Associate Dean – Academic Affairs Emeritus, Textiles NC State University
Charles D. “Charlie” Livengood 1935 –
Years of Service NCSU Textiles 1958 – 2001
Charles Dwaine “Charlie” Livengood was born in the Fork Church Community, Davie County, North Carolina to James Livengood and Ruth Jones Livengood. He was educated in the public schools and graduated from Churchland High School near Lexington, NC. He enrolled in the School of Textiles at NC State after receiving an Erlanger Mills scholarship. Charlie majored in Textile Chemistry and graduated in 1958 just as applied research was growing in importance at the school. Department head Hank Rutherford asked him to join the research effort while working toward a Master’s degree. Projects involved evaluating new warp size materials that would bond with the new synthetic fibers also being evaluated by the school. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and blends of polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PES) were among the polymers evaluated. The testing instrument (called a Warp Shed Tester) they used was not working as well as predicted and Professor Clarence M. Asbill was asked to make recommendations. His excellent engineering skills led to modifications that helped the project speed along successfully. Dan River Mills teamed with chemical companies in supporting water pollution research, with the goal of alleviating the harmful discharges into the Dan River. Charlie received the M.S. in Textile Chemistry in 1967. (1)
The opportunity to teach came during the year Professor Arthur C. “Pop” Hayes accepted a Fulbright to study in Spain. Charlie and Dick Berrier, another graduate research assistant jointly shared the teaching load. For Berrier, it was not his cup of tea and he soon joined Hercules to work on their CMC size product. Charlie was hooked on teaching and with no Ph.D. program in the school, he and Mendel L. Robinson enrolled in doctoral studies in the N C State School of Education. Charlie received his D.Ed. in 1972 and began assuming more and more administrative duties as Hank Rutherford neared retirement in 1974. (1) The new department head was an industrial chemist whose most recent assignment was at Burlington Industries. Wilson Monroe “Bud” Whaley arrived in 1975 and promptly named Charlie as his assistant head as a 20% assignment. Charlie took over undergraduate and graduate course scheduling. His teaching improved and he was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award for the college for 1972 – 73, again in 1975 – 76 and later was twice named University Alumni Distinguished Professor for 1975 – 76 and for a three year term 1978 – 81, the only person ever named twice. (1, 2)
In the summer of 1985, Bud Whaley announced his retirement from administration with the intent of returning to teach and guide graduate students’ research in dye chemistry. During that summer, he and his wife decided the good life did not include any type of work at all. He would not return to campus. Bud wrote a letter stating this to his graduate students and copied Charlie and the administration. However, one student received a letter before Charlie even knew. She came to the departmental office in tears with the letter in hand. Who was going to guide her new research project, one she had just started at the beginning of the summer? No amount of pleading would convince Bud to return and Charlie found he had several new students and was guiding research in dye chemistry. Fortunately a friend, Dr. Lou Jones in Chemistry, knew a thing or two about organic chemistry and an excellent organic chemist, Dr. Harold Freeman was a new member of the textile chemistry faculty. Between them, the problems were alleviated and the students graduated after completing the work. An interesting aside: both Bud and Harold were pharmaceutical chemists who became dye chemists, and before them, the Department Head before Hank Rutherford, Albert Grimshaw, had also started out as a pharmaceutical chemist! (1, 2)
With the announcement of Dr. Whaley’s stepping down as Department Head, Charlie was appointed as Head of Textile Chemistry and shortly thereafter Gary N. Mock was named as his assistant. After a short time, Dean Dame S. Hamby retired and Dr. Robert A. “Bob” Barnhardt became Dean of Textiles (Charlie was the other finalist for the position). Reorganization and a move to a new building on Centennial Campus kept everyone busy. During the construction of the new building, the three departments, Textile Chemistry, Textile Technology, and Textile and Apparel Management were merged into two departments. Charlie would head the new Textile Engineering Chemistry and Science Department. Gordon A. Berkstresser would head the new Textile and Apparel Technology and Management Department. Those who study the strange layouts of the departmental offices will see that three intended offices were carved up to accommodate two main offices with joint sharing of a central conference room. (1, 2)
Charles D. Livengood
Academics Affairs Emeritus
Photo Courtesy Gary W. Smith
Charlie continued as head of department until yet another reorganization of the student services area called for new ideas and a new Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Charlie stepped in and managed the new arrangements from 1994 until retirement in 2001.
When he retired, Charlie and Mary worked with the North Carolina Textile Foundation to establish the “Charles and Mary Livengood Teaching/Learning Endowment” to support the Textiles Library. Also, the Textile College/Textile Foundation established a graduate fellowship in his name.
Charlie married Mary Bryant Livengood and has two daughters, Melissa Circelli and Jill Liles, and three grandchildren, Ryan, Robyn and Ricky Circelli.
Formed a Polymer Chemistry Concentration within Textile Chemistry the first in the university and the second in the UNC system (Dental School at UNCCH also had a polymer program.)
Reorganized the Office of Academic Affairs for the College of Textiles.
- Sigma Xi
- Delta Kappa Phi professional textile fraternity
- Council of Retired University Deans (CRUDs)
- Personal communication, Charles D. Livengood, April 2012.
- Mock, Gary N., A Century of Progress: The Textile Program North Carolina State University 18991999, North Carolina Textile Foundation, Raleigh, 2001.