A tour of N.C. State University always leaves the visitor with a combination of amazement and appreciation. Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina system, was no different after touring some of NCSU’s engineering and technology centers last week. The visit continued her tour of all the system’s campuses, a tour met in some places by protesters objecting to Spellings’ selection by a clumsy and contentious UNC Board of Governors, which fired President Tom Ross. That wasn’t Spellings’ doing, however, and she has handled protests against her with good grace.
N.C. State saved money on red carpet – in Wolfpack country, it’s mostly red, anyway. But Spellings was appropriately impressed. And, though a few protesters showed up Spellings had a pleasant exchange with them, and their signs disappeared.
She saw in one research facility devices that when worn could monitor a person’s blood pressure or heart rhythm – oh, and by the way, also keep track of air quality. In one place after another, Spellings talked with student researchers who were energetic and enthusiastic about their work. Spellings also toured the remarkable Hunt Library, named for former Gov. Jim Hunt, who was on a panel with Spellings years ago and became one of her strongest advocates when her name came forward as the next UNC president.