Edgar S. Woolard Jr., retired chairman and chief executive officer of E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., is an alumnus and advocate of North Carolina State University. A 1956 graduate of the NC State College of Engineering, the Washington, N.C., native joined DuPont in 1957 as an industrial engineer at its Kinston site.
He rose through the company ranks and in 1989 became one of the youngest men to hold the job of chairman in the company’s history. Called by U.S. News & World Report “The New Organization Man,” Woolard is credited with leading by example, initiating total quality management principles, embracing technological change in the industry, and guiding DuPont to a leadership position in the global marketplace.
Woolard also was one of the first leaders in the chemical industry to espouse “corporate environmentalism,” a commitment to place corporate environmental stewardship in line with societal needs and expectations around the world. It was a leadership commitment that required extra effort and investments to modify or adopt new practices and processes.
For many years, Woolard’s bold leadership also has raised expectations and possibilities for NC State. He is a member of the N.C. Textiles Foundation and a member of the Lifetime Giving Societies’ Peele and Pullen societies, and is a former member of the NC State Board of Trustees.
Less than a decade ago he served as honorary chairman of NC State’s successful Century II Campaign, a five-year, $230 million effort for the support of university programs in teaching, research and public service.
Last year, Woolard signed on as a member of the Campaign for NC State Students leadership team, which is seeking to raise $80 million in endowments for scholarships and fellowships by December 1999. He and his wife, Peggy, contributed more than $1 million to endow John T. Caldwell Alumni Scholarships. The campaign is expected to exceed its goal, having already reached the 90 percent mark.
Woolard was the recipient of the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award at NC State in 1988 and recently received the Alumni Association’s 1998 Meritorious Service Award.
He and his wife, Peggy, reside in Wilmington, Del., and Jupiter, Fla.