Dr. Randy Woodson was appointed the 14th chancellor of North Carolina State University on April 1, 2010. He brought to NC State more than 25 years of experience as an internationally renowned plant scientist and academic leader.
Under his leadership, NC State has built upon its reputation as a pre-eminent research institution. It is a time marked by many transformative changes — the opening of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on Centennial Campus, the launch of the College of Sciences and the completion of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. Woodson also guided the university in securing leadership roles in groundbreaking research projects, such as the Next Generation Power Electronics National Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities and the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences. During his time at NC State, the university’s two National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers — FREEDM and ASSIST — have gone from strength to strength.
Even in the face of unprecedented financial challenges, these advances were made possible thanks to Woodson’s strategic plan and the accompanying Strategic Resource Management initiative, which aligned the university for greater effectiveness, efficiency and — most importantly — student success.
At NC State, Woodson has solidified the spirit of the land-grant university and its hallmarks of commitment and service by spearheading efforts to increase college access. As the landscape of funding for public universities continues to change, NC State consistently ranks in the top five best values among public universities in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report and Princeton Review.
During his tenure, Woodson has overseen two of the largest private gifts in university history. Additionally, the university’s endowment nearly doubled and currently stands at $984 million.
Woodson arrived at NC State from Purdue University, where he served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. He also served as the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, associate dean of agriculture and director of the Office of Agricultural Research Programs at Purdue.
Woodson grew up in Fordyce, Ark., and attended the University of Arkansas, receiving a B.S. in horticulture. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in plant physiology from Cornell University. He joined the Louisiana State University faculty in 1983, moving to Purdue University as an assistant professor of horticulture in 1985. 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, Woodson has contributed a substantial body of knowledge to the field of plant science, which has been published in more than 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.
He and his wife, Susan, an accomplished artist, have three adult children: Samantha, a librarian at Central Carolina Community College; Patrick, an agricultural engineer at RTI International; and Chloe, a care provider and educator in the TEACCH Autism Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Woodsons have one granddaughter.