Former PAMS Dean Passes Away at 88
Garrett Briggs, the second dean of the former College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS), which transitioned to the College of Sciences in 2013, passed away on his 88th birthday, Dec. 31, 2022.
Briggs served as the dean of PAMS from 1981-1988 and established the PAMS Foundation — now known as the College of Sciences Foundation — during his tenure. The purpose of the foundation is to support the college’s educational, research and service programs. Its Board of Directors supports the college through personal advocacy and securing private funding for priority programs.
Prior to joining NC State, Briggs — a geologist by training — held faculty and leadership positions at Tulane University and the University of Tennessee. At both institutions, he conducted research and served as a consultant for the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the Tennessee Division of Geology and the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers in New Orleans.
After leaving NC State in 1988, Briggs went on to serve as president of William Peace University (WPU) until his retirement in 1998. Under his leadership, WPU made the pivot from a two-year women’s college to a four-year institution and its endowment nearly doubled.
Outside of work, Briggs was involved in numerous church and community organizations. He held leadership positions in the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities Risk Management Inc., the Raleigh Salvation Army, the Rotary Club of Raleigh, Shaw University and the Watauga Club. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Research Triangle Institute, as well as a fellow of the Geological Society of America.
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Briggs earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Methodist University. He earned his doctorate in geology from the University of Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife, Sue, along with their four children and their families.