineer and research associate.
His work with ITRE focuses on aviation and furthering drone technology — including maintaining small UAV fleets for flight readiness, performing airworthiness inspections and reports to the FAA for flight readiness, and managing flight operations.
Arnold said that his time at NC State not only helped him with his career, but in cultivating lasting friendships.
“The sole reason I am where I am in my career is due to NC State and the work I did as a student,” Arnold said. “As a student, I also met some of the greatest people in my life and cultivated relationships that I am forever thankful for.”
As a young alumnus, Arnold felt it was time to support the College in more than just attending football games.
“I wanted a way to interact with my alma mater that had a lasting impact and to support those in the same degree program,” said Arnold. “My hope is to help create a legacy for future students — to give them opportunities to succeed.”
Dr. Christine Grant
Working in academia was a long-term goal for Dr. Christine Grant when she graduated with her Ph.D. in 1989 from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“My plan after getting my Ph.D. was to work in industry, then make the transition to academia. But, former NC State Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) faculty member Dr. Ron Rousseau mentored me in his role as department chair while we were both at Georgia Tech. He even had career discussions with my mother in his office,” said Grant, now a professor in CBE and associate dean for faculty advancement. “As a result, NC State was the only university I applied to, and I got the call they wanted me to join right after I completed my degree. I have been here ever since.”
Grant felt at home at NC State and was impressed with the scope of the College.
“There was also a great deal of promised growth. When I started, there was only one main building on Centennial Campus — look at us now.”
As a Dean’s Circle member, Grant believes that giving back to the College makes donors feel that they are part of something larger than themselves.
“Initially, I thought it a bit strange for an employee to donate, then I saw colleagues contributing to ‘the cause.’ It helped me to see that if I really believed in what we were doing that I could contribute to the College of Engineering initiatives,” shared Grant.
In her position as an associate dean and as a faculty member, she feels that passion is a major factor in giving back.
“I am passionate about the success of our faculty — there are some really great colleagues (and students) that I wanted to indirectly support.”
Grant said that different life seasons result in different donor capabilities, so no matter the amount, large or small, support for the College is welcome.
“The main thing is to contribute.”