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January 8, 2010


Woodson Named Chancellor of North Carolina State University

CHAPEL HILL, NC – William Randolph “Randy” Woodson, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue University in Indiana, has been elected chancellor of North Carolina State University by the Board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina. UNC President Erskine Bowles placed Woodson’s name in nomination today (January 8) during a regular meeting of the board. Woodson, 52, will assume his new duties no later than May 1, succeeding James H. Woodward, who has served as chancellor on an interim basis since June of 2009.

In recommending Woodson to the Board of Governors, Bowles said: “There is not a doubt in my mind that Randy Woodson is absolutely the right person to lead North Carolina State today and in the years ahead. Over the past 25 years, he has accumulated a wealth of academic and leadership experience at one of the best land-grant institutions in America. At each step along the way, he has proven himself to be an engaged and effective leader who promotes openness and collaboration, strategic thinking and creative problem-solving, and a real-life commitment to academic excellence and student success. He has also earned a reputation for great integrity, sound judgment, and an unwavering commitment to the special mission of the land-grant university. I am convinced that Randy Woodson brings the right mix of experience, expertise, skills, and passion needed to be a truly great chancellor for NC State, and I am thrilled that he has agreed to join our leadership team.”

Founded in 1869 as a land-grant institution, Purdue University is a five-campus public system that enrolls more than 72,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Ranked among the top 25 public universities in America by U.S. News & World Report, the main campus in West Lafayette offers more than 200 undergraduate majors, over 70 master’s and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. Purdue's College of Engineering is among the largest in the United States and includes 13 highly ranked academic programs, and the University attracts more than $472 million annually for research and sponsored programs.

As executive vice president and provost, Woodson is Purdue’s chief academic officer. In that role, he is responsible for overseeing all academic programs on the West Lafayette and four regional campuses, as well as providing leadership for Purdue’s libraries, student services, admissions and enrollment management, the Graduate School, continuing education, international programs, diversity and inclusion, and information technology. Under his leadership, Purdue has begun to implement a new strategic plan that calls for significant improvements in student access and success, a doubling of research volume, and a renewed emphasis on meeting global challenges in the areas of food, energy, climate, and sustainability. He also is a distinguished teacher and researcher specializing in the field of plant science.

Woodson was raised in Fordyce, Arkansas, where his parents were public school teachers. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1979 with a degree in horticulture, he enrolled at Cornell University, where he earned a master’s degree in the field (1981) and a doctorate in horticulture and plant physiology (1983). He began his academic career as an assistant professor of horticulture at Louisiana State University in 1983 and was recruited to a similar position at Purdue two years later.

During his 25-year tenure at Purdue, Woodson has risen steadily through the academic and administrative ranks.  After serving as head of the plant biology program (1995-97), head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (1996-98), and a Visiting Scholar at the École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse, France, he was named associate dean of agriculture and director of agricultural research programs in 1998.  Four years later, he was appointed the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, a post he held until being named executive vice president of academic affairs and provost in 2008.  As dean, he was responsible for overseeing the College of Agriculture, the Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station, the State Chemist’s Office, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, and other regulatory functions assigned to Purdue by the state.  He was also credited with helping to launch a Climate Change Research Center, developing new student success programs, increasing sponsored research awards by more than 60%, and creating the college’s Office of Multicultural Programs.

Woodson and his research group have published over 100 journal articles and book chapters in the field of plant science.  His research focuses on the biochemical and molecular basis of plant aging and the role of the plant hormone ethylene in these processes.  This research spans the gap between basic plant biochemistry and molecular biology and has led to the development of molecular approaches to improve post-harvest storage and shipping of horticultural products. His many professional honors include the Purdue University Agriculture Research Award, the American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Researcher Career Award, and the B.Y. Morrison Medal from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. He is a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Woodson is married to Susan Wynne Woodson, a graphic designer and co-founder of HELEN magazine. They have three children: Samantha, a research librarian with the American Institute of Economic Research in Massachusetts; Patrick, a graduate student at Purdue pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering; and Chloe, a sophomore at Purdue majoring in photography and visual arts.


North Carolina State University

Founded in 1887, North Carolina State University is a land-grant research university offering bachelor’s degrees in 115 fields, master’s degrees in 169 fields, and doctoral degrees in 62 fields, as well as the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.  With an enrollment of nearly 34,000 students, it is the largest university in North Carolina. NC State houses one of three colleges of engineering within the University of North Carolina and the state’s only College of Veterinary Medicine. NC State’s research expenditures are approaching more than $325 million annually, with almost 70 percent of faculty engaged in sponsored research and 2,500 graduate students supported by research grants. Centennial Campus, NC State’s award-winning research and education park, houses more than 70 University entities including academic departments, research centers, institutes, and laboratories, as well as more than 60 corporate and government organizations that work in partnership with the University. 


The University of North Carolina

The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 220,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students. UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists. The UNC Center for Public Television, with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, is also under the University umbrella.


NC STATE CONTACT: Joe Hice, Chief Communications Officer, (919) 515-7373 or


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North Carolina State University

Friday, January 8, 2010

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