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Fitts-Woolard Hall dedicated during homecoming celebration

Dean Louis Martin-Vega with Edward P. Fitts, who made an instrumental gift to the building.
Dean Louis Martin-Vega with Edward P. Fitts, who made an instrumental gift to the building.

About 250 people gathered on Oct. 29, 2021, during NC State University’s Red and White Week for the dedication of Fitts-Woolard Hall (FWH), an important step forward in the College of Engineering’s efforts to bring together its departments on Centennial Campus.

“It’s been a long journey since 2008,” said Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College. “Whether you are alumni, students, faculty, staff or friends of our College, it’s your support that has brought us here to this special moment.”

Red and White Week, NC State’s yearly homecoming event, celebrates the University’s community. FWH is a culmination of that communal spirit. At the ceremony, state and University leaders — including Chancellor Randy Woodson and Phil Berger, NC State Senate president pro tempore — emphasized the importance of the new building for the College’s continued growth, while students, faculty members and staff members offered demonstrations of their labs and research.

Whether you are alumni, students, faculty, staff or friends of our College, it’s your support that has brought us here to this special moment.”

Louis Martin-Vega

Opened in the summer of 2020, FWH houses the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering; the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; and the dean’s administrative offices. Approximately 1,560 students and 170 faculty and staff members work and learn in the building.

At more than 225,000 square feet, FWH features state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms that are home to research in the areas of biomanufacturing, advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, health systems engineering, construction engineering and management and transportation systems.

“It was needed in terms of capacity for the growing number of students in the department, and it’s great to be located on the engineering campus where everything is happening,” said Laura Geary, a sales operations analyst for Intel and an industrial engineering ‘17 graduate who attended the dedication.

Dedication attendees gather outside entrance to Fitts-Woolard Hall.
Dedication attendees gather outside entrance to Fitts-Woolard Hall.

The building, which cost $150 million, represented a new funding model for NC State and the University of North Carolina System, relying on private funds in addition to state funding. Completion of FWH is attributed in part to the generosity of private donations from alumni and friends of the College who have pledged gifts of more than $49 million to help the College reach its goal of raising $60 million for the building.

Speakers at the dedication ceremony emphasized the importance of the building in continuously supporting students through accessibility, opportunity and knowledge sharing.

“We don’t do what we do for ourselves, we do it for you,” said Edward P. Fitts, industrial engineering ‘61 alumnus, who together with Edgar S. Woolard, industrial engineering ’56, made a $25 million gift to the building. “(Students’) success and contributions are a true testament to NC State, and with this wonderful building you will have every opportunity to follow in (previous generations’) footsteps.”