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The A&T Experience Through Voices

Interviews of notable A&T people and alumni.

Dr. Winser E. Alexander

(Interview conducted June 16, 2013)

Dr. Winser E. Alexander was the Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at North Carolina A&T State University from July 2009 until his retirement in June 2013. Dr. Alexander received a B.S. in electrical engineering from A&T and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the same discipline from The University of New Mexico.

Before becoming the provost and vice chancellor, Dr. Alexander was a full professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at North Carolina State University, a position he held since 1982. In addition to serving in that capacity, he served as director of the institution’s graduate programs from August 1988 to May 1997 and from June 2001 to August 2002. Alexander is also a visiting professor of electrical and computer engineering at N.C. A&T.

Prior to becoming a professor at North Carolina State University, Alexander was a professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering at A&T from 1976 until 1982. During his tenure, the department established a Master of Science in electrical engineering and increased its research funding by more than a factor of 10. For six months from January 1976 until June 1976, he served as an associate professor of electrical engineering and assistant dean of the College.

Prior to his appointment as chair of the department of electrical engineering at A&T, he was a member of the technical staff at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1964-1966 and from 1970-1976, and an electronics officer for the U.S. Air Force from 1966-1969.

Dr. Alexander is a registered professional engineer for the state of North Carolina and is also highly recognized in the field of engineering having received numerous honors and awards including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the White House Office of Science and Technology and the National Science Foundation in 1998.

His patents are Winser E. Alexander, System for Enhancing Fine Detail in Thermal Photographs, U.S. Patent Number 3, 541,333, November 17, 1970 and Jens P. Dybwad, Winser E. Alexander and Carl P. Zinnow, A Microbalance System, U.S. Patent Number 3, 753,472, August 21, 1973.

Lewis A. Brandon, III

(Interview conducted Tuesday, May 17th, 2011)

“Each year as the story of the Greensboro Four (A&T Four) is recounted, the name Lewis A. Brandon, III emerges. Brandon, a 1961 graduate of A&T, is credited with being a civil rights activist and behind-the-scenes organizer of similar movements for justice.” (A&T Today, vol.4, no.2, Spring 2001, p. 6) As a result of his endeavors to correct social injustices, the University honored Brandon by naming him the first recipient of the NC A&T Medal for Human Rights on February 1, 2001 at the 41st anniversary of the 1960 sit-ins. While presenting the award, Brandon was described by Chancellor James Renick as “the foot soldier, the strategist… one who embodies the spirit of leadership.”

Elizabeth Dowdy

(Interview conducted Thursday, November 13th, 2008)

Mrs. Elizabeth Etolia Smith Dowdy, educator and wife of the fifth president/chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy began their journey at A&T in 1951 when he accepted the Director of Student Teaching position. Mrs. Dowdy shares with us memories of her family life and those of being first lady of North Carolina A&T State University.

Henry Frye

(Interview conducted Friday, February 16th, 2007)

Retired Chief Justice of North Carolina Henry E. Frye began his Aggie experience in 1949 when he came to Greensboro, North Carolina from a farm outside of Ellerbee, North Carolina where he grew up with his five brothers and six sisters. His career has been filled with “firsts”…first African American to complete a full law degree from the University of NC at Chapel Hill and first African American Chief Justice to the NC Supreme Court to name a few. Hear the Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Criminal Justice reminisce about his farm life, college life, personal life and his career.

Shirley Frye

(Interview conducted Thursday, October 28th, 2006)

Mrs. Shirley Taylor Frye was a teenage waitress in Greensboro, North Carolina before she began her Aggie experience in 1950 as a freshman. From a small farm in Fremont, North Carolina to teacher to public relations vice president to university administrator, this devoted Aggie shares some of those memories with you.

Lucille Piggott

(Interview conducted Tuesday, April 11th, 2006)

Dr. Lucille Johnson Piggott came to Greensboro, North Carolina in 1949 from Alton, Illinois. She arrived with her husband, the late Dr. Bert Piggott, former North Carolina A&T State University football coach and athletic director. From coed to secretary for Dean Dowdy and Dean Rankin to Dean of Women, she enjoys her memories and experiences of her beloved Alma Mater.

Velma Speight–Buford

(Interview conducted Thursday, May 4th, 2006)

Dr. Velma Speight–Buford began her Aggie experience at fifteen years old when she arrived on campus in 1949 from Greene County, North Carolina. From coed to Director of Alumni Affairs to Chair of the North Carolina A&T State University Board of Trustees, she shares with us her thoughts and feelings about the university she loves so much.

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