I was reminded last week that January 9th is a significant date for the state of North Carolina. That is the day back in 1959 where, during a formal luncheon with members of The Research Triangle Committee, Archie K. Davis announced he had raised $1.425 million (equivalent to $998.783 million today) from across the state; in essence, making the dream and vision of The Research Triangle Park a reality. These contributions paid for the land, launched the Research Triangle Institute and passed control of The Research Triangle Park to its non-profit steward and developer, the Research Triangle Foundation.
In 1958 Archie — Associated with Wachovia Bank at the time, was asked by Governor Luther Hodges to assist in raising the crucial funds to initiate the science park. Recognizing the success of the Research Triangle would be extremely important for North Carolina’s future economic direction, he agreed on the basis that the endeavor be designed for public service rather than for private gain. By doing so, he was able to appeal to corporations, institutions and private investors interested in serving the State. As a result, one of the most successful public/private partnerships was born.
The vision and commitment of pioneering such a big idea obviously required passion, dedication and perseverance. Initiated in 1956 it took years to see its fruition. But there would have been no success without the monies raised by Archie Davis. He called on people across our state at a time when our economic forecast was not optimistic. He appealed to their sense of public service and generosity for a simple purpose: to make North Carolina a better place to live and work (by providing a generator for economic growth). By raising the money to facilitate the RTP vision, Archie created the turning point of the idea – from vision to reality.
More than 50 years later the Research Triangle Foundation remains focused on continuing that legacy and commitment began by Archie K. Davis, Robert M. Hanes, Governor Luther Hodges and other members of that original founding committee. Recognizing we, as stewards of the RTP, have a responsibility to the people of North Carolina to continue to ensure the Research Triangle Park remains a strong influencer and contributor to the state’s economic growth and stability, the Foundation is reassessing and redeveloping areas of the Park to ensure it remains strong, vital and relevant going forward. And as Archie realized in 1958, gaining the support of business and community leaders will be pivotal once again in attaining those goals…
Representing another important turning point in the RTP legacy.