Two ISE alumni brighten the future of industrial and systems engineering at NC State with a $25 million gift, the largest donation given for a campus building naming in the University’s history. Fitts-Woolard Hall honors Edward P. Fitts, Jr. (BSIE ’61) and his wife, Debra, and Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. (BSIE ’59) and his wife Peggy.
In April, the University held a groundbreaking ceremony where Chancellor Randy Woodson made the official announcement of the gift and along with the College of Engineering Dean, Louis Martin-Vega, unveiled the building’s new name, Fitts-Woolard Hall.
See the Fitts-Woolard Hall Groundbreaking Photos
“Having two families that already have made such a significant impact on our students and faculty continue to set such an example of leadership is phenomenal,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “This project is vital to the future of the College of Engineering. We are grateful to the Fittses and Woolards for their extraordinary commitment to its success.”
NC State used a unique public-private partnership to fund the construction of Fitts-Woolard Hall. The Connect NC bond referendum that passed in 2016 provided half of the $154 million needed for the building. The University is securing the remaining funding through the generous support of alumni and friends like Fitts and Woolard.
Fitts-Woolard Hall is NC State’s fourth engineering building on Centennial Campus. Along with ISE, it will be home to the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and the dean’s office. Fitts-Woolard Hall will house state-of-the-art classrooms and cutting-edge laboratories that will further research in bio-manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, health systems engineering, environmental engineering, construction engineering and management, transportation systems and other fields of engineering research.
Edward P. Fitts, Jr.
Fitts received his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from NC State in 1961. After building a successful career at Sonoco Products Company, he founded Dopaco Inc., a global packaging company. Over the years, he has received many distinctions from the NC State including the Watauga Medal and the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 as well as the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 2001. Today, he remains active within the department serving as the chair of the ISE Advisory Board.
Fitts and his wife, Deb, have supported the ISE Department with gifts that include:
- The Edward P. Fitts Scholarship
- The Edward P. Fitts Fellowship
- The Edward P. Fitts Industrial Engineering Professorship
- The A. Doug Allison Endowed Professorship
- The Dopaco, Inc. Endowed Professorship
In 2005, ISE became the first endowed academic department in the history of the University of North Carolina System due to the Fittses gift of $10 million.
As the ISE department continues to expand, the need for a new facility to replace the current Daniels Hall was always in mind.
“Our goal remains to be one of the top five industrial and systems engineering programs in the world,” Ed Fitts said. “To complete this goal, we need a world-class facility for our students and our faculty to continue to produce world-class students for the state of North Carolina and the nation.”
Edgar S. Woolard, Jr.
Woolard earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from NC State in 1956. Following a career of management and leadership positions with DuPont, including chairman and CEO, he served as chairman of the board of Apple. There he led the company out of financial decline and convinced the board to bring back Steve Jobs.
Like Fitts, Woolard has received many awards from the University including the Watauga Medal in 2001, ISE’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006, Meritorious Service Alumnus Award in 1998, as well as the College Alumnus of the Year Award and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 1988.
Woolard and his wife, Peggy, have supported NC State through gifts like:
- The Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Endowment
- Edgar S. Woolard Dean’s Discretionary Fund Endowment
- Terry G. Wood Scholarship for the Poole College of Management Endowment
- Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. Scholarship Endowment
“It’s been exciting to observe the growth and outstanding progress of NC State over the past 30 years, especially Centennial Campus,” Woolard said. “The dedication of this fabulous new engineering building represents this growth and progress.”
Fitts-Woolard Hall will serve as a hub of innovation, catalyzing cross-discipline research and fostering collaboration with industry partners. An investment in this critical project is an investment in the future of engineering and the future of North Carolina.
If you are ready to help ISE make Fitts-Woolard Hall building a reality, contact:
Executive Director of Major Gifts and Campaign Planning
See the Fitts-Woolard Hall Groundbreaking Photos