College of Textiles

College of Textiles


1899 Textiles program founded at NC A&M College

Daniel Augustus Tompkins of Charlotte, NC, was one of the most eager advocates for textile education in the South. After initially planning to establish a textile school in Charlotte, Tompkins and other community leaders, including Judge Heriot Clarkson, concluded to establish the textiles school as part of the newly founded North Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College (NC State University) in Raleigh.

1899 First textile courses

George Franks Ivey taught the first courses in textiles in the fall of 1899. Courses specialized in cotton manufacturing and milling, designing twills, and mill engineering, and were taught in Holladay Hall.


1900 Textiles education expands

In 1900 the college expanded its textiles program; George Franks Ivey left and Henry M. Wilson joined the faculty as an instructor in cotton manufacturing. The college offered courses such as carding and spinning, weaving, textile designing, and textile chemistry and dyeing. The courses provided students with specialized expertise to operate mills and use advanced scientific research in the textiles industry.

1901 Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson, a young Englishman arriving from the Lowell Textile School in Massachusetts, became an instructor of weaving and design in the textiles program. Nelson was well educated, as a graduate of Preston Technical School in England in 1891 and the Lowell Textile School in 1899, and had extensive industrial experience.

Dr. Thomas H. Nelson portraitDr. Thomas H. Nelson portrait
1901 First Textiles graduate

William O. Bennett was the first graduate from the textiles program. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering in Textile Industry.

1902 Tompkins Hall opens

The original textile equipment was housed in the basement of Holladay Hall. Support for the program grew, and in 1901 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated $10,000 toward the construction of a textile building. This structure, Tompkins Hall, resembled a textile mill of the period and was completed in early 1902. In 1917 it was named for Daniel A. Tompkins, a Charlotte industrialist who was instrumental in the establishment of the textile program at NC ... More

Tompkins Hall.Tompkins Hall.
1906 Thomas Nelson becomes department head

Following the resignation of Henry Wilson, Thomas Nelson was promoted to professor and selected to head the textile department.

1907 Textile graduates receive award

A gold medal was awarded at the Jamestown (Virginia) Tercentennial held in 1907 for fabrics designed and woven by students of NC A&M College. This was the first award of many that would follow as the reputation of the school and its graduates grew.


3/25/1914 Textile Building fire

Fire destroys the Textile Building (now Tompkins Hall) and all the equipment inside. The Textile Building was rebuilt the following year, with the local textile industry contributing new equipment.

Tompkins Hall, fireTompkins Hall, fire
1914 Tompkins Hall rebuilt after fire

A fire on March 25, 1914 destroyed Tompkins Hall and all the equipment inside. It was rebuilt the following year, with the local textile industry contributing new equipment. During the rebuild, an additional 25 feet were added to the west end of the building.

Tompkins Hall, rear viewTompkins Hall, rear view
1916 Organized research

The first recorded statement about research in textiles at NC State was documented in 1916. The Textile Department was selected by the U.S. Government through the Office of Markets to "make a number of important tests on the five full grades of cotton" to determine the relative amount of waste, tensile strength, bleaching, and other qualities of each grade of cotton. These tests would have been valuable for cotton manufacturers,


1922 Master of Science in Textile Manufacturing

Shang Wu Jen was awarded the first Master of Science degree in Textile Manufacturing. This was the first masters degree in the textile program

1925 School of Textiles established

The Board of Trustees removed the Textile Department from the School of Engineering and created a separate School of Textiles. Becoming a separate school enabled Textiles to have its own dean and to compete on an equal basis with the other schools within the college for money, faculty positions, equipment, and space. Thomas Nelson became the first dean, serving until 1943.

1925 Master of Science in Textile Chemistry and Dyeing

Under the leadership of Textile Chemistry and Dyeing instructor Kenneth MacKenzie, a Master of Science degree program was established. The first student to receive this degree was Wei Pen Chen.

1925 Albert Harvey Grimshaw

With the creation of the new School of Textiles, Dean Nelson hired Albert Harvey Grimshaw to head the Chemistry and Dyeing Division. A former pharmacist, Grimshaw became interested in textile chemistry and studied at New Bedford Textile Institute, MIT, and Columbia University before coming to NC State.

