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Impact at NC State Never to be Forgotten

Several years ago a young man from Arkansas packed his belongings and headed to North Carolina to begin what ended up being an incredible run with the Wolfpack.  Mr. David Ashcraft had never toured a University, let alone heard of paper science and engineering, when an International Paper employee from his hometown convinced him to come to NC State.  Though he grew up around paper mills, Mr. Ashcraft  had no intention of working in the industry.  He believed that the petro-chemical track was more suited to his interests, and it certainly appealed to his nose, more than paper.  It was not until his senior year that he found his niche in the paper industry, so eventually he took a job with Eastex Inc. and moved to Texas after graduation in 1968.  From there,  he climbed the ladder of success until he secured a position as the group vice-president for bleached paperboard.  During his time working as VP,  Eastex  merged with Temple-Inland, and during the 1996 transition, the management reconstructed and Mr. Ashcraft was left without a place at Temple-Inland.David & Mary Ashcraft

Now, if you believe in fate,  this chain of events is nothing short of a miracle.  Mr. Ashcraft met and married his wife, Mary, in Raleigh, NC and when the two finished graduate school they shared a dream of one day returning to their beloved city—Mr. Ashcraft wanted to be a forest biomaterials professor and envisioned himself staying heavily involved in the college.

With nothing keeping them in Texas, he and his wife fulfilled their dream and moved back to the Tarheel State.   Starting in 1999, Mr. Ashcraft taught undergraduate and graduate students part-time in the spring, and was an active recruiter and pulp and paper foundation member in the fall.  He taught for six years, and in 2006  was named Executive Director for the Development of Natural Resources for the college.  This included positions in the Paper Foundation and the Forestry Foundation as well as the responsibility of managing Hoffman Forest,  NC State’s own operating forest.

By 2008 the Paper and Forestry Foundations merged into the Natural Resources Foundation and Mr. Ashcraft was in charge of managing the various assets and scholarships associated with the organization.  He was also deeply involved in the discussions around the sale of Hoffman Forest.

Retirement…Good for him Sad for us

Mr. Ashcraft recently decided it was time to focus on the next chapter of his life and retire.  He spends his time volunteering with the NC Baptist Foundation and the NC Baptist Missions while traveling around the globe to continue positively impacting people’s lives.  He and his wife take a few international mission trips a year, but  spend over a dozen weekends in various churches throughout the country to teach specific topics to children.  This coming December they will have been to Romania and fifteen different churches in several different states.

Now that this chapter of working at NC State had closed, Mr. Ashcraft hopes that people could see his deep devotion to NC State and share his enjoyment of the paper industry.  He made it very clear that he left the college with no memories of the bureaucratic processes, but rather with many fond memories of the wonderful people that supported and cared for him.  Being at NC State reinforced his appreciation for the academic world, and his belief that people and relationships are important.

Our heart ever holds you

As we all know,  the NC State Alma Mater proudly proclaims “Our heart ever holds you, NC State, in the folds of our love and pride.”  No man took these words more seriously than David Ashcraft.  He took a chance on us years ago, and we, as an institution, were lucky to have him. Thank you for your service Mr. Ashcraft. You’ll always have a home with the Pack.

Alumni Spotlights (read David’s and more)

See David’s Alumni Spotlight here and others we have collected along the way.  We LOVE hearing from our alumni.  If you want to take the time to fill out a spotlight, we will post it as soon as possible!

By guest blogger Manon Macallister