Perspectives Online

Chancellor Oblinger's installation celebrated in April

Burley B. Mitchell Jr., former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice, administers the oath of office to James L. Oblinger (left).
Photo by Roger Winstead

James L. Oblinger's April 20 installation as chancellor of N.C. State University was an occasion more celebratory than solemn. It began with a formal procession of dignitaries at Reynolds Coliseum and ended with a relaxed, well-attended picnic on the lawn of the Talley Student Center.

An audience of approximately 1,200, including state leaders and sister-institution academicians, as well as N.C. State faculty, staff, students and friends, gathered on the bright spring day to see Oblinger, former dean of the university's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, officially become N.C. State's 13th chancellor.

N.C. State alumnus Burley B. Mitchell Jr., former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and a member of the university's Board of Trustees, administered the oath of office.

"I am grateful and proud to accept the honor and responsibility of serving as N.C. State University's 13th chancellor," Oblinger told the audience in his installation address. "This celebration is not about me, but about us, all of us associated with N.C. State. I'm proud of this great institution and all the wonderful people affiliated with it."

N.C. State, he said, "is the people's university - of, by and for the people of the great state of North Carolina."

Speakers included President Molly Broad, leader of the UNC system; Peaches Blank, chair of N.C. State's Board of Trustees; Dr. Richard Brodhead, Duke University president; Gen. Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; William L. Burns Jr., UNC Board of Governors member; and Gov. Michael F. Easley. Among those in the audience was Nobel Peace Prize-winning geneticist Dr. Norman Borlaug.

"This is a great day for this institution and the state," Easley said, mentioning that N.C. State, with 30,000 students, is the largest university in the state. "This wonderful institution creates so much opportunity because it is accessible to every student in every corner of every county in this state. Keeping it affordable will be an important challenge to this chancellor."

Under Oblinger's leadership, Easley added, N.C. State will play an important role in North Carolina's economic future by expanding biotechnology in the state.

Addressing the needs of the state and solving the world's challenges will take innovation, Oblinger said. "Innovation will enable us to reach millions of people with research-based knowledge. Today, I ask that we all recommit ourselves to people, innovation and action."

Oblinger said that while the university was founded in 1887 "to educate the common man, N.C. State University is anything but commonplace. We are ranked with the best, and each year our aspirations and our reputation grow. Wolfpack pride permeates everything we do."

- Terri Leith