Chancellor Todd Roberts shared this letter following the groundbreaking for the new NCSSM-Morganton campus on Friday, June 21, 2019.
Dear NCSSM Community,
It took vision in the late 1970’s to imagine that an abandoned hospital in Durham could transform into a home for a new and cutting-edge model for STEM education. And few could have imagined that just a few decades later, NCSSM would be the model institution for designing and delivering innovative courses, academic enrichment experiences, and professional development for educators across our state and around the globe.
Over the years, thousands of alumni have been inspired by their time at NCSSM, whether it was through the residential program in Durham, our Online program, or summer experiences across the state. As we approach NCSSM’s 40th anniversary, there has never been a better time to double down on our mission to ignite innovation and cultivate community that will transform the lives of even more North Carolinians.
So today, we are making history once again as we break ground on a quiet, 62-acre parcel of land overlooking the South Mountains in Western North Carolina. NCSSM is extending our world-renowned academic programs to Morganton as we expand our enrollment to serve 300 additional North Carolinians beginning in 2021. NCSSM will be the first program of its kind anywhere in the world with two physical locations — one urban and one rural.
I am excited to announce that we’ve just received the largest private gift in the history of our institution. At today’s groundbreaking event, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge presented a gift of $5 million, which conveys naming rights for a comprehensive student wellness and activities center to be built on the NCSSM-Morganton campus.
CHS Blue Ridge’s $5 million gift represents a significant step toward the $10 million goal to complete construction of the new Morganton campus. This support is also representative of the growing number of donors who help sustain excellence, innovation, and achievement across our three campuses in Durham, Morganton, and Online. The groundbreaking ceremony for NCSSM-Morganton provided the perfect backdrop against which to celebrate this leadership gift among the many others that have made a major impact on our immediate needs and our plans for the future. Fundraising for the Morganton campus is one part of a larger comprehensive campaign that will expand the resources available for NCSSM’s statewide mission — including tens of millions of dollars in private and public investments for upgrades and improvements on the Durham campus.
Our founders envisioned the NCSSM experience as one of many opportunities. Our expansion into Online and now to Morganton underscores that there are truly no boundaries placed on our educational mission and impact. Our institution is not fixed in time and place, but increasingly transcends generations and locations. Expansion to Western NC will give even more students the opportunity to discover their interests and talents, to prepare to lead, serve, and tackle the challenges faced by our state, our nation, and our world. More students, faculty, staff, and friends will experience the transformative effect of NCSSM and will in turn, as you do every day, share their unique gifts with our school, this state, and beyond.
Todd Roberts, Ed.D.