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Untitled painting by Joe Cox

Leading by Design

Celebrating 75 Years of the College of Design

In 1946, Chancellor John W. Harrelson began reorganizing NC State’s Departments of Architectural Engineering and Landscape Architecture into a single unit. A year later, he offered the job of running the combined “School of Architecture and Landscape Design” to University of Oklahoma architecture professor Henry L. Kamphoefner, who accepted only on the condition that it have its own dedicated building and that he could fill it with faculty of his own choosing. Soon after it opened in 1948, one of Kamphoefner’s first acts was to shorten the name to the School of Design.*

Kamphoefner believed that it was of foremost importance to have colleagues who were talented in their fields. To supplement their contributions, he brought in other internationally known design world figures to conduct workshops and interact with students. To surround and inspire them with examples of fine work, he eventually instituted a plan to acquire art for a university collection. In time, this formed the core of what became the Gregg Museum’s permanent collection.

Since 1948, the NC State University College of Design has made an impact in North Carolina and around the world by exploring solutions to any challenge, using design as a force for good and seeing problems as opportunities for change within our communities. This exhibition considers historical work representative of departments, phases and initiatives where the College was exploring the boundaries of the design disciplines, designing both for the problems of the day and the problems of their future. The College has always sought to help students find truth through making, to solve for complexity through engagement, and to lead — by design.

Leading by Design was curated in collaboration with the NC State University College of Design. Digital images in the exhibition are courtesy of the University Libraries Special Research Collections and recently retired faculty.

* In 2000, the School of Design was renamed the College of Design and now includes departments of Media Arts, Design and Technology, Graphic Design and Industrial Design, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, the School of Architecture, and the First Year Experience.