A. H. Grimshaw portraitA. H. Grimshaw portrait
1925 Textile Exposition and Style Show

The School of Textiles hosted the inaugural Textile Exposition and Style Show. Students organized style shows to display their fabric designs. Students from local women's colleges participated in the event by creating fashions from fabrics made by NC State students and by modeling for the shows. These popular style shows were held in Pullen Hall. After the show, the audience and contestants visited Tompkins Hall to attend the NC State College Textile ... More

Textile Exposition and Style Show held at the Textile School, North Carolina State College, Raleigh, April 10-11, 1929.Textile Exposition and Style Show held at the Textile School, North Carolina State College, Raleigh, April 10-11, 1929.
1926 Thomas Nelson honored

Dean Nelson was granted an honorary Doctor of Science degree by NC State in 1926. He was also honored at a meeting of the Southern Textile Association for his leadership in textiles over 25 years at NC State.

1929 First Yarn Manufacturing degree

A new Bachelor of Science degree in yarn Manufacturing was created in 1929. The first three graduates earned degrees in 1932.


1932 First female M.S. recipient in Textiles

Lillian Tyler Jones was the first female to earn a graduate degree from the School of Textiles. Her thesis was a study of "the effect of some wet and dry cleaning and stripping and spotting reagents on the relative tensile strength of some acetate and viscose yarns."

1936 First woman undergraduates

The first women undergraduates in textiles were Eleanor Mae Greene and Virginia Lee Reinheimer, who received Bachelor of Science degrees in Weaving and Designing.

6/1937 Textiles graduating class

Depicted here is part of the 1937 graduating class at the Textile School of NC State College. Dean Thomas Nelson is in the front row, seventh from the left. The 1937 class was the largest the Textile School had up to that time.

Graduating class at the Textile School of North Carolina State College in front of Tompkins HallGraduating class at the Textile School of North Carolina State College in front of Tompkins Hall
1938 A new building for Textiles

Additional funds were appropriated to supplement a Public Works Administration grant from the government to construct a new building. Textiles faculty objected to a proposed site on Hillsborough Street near the railroad tracks, because smoke, noise, and vibration would be injurious to equipment in the labs. Instead, a site proposed on a pecan grove at the far west end of campus was chosen for a four-story, fireproof building of concrete and steel, faced with ... More

Entrance to Nelson Hall, North Carolina State CollegeEntrance to Nelson Hall, North Carolina State College


1940 Nelson Hall opens

The new building for the School of Textiles was dedicated on March 5, 1940. Present at the dedication was Textiles Dean Thomas Nelson (from 1925 to 1943), Associate Justice Heriot Clarkson of the NC Supreme Court, and Governor Clyde R. Hoey, who as a young legislator in 1901 had voted to approve the formation of a textile program. The building's construction was funded by the Public Works Administration. In 1954 it was named for Nelson.

Dedication of Nelson HallDedication of Nelson Hall
1941 William C. (Bill) Friday graduates

William C. (Bill) Friday received a Bachelor of Science degree in textile manufacturing. He later served as President of both the Consolidated University (1956-1972) and the UNC-System (1972-1986).

1941-1945 Contributing to the war effort

During World War II the North Carolina textile industry, with the help of many NC State alumni, produced more fabric for the war effort than any other state. The Textiles faculty conducted a 12-week course for fabric inspection and testing for war industry personnel, and conducted courses in mill safety. Male student enrollment dropped, but women and international students were able to continue studies during the war.

1943 Malcolm E. Campbell becomes dean

Malcolm E. Campbell became of Dean of the School of Textiles in 1943, and served in that position until 1967. He was appointed with a mandate to emphasize research, and arrived from the Textile Research Institute in New York where he had been a research manager.

Deans Thomas Nelson and Malcolm Campbell sitting on benchDeans Thomas Nelson and Malcolm Campbell sitting on bench
1943 Textile Exposition and Style Show ends

The Student Textile Exposition and Style Show was interrupted from its successful annual program in 1943, presumably due to a decrease in student population during World War II.

1944 Textile Library

The Textiles Library is established, with Rachel Penn Lane as the first librarian. The Textiles Library was originally located in the main library, but relocated to Nelson Hall the following year (1945). The library was renamed the Burlington Textiles Library in 1954, when Burlington Industries funded its expansion.

Textile research libraryTextile research library
1944 Expansion of knitting program

Dean Campbell hired Elliot B. Grover in 1944 as a professor of Yarn Manufacture. Ed Shinn returned from the war where he had risen to the rank of major in the Chemical Warfare Branch of the US Army, and would head the knitting area in the School of Textiles.

