John Atkins describes how the fight to keep the name "NC State" from becoming "UNC-Raleigh" drew him into the race for the student body presidency. And he recalls meeting with Governor Terry Sanford to discuss the issue. Interview on June 14, 2011. (2:26)


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I tell you what happened is 00:00:00 - 00:00:04
there was a movement afoot that went across several years to change the name of North Carolina State, 00:00:05 - 00:00:10
which was North Carolina State College, to the University of North Carolina at Raleigh, 00:00:11 - 00:00:16
and this was just a foreign proposition. 00:00:17 - 00:00:22
I got caught up in that as a student senator and felt very strongly about it, 00:00:23 - 00:00:29
in fact I had bumper stickers made that just said "Save NC State" 00:00:30 - 00:00:36
so it was going to be UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Asheville, and it was going to be UNC-Raleigh. 00:00:37 - 00:00:44
We were known as North Carolina State, State College, 00:00:45 - 00:00:49
so we're going to take this brand and we're going to make it the University of North Carolina at Raleigh? 00:00:50 - 00:00:55
So it was very emotional, 00:00:56 - 00:01:00
and so I decided to run for student body president because I wanted to do everything I could to do my part, 00:01:01 - 00:01:05
to make sure that we didn't lose the identity of North Carolina State. 00:01:06 - 00:01:11
So in doing that I visited with Governor Sanford numerous times 00:01:12 - 00:01:16
and that was obviously, because of the connection I made earlier, very easy to do. 00:01:17 - 00:01:21
In fact I'd go down and meet with him. This was a different day. He'd send a limousine out, he'd pick me up, 00:01:22 - 00:01:27
I'd be driven to the mansion, we'd eat a sandwich, 00:01:28 - 00:01:31
I'd be treated extremely well, more so than any student would ever think you'd be treated, 00:01:32 - 00:01:35
and we'd sit there and have a great conversation almost about nothing, what was going on and so forth, 00:01:36 - 00:01:40
and then he'd look at me and he'd say, "I'll tell you what I want you to do." 00:01:41 - 00:01:44
He said, "I want you to go back out to that campus and I want you to tell them you came down here and you told me we weren't going to put up with this name change, 00:01:45 - 00:01:52
and that you stood right up to me," and he said, "You tell them as strongly as you want to tell them," 00:01:53 - 00:01:58
and then he said, "Now there's the car. It'll take you on back." And of course 00:01:59 - 00:02:03
university general administration finally realized there were more important things to go worry with 00:02:04 - 00:02:07
than to try to fight a battle of changing this distinguished university's name and the brand that it had established. 00:02:08 - 00:02:14
So we're North Carolina State today. 00:02:15 - 00:02:19

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