President Obama Makes a Second Trip to N.C. State in Two Years to Announce The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute 

Aaron Thomas | Staff Writer

President Barack Obama made his way back to N.C. State this past Wednesday to discuss the major role the University would play in an effort to stimulate the economy. When Student Body President, Alex Parker made the announcement that there was an allotment of only 500 tickets available for students to hear the president speak, many waited in line for hours, only to be left empty-handed.

This however, was not the case for NCSU upperclassmen De’Kia Battle and Tiffany Johnson. Both Battle, a senior in business administration and Johnson, a junior double majoring in communication and political science, managed to get one of the coveted tickets. This would be second time that the two saw President Obama live at N.C. State.

“Many people haven’t had the experience to see a sitting president twice,” said Battle. “ [To be able to do so] was an excellent opportunity.” Johnson described her experience of being in the same room as the president twice during two terms as “unbelievable.”

For Battle, the second opportunity also allowed her to become more engaged in what the president was speaking about. “I’ve learned more about how certain issues affect me as an American,” she said.

Wednesday’s speech was much different than Obama’s speech during his first visit to campus. During the 2011 speech in Reynolds Coliseum, he highlighted the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.  This go-round the President announced a $140 million electronic manufacturing initiative that will be headquartered by N.C. State.

Participants in Wednesday’s crowd listened attentively to Obama as he described the new initiative, and how the technology would help improve energy-efficiency. Obama also placed emphasis on the economic gains the initiative will bring to NCSU as well as the Triangle. A key point in his speech was building a stronger middle class. Focusing on what he believes has to be a “Year of Action,” President Obama said he was acting without Congress on WBG technology because it will help create jobs.

Battle said she is hopeful that it will add to a thriving economy as she prepares for graduate school. “My expectation is to see more jobs here in the United States instead of [them] being outsourced overseas.”

Though both students are thankful to have seen President Obama twice while at N.C. State, they agree that this time was a bit more special. “I feel like the second experience was in a closer setting, it felt more sentimental,” Johnson said. “You felt like he was speaking to you personally.”

According to the Technician, N.C. State will work alongside four universities and 18 companies. Battle thinks that this shows just how great N.C. State is. “For President Obama to choose the University as a candidate for the manufacturing initiative, it speaks volumes to the impact it has,” said Battle.  “N.C. State is one of the best universities in the country. Students that are enrolling at the University are coming out willing to drive the workforce. We are the next generation.”

Check out the gallery below for more photos from President Obama’s visit!