W. E. Shinn portraitW. E. Shinn portrait
1944 Changes after World War II

Many new materials, compounds, and processes had been developed during the war, prompting the faculty to reassess and update the teaching programs and curricula. Grimshaw wrote that the list of processes with major changes included, "sizing with cellulose ethers; dyeing and finishing in one process for permanent finish; the many uses of resins in finishing; continuous bleaching processes; high speed printing; the great interest shown in processes for water ... More

February 1945 Knitting curriculum

In February 1945, the state allocated $25,000 to develop a new program in hosiery, underwear, and flat knitting. A knitting department was established in 1945, and a four-year program in knitting was implemented in 1946.

Woman boarding knit hosiery at North Carolina State College School of Textiles.Woman boarding knit hosiery at North Carolina State College School of Textiles.
1947 Henry Rutherford, Department Head

Henry "Hank" Rutherford became head of the Department of Textile Chemistry, and he served in that position until 1974. While at NC State he pioneered research in radiation chemistry of fibrous polymers. In his research he examined the durability of fibers exposed to radiation, which had applications in dyeing and finishing of textiles.

Henry A. Rutherford portraitHenry A. Rutherford portrait
1949 Duke Kimbrell received Bachelor of Science degree

Duke Kimbrell a Bachelor of Science degree in textile manufacturing. He later became chairman of Parkdale Mills, Inc., the largest manufacturer of spun yarn in the world.

1949 Female faculty increases

Twenty-two women are listed on the faculty, most at the instructor or laboratory technician level. Departments with more than one female member include English (six), Statistics (three), Textiles (three), and Modern Languages (two). Women are also on the faculty in Architecture, Agricultural Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies, Chemistry, Engineering, Research, and Agronomy.


7/1951 New textiles equipment

A velvet carpet loom is installed on campus for use by the School of Textiles.

Installation of velvet carpet loom in the School of Textiles at North Carolina State College, July 1951Installation of velvet carpet loom in the School of Textiles at North Carolina State College, July 1951
1953 Uses of radiation in textile research

Interest in radiation applications began in September 1953, when NC State received a nuclear reactor. Henry Rutherford, head of the Textile Chemistry Department, recognized the value of the reactor as an energy source and led early research on how textile materials, polymers in particular, would behave when exposed to radiation.

Nuclear reactorNuclear reactor
1954 Peru Project established

The Peru Project is established, a cooperative effort between NC State, the Foreign Operations Administration (U.S. Agency for International Development), and the government of Peru to develop programs in agricultural and textile research, extension, and education.

1955 Edward Shinn develops a synthetic aorta

William Edward Shinn, head of the Knitting Department, developed knitted tubes using synthetic fibers to serve as artificial aortas. The knitted aortas were more flexible than the woven tubes previously used. Dean Campbell had an artificial aorta implanted in 1970 after suffering an aneurysm. He lived to 1978 with the help of the synthetic aorta that resulted from research he had supported.

William E. Shinn and Malcolm E. Campbell inspecting knitting machine on which Shinn developed the artificial aorta [!!Duplicate!!]William E. Shinn and Malcolm E. Campbell inspecting knitting machine on which Shinn developed the artificial aorta [!!Duplicate!!]
11/3/1958 Cobalt-60 Reactor

A Cobalt-60 reactor worth $96,000 was dedicated on November 3, 1958, in the basement of Nelson Hall. Gamma radiation was used to investigate polymer transformations. The research of Henry Rutherford, William Walsh, Rosa Kirby, and others over the years led to the development and commercialization of permanent press curing of cotton.

Professor Henry A. Rutherford and Dr. A. Armstrong examine the Cobalt-60 source in the College's radiological laboratoryProfessor Henry A. Rutherford and Dr. A. Armstrong examine the Cobalt-60 source in the College's radiological laboratory
1959 Textile Exposition and Style Show revived

Two faculty in the College of Textiles, J.B. Gaither and J.W. Klibbe, reinstated the annual Textile Exposition and Style Show in 1959 as a Phi Psi project. Gaither had graduated in Weaving and Designing in 1938, participated in the Style Shows as a student, and realized the value of providing textile design students an outlet for their creativity. The shows continued for several years but were eventually dropped.

1959 Textile bookmark calendars

Professor Ernest B. Berry challenged his senior-level students to design and weave a calendar with a School of Textiles design at the top and a monthly calendar positioned below. The winning design resulted in a green-and-white calendar assembled with surplus Fortisan warp and acetate filling. The calendars were such a hit with the members of the class, faculty, and staff, that the project became an annual event.


