On March 15, North Carolinians voted to pass a bond referendum — the Connect NC bond — that has the potential to transform the state through critical investments in the university and community college systems, the National Guard, state parks, and water and sewer systems.



Two-thirds of the Connect NC bond will fund critical improvements in higher education, with $160 million going to NC State to support agriculture and engineering, two critical drivers of economic development and jobs across North Carolina. Those and other projects funded by the $2 billion are coming with no tax increase for the state’s citizens.

With funding from the bond and support from private donors, we’ll build the new Plant Sciences Initiative and the Engineering Oval building, hubs of innovation that will allow North Carolina to remain a national leader in engineering and emerge as the world leader in plant sciences.

When North Carolina voters last approved a higher-education bond, their decision reshaped campus and reinvigorated the state. Construction projects funded in 2000 were integral to sustaining NC State’s cutting-edge education, research and scholarship. They built the academic core of our Centennial Campus, a nation-leading research campus and economic engine where government, industry, nonprofit and academic partners come together to seek solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

State of North Carolina Population

NC State University Student Enrollment

Since 2000, North Carolina’s population has grown by more than 2 million people, and the NC State student body has grown by about 20 percent. The Plant Sciences Initiative and Engineering Oval building will help us prepare that growing student body for the high-tech jobs of the future.

$6.5 Billion

NC State’s research, alumni and students contribute $6.5 billion in added income to North Carolina’s economy annually.

$1 $9

Every dollar spent on NC State returns $9 to society.

Agriculture and engineering have always been at the heart of our land-grant mission. For more than 128 years, we’ve been a leader in both fields, producing graduates who build industries and research solutions that tackle the biggest problems. Investments in our work pay dividends across North Carolina: Our research, alumni and students contribute $6.5 billion annually to the state economy, and every dollar spent on NC State returns $9 to society.

Agriculture Built North Carolina

Agriculture has long been one of North Carolina’s leading economic engines. Today, agribusiness generates $78 billion in annual economic impact in the state, making it the state’s No. 1 economic sector.

Since its founding in 1887, NC State has been an essential source of leadership and support for North Carolina agriculture. Alumni from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are the state’s agriculture leaders, and our land-grant commitment to applying knowledge has put our research innovations to work in every county.

An Opportunity

Our extraordinary research enterprise creates a unique opportunity for North Carolina to establish itself as the world leader in the growing field of plant sciences. Leadership in that field is essential to facing a grand global challenge: feeding an exploding global population despite changing climates and shrinking farmland.

To meet that need, we have to enlist the best minds from agriculture and a wide range of other disciplines, including physics, engineering, mathematics and economics.

And we need to give them the tools to find and test bold solutions.

Explore the Plant Sciences Initiative

Architect's rendering of the Plant Sciences Research Complex.

Fortifying Our Future: The Plant Sciences Initiative

Investment in NC State agricultural research yields benefits for the entire state.

Over the next 25 years, 84 percent of U.S. agricultural jobs are projected to be in the plant sciences disciplines. North Carolina has the potential to be the Silicon Valley of plant sciences. Already, NC State’s world-leading plant-breeding program puts the state in the vanguard of this emerging field.

The Connect NC bond will cement our leadership. Among the projects planned as part of the bond’s Plant Sciences Initiative is the Plant Sciences Research Complex, the centerpiece of an interdisciplinary effort to make North Carolina the global leader in plant sciences education, research and innovation.

The return on investment in the Plant Sciences Initiative will be massive. Every dollar spent on agricultural research in the state generates $19.90 in economic benefit.

The Plant Sciences Initiative is based on a simple concept: If every phase of development works together, the final product will make sense economically. At the Plant Sciences Research Complex, experts will use an interdisciplinary systems approach to increase crop yields, diversify nutrition, improve sustainability and extend growing seasons.

The complex will be America’s premier interdisciplinary plant sciences research center, featuring:

Engineering Drives North Carolina

Engineering is key to North Carolina’s economic growth, and the NC State College of Engineering is a critical source of new ideas — and new engineers — for North Carolina industry.

Nearly 50,000 North Carolinians work as engineers, and their average income far exceeds the state average. NC State College of Engineering graduates make up a sizable share of that highly skilled workforce. We graduate 2,300 new engineers and computer scientists each year — among the highest number of annual graduates in these disciplines in the country — and the majority of them stay in the state.

Our engineering graduates not only dominate the state’s highly skilled workforce at companies such as Cree, SAS and IBM; they also create jobs by developing new technologies, launching innovative companies and bringing cutting-edge products to market. NC State engineering research has launched 40 startup companies since 2006, and 228 consumer products have roots in technologies developed at our College of Engineering.

Rocketing Demand

Demand for engineers and engineering innovations has never been higher. In the last 10 years, undergraduate enrollment in the College of Engineering has grown by more than 20 percent, and graduate enrollment has doubled.

To keep pace with that rocketing demand, NC State has drawn up plans to construct the Engineering Oval building, a cutting-edge facility on the university’s Centennial Campus.

Explore the Engineering Oval

Architect's rendering of the Engineering Oval.

Maintaining Our Momentum: The Engineering Oval Building

Engineering education and research at NC State keep North Carolina moving forward.

The new Engineering Oval building will enhance our ability to continue attracting and supporting the world’s best engineering students and faculty. It will include more than 100 classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories to further research and education excellence in areas of critical societal need:

  • Biomanufacturing
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Health systems engineering
  • Construction engineering and management
  • Environmental engineering
  • Transportation systems

The Engineering Oval will also house an engineering education center that will accommodate academic advising for students from all departments in the College of Engineering, as well as the Women in Engineering and Minority Engineering Programs, the K-12 outreach-focused Engineering Place and the First-Year Engineering program.

The Engineering Oval building is the crucial next step in the College of Engineering’s move to Centennial Campus, providing critical infrastructure that allows faculty members and students to leverage the power of collaboration across disciplines in an atmosphere unmatched anywhere in the nation. Named one of the country’s top economic engines, Centennial Campus brings together partners from higher education, government, industry and the nonprofit sector to confront global challenges.

The College of Engineering is a primary driver of the Centennial culture of interdisciplinary innovation, and our students reap the benefits. Embedded with industry leaders such as ABB and LexisNexis, NC State engineering students get hands-on experience addressing real-world, 21st-century issues.

Connect NC

When North Carolina needs solutions, NC State takes action.

That’s as true today as it was when the university’s first class met in 1889. Our historic strengths in agriculture and engineering have greatly benefited the state, and they’ve been the results of the state’s investment.

The Connect NC bond allowed voters to reinforce that historic relationship. And it’s more than that: The bond will fund vital improvements to North Carolina universities and community colleges, state parks, agriculture, the North Carolina Zoo, water and sewer infrastructure, National Guard facilities and more. The planned bond projects will have a profound impact on every part of the state.

For more information on the bond’s impact, visit the following sites. Be aware that these sites are external to NC State University; the university does not produce or control the content on these sites.

These links will carry you to third-party websites and content: