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Statistics Alumna Makes Pledge to Create Professorships, Scholarships

Statistics alumna Nancy Ridenhour in the commons area in Cox Hall with students working in the background

Statistics alumna Nancy Ridenhour has spent most of her life dealing with numbers and assessing risk. When it came time to decide how to direct her estate, she knew NC State was a sure bet.

“After I left NC State, it didn’t take me long to figure out the true cost of an education,” she said. Once she took into account all the personnel and administrative costs that go into educating each student, she realized the importance of private gifts in supplementing the taxpayer funding the university receives.

“I recognized that a whole lot of people helped with my education,” Ridenhour said.

Ridenhour decided to be one of those people for future students by making a substantial planned gift to the College of Sciences and the Park Scholarships and Caldwell Fellows programs. The gift will include funding for professorships, scholarships and experiential learning opportunities like study abroad.

A native of Kannapolis, N.C., Ridenhour received her bachelor’s degree in statistics from NC State in 1976. Her statistics education helped develop her analytical perspective. “I can look at a situation and think of all the possibilities and determine what is probably the best way to handle it,” she said. “My studies prepared me for my career, and they prepared me for life as well.”

She spent the next 17 years in the textile, financial and computer consulting industries before going into business for herself as an independent business technology analyst.

She is now retired from her industry career, but not from her service to NC State. Ridenhour has served on volunteer leadership boards in the college, as well as on the board of the NC State Alumni Association and on the Park Scholars Selection Committee. She received the college’s 2008 Zenith Medal for Service.

Why is it so important to Ridenhour to give of her time to NC State? “I learn a lot from everyone I interact with,” she said. “It’s interesting to me to see what’s going on and how things are changing.”

She remembers her time at NC State fondly and hopes that students will relish their time on campus and make the most of their opportunities. “If I could relive anything, it would be those four years,” she said.

But Ridenhour is also looking to the future and hoping her gift will help drive NC State’s progress. “The movement forward I see here is exciting,” she said. “You have to keep moving, changing and progressing to keep up with the world.”

Ridenhour’s gift commitment was made as part of NC State’s $1.6 billion Think and Do the Extraordinary campaign. As of November, the college had raised $50.3 million, or 84 percent, of its $60 million campaign goal. The campaign ends on Dec. 31, 2021.