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Excellent Read: AJC Story On Steve Zelnak, GT Alum With An N.C. State Connection

September 23, 2010
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AJC: Steve Zelnak: Tech’s No. 1 fan in Raleigh

If you’re a student or alum of N.C. State’s College of Management, you may already know who Steve Zelnak is. He currently serves on the COM’s advisory board. Eleven weeks out of this football season, he’ll be cheering the Wolfpack on.

What you may not know is that he’s a Georgia Tech graduate and a huge Tech fan, so when State faces off against the Jackets Saturday he’ll be there in Atlanta cheering for his alma mater, not the Pack.

If you think a COM advisory board member’s rooting for the Jackets is cause to draw your ire, slow your roll for a sec and read this from the piece. You may change your tune:

Along the way, he became partial to N.C. State.

“We’ve got some fine universities up here,” Zelnak said. “We wanted some connection with at least one. N.C. State was the most like Tech. They have engineering, they’re hard-working kids. Tech students tend to come from hard-working backgrounds. They don’t come from elitist backgrounds.

“I think if you look at Duke and [North] Carolina, they get kids who come from more monied backgrounds. Certainly, they’re very highly academically qualified. I’m just partial to people who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and working hard.”

To that end, the Zelnaks sponsor a professorship in N.C. State’s college of management, where he is on the advisory board. He’s also on the Board of Visitors.

Hard to hate on a self-made multi-millionaire who sees first-hand that hard work and humble upbringings typically separate State students from their UNC and Duke counterparts, and appreciates them for it.

Mr. Zelnak, though I sincerely hope your Jackets fall to the Pack this weekend, thanks for making yourself a part of the extended N.C. State family.

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