Today is one of those days I’m glad I’m in politics.
There were tributes to Hunt and his contributions to North Carolina – especially for giving NCSU the land that become the Centennial Campus.
“No Jim Hunt, no Centennial Campus,” Chancellor James Woodward said. He said that, along with the BellTower, the library will be of NCSU’s signature landmarks.
There was a presentation about the library’s mission as a “think and do” center.
We saw drawings for the building. It’ll be spectacular.
But here’s what I thought about: Jim Hunt made the Centennial Campus decision at the lowest point in his career.
He had just lost the 1984 Senate race to Jesse Helms. He had two months left as a lame-duck governor.
The mayor of Raleigh, Avery Upchurch, brought a delegation of real-estate developers in to see Hunt. They had their eyes on the land – for houses and apartments and shopping centers.
Hunt didn’t buy it. He had another idea: Give the land to N.C.State for a new kind of research campus – a home for the university and for private companies.
That’s what he did. The Centennial Campus transformed N.C.State. And the Hunt Library – and the Institute for Emerging Issues it will house – will continue transforming North Carolina.
That’s what politics can be.