1961 Textile Technology Department

The three separate departments of Weaving, Knitting, and Design were eliminated and merged into one department named Textile Technology. 26 old textile courses were dropped and 15 new courses added to form the new curriculum.

1963 First Woman Instructor in Textiles

Francess Massey became an instructor in Textile Technology. She was the first female faculty member at the instructor level in the School of Textiles.

1963 Expansion to David Clark Laboratories

Following a proposal by the Director of Research Bill Newell, the expanded textile chemistry research program moved into Mangum Hall, which was renamed David Clark Laboratories shortly thereafter.

David Clark Labs, interior viewDavid Clark Labs, interior view
1965 Lint-free washcloth developed

John T. Bogdan developed a lint-free washcloth that was used on the Gemini and Apollo space flights.

Professor John BogdanProfessor John Bogdan
1966 Solomon Hersh

Solomon "Sol" Hersh joined the faculty of the Department of Textile Technology. Previously he had received his B.S. from NC State in 1949. In 1995 he became the first faculty member from the College of Textiles to receive the Alexander Holladay Medal for Excellence.

1967 David W. Chaney becomes Dean of Textiles

David W. Chaney became Dean of the School of Textiles in 1967 and served in that position until 1981. A veteran of 25 years of industrial research, Chaney arrived from Chemstrand Research Center at Research Triangle Park. He was the first person with an earned Ph.D. to be named dean of the School of Textiles.

Dean David Chaney posing with a textile machineDean David Chaney posing with a textile machine
1967 Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science

Shortly after David Chaney became dean, the Board of Governors and UNC administration granted approval to create a doctoral program in Fiber and Polymer Science. It was the first doctoral program at a school of textiles in the southeast and the first fiber and polymer science program in the country. The name was meant to include more than chemistry and to unite all aspects of textiles, engineering, and many other disciplines. The program included faculty from the ... More

1968 Textiles Extension established

Textiles extension short courses in Charlotte and New York were announced in 1968, and they were exceedingly popular. The New York course on knitting fundamentals was oversubscribed by nearly 300%. In 1969 thirteen added courses were offered in Raleigh, featuring NC state faculty and in-plant industry executives from mills as guest lecturers. Over time, textiles extension programs have evolved to meet the needs of the industry.

1969 Vincent Fang awarded a Master of Science Degree

Vincent Fang was awarded a Master of Science degree. He had previously earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He later started the first knitting operation in Hong Kong.


5/15/1971 First Ph.D. in Textiles

Joel L. Williams was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Fiber and Polymer Science. This was the first Ph.D. awarded in the NC State's College of Textiles.

1973 Byssinosis research

For many years prior to studies in the 1970s, textile mill workers exhibited lung damage symptoms similar to those of coal minors. The condition was diagnosed as byssinosis, a pulmonary disease associated with inhalation of cotton processing dust. Beginning in 1973, research to help solve this problem became the largest integrated research program in the School of Textiles. This research led to measurable reductions in airborne lint and finer particulates, and to ... More

1977 Textile Design program

A new Textile Design program was created jointly by the School of Design and the School of Textiles at NC State. Students received basic design fundamentals in the School of Design and were then able to apply this knowledge in textile-oriented design classes. R. Alan Donaldson, a graduate of the Scottish Textile School and former employee of Guilford of Maine's New York, was the first professor in the program.

1977 Apparel curriculum

The School of Textiles added an apparel manufacturing option to its curriculum starting in September 1977. In addition, the newly organized Department of Textile Materials and Management offered a degree in textile management. A cooperative venture was planned with the Fashion Institute of New York and the Southern Technical Institute, a division of Georgia Tech.


1980 Developments in technology lead to changes in curriculum

As technology changed, so did the curriculum for the College of Textiles. In 1980, military science was dropped from the curriculum and courses were added in fiber-forming polymers, a year-long course in physical chemistry, and a course in computer science.

1981 Dame Hamby becomes Dean

Dame Hamby became Dean of the School of Textiles, and served in this position until 1987. Hamby had served the college in many capacities and led the fight to obtain renovated or new facilities through relationships with industrial contacts and the legislature.

1983 Library expansion

The Burlington Textile Library was renovated and expanded into extra space in Nelson Hall. The additional space included room for more book stacks, videotape review stations, and later, a few personal computers for student use.

