Robert “Bob” Wiggins ‘52, ’65 M, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the Wilson College of Textiles during the NC State Alumni Association’s annual Evening of Stars Gala held Nov. 3. Recipients of this award have excelled in their careers, made a difference in their communities and given back to their alma mater. Wiggins is being recognized specifically for his outstanding contributions to the textile industry.
“Bob has been a unique and impactful leader who has advanced the U.S. textiles industry in at least three ways: as a professor in the (then) School of Textiles at NC State University; as a successful innovator, entrepreneur and executive of a textile company; and as one of the strongest philanthropic supporters that the Wilson College of Textiles has ever had in its storied 118-year history,” said David Hinks, dean of the College. “Part of his success is surely due to his commitment to service leadership and wonderfully warm personality. He sincerely cared about the success of his students, many of whom went on to become successful textiles leaders themselves, as well as his business partners and clients. The Wilson College of Textiles is honored and proud to count him as one of our treasured alumni.”
As executive vice president and director of business development at Capital Management in Greensboro, N.C., Wiggins focuses on developing strategic alliances and building awareness with prospective clients. Though he spent the bulk of his career working in the textile industry, he was an NC State Wilson College of Textiles professor from 1956 to 1965, during which time he was instrumental in supporting the creation of the Textile Engineering degree program. He served as a mentor to many students, and was twice named “Teacher of the Year” during his tenure. He was also named “Textile Leader of the Year” by the college’s Kappa Tau Beta Textiles Leadership Fraternity and the Phi Psi Professional Textile Fraternity.
As an experienced industry professional, Bob held executive positions at Madison Throwing Company, Macfield, Inc., Pioneer Yarn Mills and Frontier Spinning Mills. He maintained his close connection to the Wilson College of Textiles by serving on the North Carolina Textile Foundation board of directors, and as chairman of the organization’s scholarship committee. In addition to his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Textile Management and Textile Technology, Wiggins graduated from the Executive Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wiggins lives in Greensboro, N.C., where he is a member of the First Baptist Church. He and his late wife, Mable Ann, raised two children and have five grandchildren, two of whom are currently enrolled at NC State.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by a place I’ve been associated with my whole adult life. It’s meant so much to me. I owe a lot to NC State. It certainly gave me a great education and prepared me well. After having been a student and a faculty member, it really prepared me to get back into industry and to get and keep good jobs,” he said.