RALEIGH, -- NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson announced a $50 million gift from the Park Foundation -- the largest single contribution in NC State’s 126-year history -- that will go toward permanently funding the university’s prestigious Park Scholarships program.
Together with additional donor support, this gift will enable an endowment to provide income in perpetuity to attract the brightest minds to NC State and help them realize their full potential in scholarship, leadership, service and character.
“Through its exceptional generosity, the Park Foundation has demonstrated its passion for higher education, ensuring that the life-changing gift of an NC State education will be available to promising young men and women now and well into the future,” Woodson said. “This tremendous gift honors Roy H. Park, an NC State alumnus who created the Park Foundation, dedicated to supporting causes related to education, media and the environment. I’d like to think Mr. Park would be proud of the legacy he has created at NC State and the legacy each class of Park Scholars leaves behind,” Woodson added
"If my father were alive today, this would be one of the most exciting days of his life. He loved NC State and credited the university with his success," said Park’s daughter, Adelaide Gomer, who is president of the Park Foundation. "My father perceived scholarships as a way to provide opportunities to young students. It was a way that his legacy could ‘pay it forward’ to assist future generations. It is a gift that keeps on giving."
Established in 1996, the Park Scholarships program annually selects approximately 45 scholars from across the state and around the nation, and provides them a four-year scholarship, a computer stipend, enrichment grants, specialized faculty mentoring and a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities. In addition to working individually on academic and professional activities of personal interest, Park Scholars participate in numerous extracurricular activities, including student government, varsity and intramural athletics, fraternities and sororities, academic and cause-related clubs, entrepreneurial ventures, and arts organizations.
“Park Scholars repay the investment in their future many times over through their service to the community and efforts to solve the most pressing challenges of society,” Woodson said. “They do an exemplary job of carrying out NC State’s mission of creating economic, social and intellectual prosperity.”
A commitment to service is one of the hallmarks of the Park Scholarships program. The program includes many formal opportunities for scholars to provide service on campus, in the community, across the state, and throughout the world; yet many Park Scholars take the additional step of founding their own service organizations and events to address previously unmet needs. Two examples include Service Raleigh, the largest student-run service endeavor in the Triangle area with more than 2,000 volunteers providing more than 6,000 hours of community service annually, and the Krispy Kreme Challenge, a running and doughnut-eating event known as a “top thing to do before you graduate,” which has raised more than $500,000 for North Carolina Children’s Hospital since its creation in 2004.
Park Scholars have received numerous national scholastic honors, including Goldwater and Truman scholarships as well as National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. They also are admitted to top graduate and professional schools.
“During this challenging economic time when our university has experienced significant budget cuts, this leadership gift is especially meaningful,” said Woodson. “The Park Foundation is demonstrating how friends and supporters of our university can ensure we are able to continue providing a world-leading education to young people who will go on to significantly impact our state’s and our nation’s economic prosperity and quality of life.”