Students in textiles libraryStudents in textiles library
1986 Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering

The Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering was approved by the Curriculum Committee and the Provost in the spring of 1986. The first courses were taught by David Buchanan and Perry Grady.

1987 Schools become Colleges

Eight of the university's academic schools are redesignated as colleges.

1987 Robert A. Barnhardt becomes Dean

Robert A. Barnhardt became Dean of the College of Textiles, and served in this position until 1999. Barnhardt was influential in developing plans for the College of Textiles to move to new facilities on Centennial Campus.

Dean Robert A. Barnhardt portraitDean Robert A. Barnhardt portrait
1988 Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science (TECS) Department

The Textile Engineering and Science (TES) Department, headed by Solomon P. Hersh from 1985, was incorporated into the Textile Chemistry Department. The combination was renamed Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science (TECS) to reflect the recent creation of the Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering degree program.

May 17, 1988 Groundbreaking on Centennial Campus Textiles building

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 17, 1988, with Dean Robert Barnhardt, Chancellor Bruce Poulton, Dean Emeritus Dame Hamby, and other campus leaders. Construction began on May 24, 1988 and was completed in 1991.

Aerial view of the College of Textiles on Centennial CampusAerial view of the College of Textiles on Centennial Campus


1991 New College of Textiles Building

The new College of Textiles building on Centennial Campus opened its doors in 1991. The new building included computer facilities, heavy machinery processing laboratories, classrooms, meeting spaces, administrative offices, and the Burlington Textiles Library, and represented an approximate 50% increase in net usable space over the Nelson and David Clark Laboratory facilities.

College of Textiles on Centennial CampusCollege of Textiles on Centennial Campus
1991 Burlington Textile Library on Centennial Campus

In conjunction with the move of the College of Textiles, the Burlington Textile Library moved to Centennial Campus, making it the first library unit on the new campus. It remained in the College of Textiles complex until December 2012, when the collections were moved into the Hunt Library.

Inside Textiles Library at Centennial CampusInside Textiles Library at Centennial Campus
1991 Ph.D. Program in Textile Technology Management

A new Ph.D. program in Textile Technology Management was created in 1991, to fill the need to better prepare managers of the future who will be required to manage increasingly more complex technical operations. The first graduate was Jin-Feng Wang in 1993.

1992 Pyro-Man

Pyro-Man (or PyroMan), a fully instrumented life-sized manikin, is used for the first time to evaluate the performance of thermal protective clothing. Pyro-Man is one of two computer-interfaced mannequins used by the Center for Research on Textile Protection and Comfort to test the viability of flame-resistant fabrics. Pyro-Man consists of a flame-resistant black composite body covered with 122 heat sensors, allowing the computer to plot the projected location and ... More

Thermo Man or PyroManThermo Man or PyroMan
1993 M.S. Degree in Textile Engineering

A new Master of Science degree in Textile Engineering was created in 1993. New courses were developed to teach the engineering design aspects of yarn spinning, fabric formation, instrumentation, and quality management. The first graduates were James Christopher Love and Benjamin Robert Martin in 1995.

1999 David Buchanan became Interim Dean


2000 A. Blanton Godfrey becomes Dean

A. Blanton Godfrey became Dean of the College of Textiles in 2000, and served in this position until 2014.

2001 College of Textiles History

Gary Mock wrote A Century of Progress: The Textile Program, North Carolina State University, 1899-1999. A print edition exists in the library.

2001 Art2Wear

The Art2Wear student-organized runway show debuted in 2001. The event presents fashion, costume and wearable sculpture created by the students of the College of Design and the College of Textiles at NC State University. This annual event is organized and hosted by the College of Design’s Art + Design department in partnership with the College of Textiles to display juried examples of student work each Spring.


5/2010 First woman appointed full professor in College of Textiles

Cynthia Istook became the first woman appointed full professor in the College of Textiles.

1 July 2014 David Hinks became Interim Dean
1 January 2016 David Hinks named dean

David Hinks is named dean of the College of Textiles after serving as its interim leader since 2014.

2018 College of Textiles becomes Wilson College of Textiles

NC State receives a $28 million gift from alumnus Fred Wilson Jr. and his family to fund an endowment to support and name NC State’s College of Textiles

1/11/2018 VF Corporation partnership

The university announced a partnership between the College of Textiles, the Poole College of Management, and the VF Corporation to support student development and advance apparel and textiles innovation.