NC State University’s first woman chancellor Marye Anne Fox dies

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Former NC State University Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, who helped raise the university’s profile amid rapid growth, died Sunday night at her home in Austin, Texas, after a long illness, the university announced Monday. She was 73.

Fox was the first woman to lead the university when she was appointed chancellor in 1998.

“Even with all of her many accomplishments, what stands out to me is that Marye Anne perpetuated the notion that NC State needed to raise its expectations as a premier academic institution,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement. “Her leadership changed how we think of ourselves as a university and elevated NC State’s stature as a world-class academic institution.

Woodson noted Fox’s work in lobbying the North Carolina state legislature for the historic $3.1 billion University and Community College Bond Referendum and in expanding the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The university used the money from that bond to build a science research center that included industrial laboratories, classrooms and greenhouses for horticultural science. It opened in 2004 and was named the Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Laboratory in her honor.

Fox was an active and prominent scientist throughout her leadership career and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama.

The campus grew substantially under her leadership, with the number of endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships and buildings on the Centennial Campus. During her tenure, fundraising expanded, new multidisciplinary programs were developed and the university added to its number of patents. The university also gained national recognition for its science and technology programs.

Fox left N.C. State in April 2004 to become the chancellor of the University of California San Diego, where she was also the first woman to be appointed as permanent chancellor.

She stepped down from that role in 2012 after leading the university during a “historic era of extraordinary campus growth and unprecedented financial challenges,” according to UC San Diego.