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A Sign-Off Full of NC State Spirit

Benny Suggs '69 to retire after over a decade of leading the Alumni Association.

Alumni Association Executive Director Benny Suggs ’69 — who became known at alumni gatherings and university events for a “Go PACK!” that sounds more like a command than a cheer — will retire later this year after nearly a dozen years in the job.

“Benny Suggs has made a huge impact on NC State,” says Chancellor Randy Woodson. “Under his leadership, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Alumni Association members, and the finances of the organization are in much stronger shape than when he came.”

Benny Suggs has made a huge impact on NC State. —Chancellor Randy Woodson

A native of Columbus County, Suggs enrolled at NC State as the first in his family to go to college. After majoring in psychology, he was selected for flight training in the U.S. Navy and flew attack and fighter jets off multiple aircraft carriers. He commanded Attack Squadron 55, the supply ship USS San Diego, the aircraft carrier USS America, Carrier Group Six and Battle Force Fifth Fleet. In 2000, he retired from the Navy as deputy commander in chief of U.S. Special Operations Command as a rear admiral. Suggs then moved to the corporate world as a senior executive with Harley-Davidson where he led the Harley Owners Group with 1.2 million members worldwide.

Suggs returned to NC State in 2010 to lead the Alumni Association. Under his tenure, life memberships have quadrupled, support for the Caldwell Fellows has increased, and the organization has won numerous awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

“I love Benny, and what a difference he has made for us Wolfpackers,” says Perry Safran ’71, past president of the Alumni Association and a current member of the Board of Trustees. “Benny has one speed: Fast and fast, whether it is in the air, on the ground or with the Alumni Association. We are all better off because of Benny and his incredible service.”

Woodson added that he will miss being introduced by Suggs. “He always called me the Alpha wolf,” Woodson says. “We’ll certainly miss his passion. No one has more NC State spirit than Benny Suggs.”

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