Batemans’ gift lowers barriers for disabled

The Batemans in a golf cart

“Anything we can do to help make sure there are less barriers for people to have the experience we had at NC State – it’s helped us tremendously in our career paths,” said Neal Bateman.

Ashley and Neal togetherFor Neal ‘98 and Ashley ‘98 Bateman, lowering barriers to the NC State experience came in the form of a generous endowment to the NC State Wolfpack Pick Up program. Started in 2014 by now NC State alumna Paige Maxon, the Wolfpack Pick Up program embodies the ideals of NC State’s Think and Do mentality by solving a problem facing those with limited mobility: How best to get around campus.

Using a fleet of golf carts, the program allows a student, faculty, staff, or community member with limited mobility to schedule door-to-door transportation to most locations on campus— all free of charge. The Batemans’ gift comes at a perfect time as the program completes its 10,000th ride since launch.

“NC State did a great job helping identify the perfect way for us to give back,” said Neal.

For most alumni, the decision to give back is an easy one but how exactly to give back becomes a personal journey and the Batemans were no exception. It was the memory of a personal struggle for Ashley that spurred their decision to give to the Wolfpack Pick Up program.

“Make sure you find something that speaks to you. An area you definitely want to get involved in,” said Ashley.

The Batemans reside in Georgia but, during our video call, their fond memories of NC State brought them back to North Carolina. “The people we met our first year, living on campus, we’re still in contact with them. They are our life-long friends,” said Ashley, “It just really laid a strong foundation for us.”

The Batemans relished their time at the university and a chance visit to an NC State Alumni Association gathering in Atlanta, which included a meet-and-greet with Chancellor Randy Woodson, spurred their interest to do more than reconnect. They wanted to give.

“I think we always wanted to be involved but we just didn’t know how,” said Ashley, as Neal continued, “We checked the card ‘would you like to hear more.’”

Ashley and Neal outside former Harrelson Hall

As the couple talked with university officials about how best to give, it dawned on Ashley this was an opportunity to turn a negative moment in her life into a positive one.  Eight years ago, a spinal cord defect left Ashley disabled and limited her mobility. As the couple were trying to decide where they should give, the memory of her surgery and the resulting limited mobility surfaced and Ashley immediately asked about mobility solutions on campus.

“I just don’t know how I would have done all of this on my crutches and in my wheelchair,” said Ashley. “It was a no-brainer that this was what we wanted to do.”

A visit to campus and ride along with staff coordinator Colin Beamer was all the final confirmation the Batemans needed.

“Without the Batemans’ support we really don’t think we could accomplish the goals we’re going to set out for the next four or five years,” said Beamer, “So, we’re particularly grateful to Neal and Ashley for their belief in our program and the way we can carry yourself forward.”

Beamer says the Batemans’ endowment will fill the gaps in their day-to-day operations, provide much needed tune-ups for the golf carts, and allow them to grow their fleet to expand on main and Centennial campuses.

As in-house counsel for a university in Georgia, Neal says he knows first hand the importance of giving, “I know how much private donations really help drive the future initiatives and lay the groundwork for universities to have the flexibility, along with good leadership, to really keep a university vital, strong, and successful,” he said, “”We are extremely excited for this opportunity and hope we can contribute more in the future.”

“We’re spreading the NC State love in SEC country!” said Ashley.

Learn more about the Wolf Pack Pickup Program or watch the Batemans tell their story here:

How To Give

As an alum, parent, or supporter of NC State, you are integral to our long-term commitment to student success. Tuition and fees fund only a portion of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ programs and services. By supporting the division, you are impacting the lives of students by giving them the freedom to explore their passions while pursuing an exceptional academic experience.

Endowment

Endowments are the bedrock of all strong programs because they provide certain, steady support in perpetuity – becoming a living legacy. Endowment gifts may be pledged over a number of years and funded through cash or planned gifts. The funding may support a specific department or program of your choosing as a whole, or may be tailored to support specific initiatives within the department or program.

Scholarship

Merit and need-based scholarships, as well as travel awards, may be established with a focus on supporting individual students in select departments and programs.

Annual Support

Gifts of all sizes make a difference. The Student Success Fund provides the program with unrestricted support, thereby allowing the program to respond to their greatest needs. To learn more about the Wolf Pack Pickup Program, Student Success Fund and other initiatives please contact us here: https://giving.dasa.ncsu.edu/our-team/ or Give Today