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Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Administration Rick Liston to Retire Later This Year

Liston is set to retire effective Nov. 30, 2022, marking more than 30 years of service with the university.

An exterior of the Talley Student union in the late afternoon. Photo by Marc Hall

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Administration Rick Liston will be retiring effective Nov. 30, 2022, marking more than 30 years of exemplary service with NC State University. 

“Rick’s decades of dedication to NC State are something we should all be thankful for,” says Mladen Vouk, vice chancellor of research and innovation. “His hard work and leadership throughout the years have been instrumental in keeping NC State’s research enterprise successful, and helped a number of the university’s processes — across financial, student and research administration — successfully undergo a digital transformation.”

Some of Liston’s most notable achievements during his career at NC State include working on NC State’s transition from paper to online student admissions; helping launch the Graduate Student Support Plan, which made the university more competitive in attracting graduate research and teaching assistants; serving as project manager for the implementation of the PeopleSoft “Student Information System;” and more recently, bootstrapping the development of NC State’s new Research Enterprise Data (RED) system.

“I’ve been fortunate enough, through partnering with a lot of people, to be part of what I think are some fairly big successes at the university,” Liston says. “It’s been a really great career — there weren’t many days I can think of that I didn’t really enjoy coming to work.”

After spending over a decade as an auditor, analyst and CPA in the private sector, Liston first came to work at NC State in the early 90s, as a systems accountant in what’s now the Office of Finance and Administration (OFA). 

In 1995, Liston moved to the Graduate School, where he would eventually become assistant dean for operations and fiscal affairs, within the then-Division of Research and Graduate Studies. In 2010, Liston joined the Office of Research and Innovation, where he formed and continues to lead the Integrated Services Support Center. In 2017, Liston was appointed as project manager of the ERA project — an ongoing effort to implement the RED system. From 2019 to 2021, he also served as acting associate vice chancellor for sponsored programs and regulatory compliance.

Throughout his time at NC State, Liston has worked for the Office of Finance and Administration, the Graduate School, and the Office of Research and Innovation.

“I’ve had some really great mentors, leaders and colleagues throughout the years,” Liston says. “The people at NC State are its greatest asset.”

Liston says one of many things he’s proud of is working with colleagues to develop a “much more transparent partnership about how we manage budgets” and “how we strategically deploy financial resources” across the university for the purpose of growing graduate education and research. 

“I always admired Rick’s fierce dedication to the university and those he supports,” says Barbara Moses, associate vice chancellor for budget and resource management, who’s worked with Liston for many years throughout his different roles at NC State. “I’ll miss his expertise and friendship, but I’m excited for him as he transitions to the next phase of his life.”

While he hasn’t yet ruled out working part-time again at some point in the future, Liston plans to spend retirement with his family, first and foremost; Liston’s grandson is nearly one year old, he says. Liston says he’ll also be dedicating time to the oversight of the Richard “Grey” Liston Scholarship in Athletics Endowment Fund, established in memory of his late son, a former four-year member of UNC-Wilmington’s swimming and diving team and ocean rescue guard. Liston also says he’s looking forward to becoming even more involved in managing an annual 1.7-mile pier-to-pier ocean swimming competition he and his wife, Gail, founded — Stoked to Go Out — the proceeds of which benefit Grey’s scholarship fund. With the rest of his time, Liston says he wants to travel and be outdoors — and in the water — as much as possible.

A national search will be conducted for an assistant vice chancellor for finance and administration.