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Honors and Awards

Nancy Webster ’75 Honored with the CASE District III Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award

This month, Nancy Webster, a 1975 textile technology graduate, was recognized for her lifelong commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism

Nancy Webster speaks at the CASE District III Conference

Built upon a strong connection to the Wilson College of Textiles that began when she stepped foot onto NC State’s campus in 1971, Nancy Webster’s lifelong commitment and contributions to her alma mater are nothing short of exemplary.

In honor of the remarkable legacy she has created as a seasoned service leader, Webster was named the recipient of the 2024 Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III. 

“I am honored to be recognized in this way,” Webster says, animatedly. “My involvement with the Wilson College of Textiles was predicated upon strong personal relationships, trust, integrity and honesty. I believe life’s journey is all about relationships, empathy and enriching the lives of others. At this time in my life, I enjoy being able to do that by giving my time, talents and treasure to the institution that has given me so much.”

The prestigious award Webster received was established in 2015 in memory of Bill Franklin, an engaged CASE volunteer who was committed to educating others about the power of volunteerism and philanthropy. Webster’s passion for giving back mirrors Franklin’s dedication. 

“Her lifelong dedication to our college, passion for mentoring the next generation of textile leaders, vital service on the North Carolina Textile Foundation Board of Directors and outstanding professional achievements make Nancy the epitome of an enthusiastic volunteer.”

— David Hinks, Ph.D.
Dean, Wilson College of Textiles

Nancy Webster’s 2024 Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award was presented by NC State’s Chancellor Randy Woodson. Also pictured: CASE District III Conference co-chair Erica Arroyo.
The Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Nancy Webster on Feb. 5, 2024, during the CASE District III Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“The Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes those who selflessly dedicate their time and resources to advance an institution,” says David Hinks, dean of the Wilson College of Textiles. “This award to Nancy is so well-earned. Her decades of voluntary service to our college and its students and alumni have helped us achieve excellence. Her dedication to Wilson College will enable us to continue a trajectory of excellence into the future.”

Leading in the boardroom while prioritizing her passion

Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in textile technology from the Wilson College and an associate’s degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Webster has led an illustrious career in textiles spanning more than 40 years.

Her influence has benefited prominent corporations, including Target, Springs Global, Thomasville Furniture and Fieldcrest Cannon, where she held key leadership positions. Today, as the CEO of Nancy Webster, LLC, she continues to make a significant impact, having been ranked the third most influential person in home fashion and design in 2004 — part of an esteemed group that included Philippe Starck and Martha Stewart — by Home Furnishing News.

“You may wonder how I personally became so passionate as a volunteer and donor for the initiatives at NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles,” Webster asked the audience when accepting her award on Feb. 5, 2024, during the CASE District III Conference in Orlando, Florida. “Why did I continue to interface with the college during my career? And why do I still feel compelled to be involved?”

Now and then: Nancy Webster is a proud 1975 graduate of the Wilson College of Textiles.

Two central themes made her decision to stay connected to her alma mater a simple one:

  • Her education at the Wilson College provided her with a foundation grounded in science combined with art and strengthened with management skills. That unique blend differentiated Webster from the competition when it came to career advancement. 
  • The lifelong, intimate connection — which sparked the Wilson for Life initiative — that exists at the college between students and faculty continues after graduation and extends to a network that includes alumni, industry partners and donors. 

For these reasons and many more, Webster has remained deeply involved with the Wilson College for nearly 50 years. 

Despite her demanding schedule, she worked tirelessly as a professor of practice and advisory board member for the college’s Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, helping to launch the popular fashion and textile design degree program. Webster’s devotion to the Wilson College also pushed her to serve for eight years on the board of directors for the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF), which is the college’s philanthropic arm and administers more than 140 life-changing scholarships each year. Today, she serves as president of the NCTF Board of Directors — an independent board of 17 directors that works closely with Dean Hinks to seek individual, corporate and foundation gifts. 

As the executive director of the NCTF, Michael Ward has had a firsthand look at Webster’s incredible work.

“Time and time again, I’ve seen Nancy back up her words with actions. Her philanthropic contributions and pledges continue to underscore her unwavering commitment to the next generation of textile leaders,” Ward says. “Nancy’s impact aligns seamlessly with the mission of the North Carolina Textile Foundation: philanthropy, partnership and engagement. For over 40 years, she has exemplified integrity, trust, inclusivity, collaboration and authenticity through her exceptional service to our Wilson College of Textiles community.”

Empowering future leaders through a legacy of giving and mentorship

At the heart of Webster’s personal mission lies a steadfast commitment to investing in the next generation of textile leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers and professionals.

Her philanthropic contributions have been substantial and include spearheading a campaign to increase donations to the Centennial Scholarship Program, which provides students access to transformative educational experiences. Her significant financial support extends to the Webster-Kametches Endowed Centennial Scholarship and the Webster-Kametches Centennial Student Enrichment Endowment. 

Nancy Webster and her scholarship recipient
Nancy Webster ’75 stands alongside Andrew Sarnowski, the recipient of her Webster-Kametches Endowed Centennial Scholarship, at the college’s 2022 Scholars Advance Luncheon.

“Being a Centennial Scholar has impacted my college experience because now, I have access to a tight-knit, like-minded group of individuals who all want to be pioneers in the textile industry,” says Andrew Sarnowski, recipient of the Webster-Kametches Endowed Centennial Scholarship. “I am thankful that Ms. Webster’s generous scholarship will also allow me to learn about the impact of the textile industry on other cultures and in other places around the world.” 

Beyond financial contributions, Webster actively mentors the next generation of textile leaders through the Blend Mentorship Program. Recognized as the Distinguished Alumna of the Year in 2014 by the NC State Alumni Association, she truly embodies selfless dedication to education and service. 

“Nancy’s service and support will enable the Wilson College to transform lives for generations to come, and that’s inspiring,” says Dean Hinks. “Her enduring legacy is her remarkable leadership, commitment to fostering excellence in education and passion for selfless volunteerism.”

Nancy Webster ’75, honored recipient of the Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award, pictured alongside Dean David Hinks and dedicated members of the North Carolina Textile Foundation and NC State Alumni Association. From left to right: Michael Ward, Donna Grant, Latasia Priest, Nancy Webster, David Hinks, Carly Dressen, Kam Heslop and Jonathan Hernández.