Hickory Rotary Club welcomed Dr. Randy Woodson, Chancellor of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, as the featured speaker for Thursday’s club meeting. Dr. Woodson is the 14th chancellor of North Carolina State University. In this capacity, he oversees North Carolina’s largest university, with more than 34,000 students and a budget exceeding $1.3 billion. Since coming to NC State in 2010, Chancellor Woodson also has led NC State through difficult budget challenges, realigning the university for greater efficiency and effectiveness in order to ensure its continued success.
A nationally recognized leader in bridging the gap between vision and action, he has led the development and implementation of the university’s strategic plan to improve student success, faculty excellence, and engagement and economic development. In addition to this transformative plan, Woodson has led a strategic realignment to mold the university for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the face of decreasing resources. His reputation for consensus-building has given voice to a diverse university community, creating opportunities for multi-disciplinary collaboration and unifying university constituents to focus on enhancing student success and the value of an NC State degree. These shifts will continue to guide the university as it unites and adapts a cherished tradition with the constantly evolving landscape of higher education.
During his tenure Woodson has overseen the largest private gift in university history. Through the creation of the Faculty Excellence Fund Woodson has inspired inventive faculty research rewarding creativity and entrepreneurship. Under his leadership, NC State remains the 3rd best value among public universities in the U.S. and, according to a Wall Street Journal study, ranks 19th overall by recruiters for nearly 500 public and private corporations, non-profits and federal agencies across the nation.
Woodson arrived at NC State from Purdue University, where he served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. He took on the role of provost in 2008, after serving nearly four years as the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. Prior to that, Woodson was the associate dean of agriculture and director of the Office of Agricultural Research Programs at Purdue from 1998 to 2004.
Woodson’s career has been shaped by the land-grant university system, receiving a B.S. in Horticulture from the University of Arkansas and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Cornell University. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture. Prior to his administrative appointments, Woodson also served as head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue and was a visiting scholar at the École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse in France.
Over his decades-long career in higher education, Dr. Woodson has contributed a substantial body of knowledge to the field of plant science, which has been published in over 100 journal articles and book chapters. His research has covered topics such as plant genetics, molecular biology, biotechnology and sustainable bioproducts development, spanning the gap between the detailed science of plant physiology and the practical application of this knowledge in the field of horticulture. His research has been featured in stories published in BusinessWeek, The Futurist, and Discover.
Woodson has received a number of professional honors during his career, including the Purdue University Agriculture Research Award, the American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Researcher Career Award and the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the highest award presented by the governor of Indiana for service. He is a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science.