Griffin Lamb joined the College in May as assistant dean for development and college relations and executive director of the NC State Engineering Foundation.
Please tell us about your background in higher-education development.
I started my first job as reunion coordinator at my alma mater, Davidson College, in July 2000. This role provided the opportunity to work with a variety of alumni, from the fifth reunion to the 50th, and to begin learning how to coordinate with leaders across campus in order to plan the reunion programming. I did everything from buy blenders at Target for a fifth reunion Fiesta party to proof the Memorial Service program for the 50th reunion to write instructions for the event the vice president of college relations needed to attend. Best of all, I got my own golf cart for reunion weekend! After Davidson, I held roles in annual and reunion giving at the Harvard College Fund. From there, I returned to my home state and learned about the UNC system during four-and-half years as associate vice chancellor for development at East Carolina University in Greenville.
What interested you in a position within the College of Engineering?
First and foremost, the fact that it is about engineering. I was not looking to move, but the job description caught my eye immediately: a chance to scale a fascinating learning curve while continuing to serve my home state. I wanted to apply the fundraising fundamentals I’ve learned over the last two decades in a new setting with endless storytelling possibilities. It was a win-win.
What are the Foundation’s current priorities?
We are working hard to cross the finish line of $60 million raised for Fitts-Woolard Hall. To paraphrase Dean Martin-Vega, this project is about providing faculty and staff with the tools they need to be successful. When not focused on Fitts-Woolard, we talk to donors about scholarships, professorships, graduate support, study abroad support and much more. While we have clear priorities to share on behalf of the College, we always begin a gift conversation by asking a donor about his or her interests.
The University launched the Think and Do the Extraordinary capital campaign in 2013. Where does that effort stand?
As of June 30, we have raised $182,108,859 toward our total COE goal of $230,000,000. With these gifts as our momentum heading into the next two years and many more alumni and friends to speak to about their support, we have what we need to be successful.
What can alumni and friends of the College do to become more involved?
There is no shortage of ways to help: make an annual gift, return to campus during Red and White Week, provide an internship for a student, mentor a young alumnus/a in your field, serve on your departmental advisory board, or, best of all, meet with a staff member to tailor your involvement.
As you have learned more about the College, has anything surprised you?
I’m in awe of Centennial Campus. The vision required to see how NC State could expand and what the College could be with the right tools (space, people and partnerships with business) astounds me.