Local News

New NCSU chancellor says job is perfect fit

Posted January 8, 2010 6:19 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2010 9:10 p.m. EST

— Randy Woodson said his new job as North Carolina State University’s chancellor is a perfect fit because of his experience and his belief in the land-grant system.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors unanimously approved Woodson, 52, for the N.C. State position on Friday. He has served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind., since May 2008.

“It’s the kind of place where students are focused on their education, interested in developing leadership skills and getting to the next level in terms of their careers,” Woodson said.

Like N.C. State, Purdue is a public, land-grant university known for its engineering and agricultural sciences schools.

“The land-grant universities have a practical-bent about them where they’re not satisfied to just do research for research sake, but they want to see it find value in the marketplace,” Woodson said.

During an interview with WRAL News Friday afternoon, Woodson admitted it's tough leaving Purdue, but the timing is right.

“Professionally this is a tremendous opportunity and I’ll be happy to give up my shovel and stop shoveling snow,” Woodson said.

Woodson is taking over the reins at a time the school has become more synonymous in the media with controversy rather than academics.

Former Chancellor James Oblinger resigned from N.C. State in June amid questions over his role in hiring then-first lady Mary Easley in 2005 and questions about a lucrative payout he arranged for N.C. State's former provost, who also resigned over the Easley flap.

James Woodward, the retired chancellor of UNC-Charlotte, has served as N.C. State's chancellor in recent months.

“It’s very important that we can continue the great legacy that we’ve had at N.C. State and bring in somebody who can take up that banner and keep it moving forward,” said N.C. State alumnae Gayle Lanier.

Jim Ceresnak, student body president, said he believes Woodson's plans to be accessible and visible on campus will go a long way toward winning students’ trust.

“He’s just such a dynamic and charismatic figure and somebody who is so easy to relate to and I think students are really going to appreciate that,” Ceresnak said.

Woodson said he hopes to stabilize the university after months of controversy.

"In terms of leading the university, it's got to be about transparency. This is a public institution, and the decisions that are made – working with the faculty, working with the legislature, working with leaders across the state – that's a transparent process," he said.

Woodson and his family return to West Lafayette on Saturday. He will be staying with Purdue through its budget process, which is expected to finish at the end of March.

Woodson will take up the helm at N.C. State no later than May 1. His annual salary at will be $420,000.