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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

William F. Little (1929- )

Research Triangle Park is a public/private research park that was created in 1959 by North Carolina business and political leaders. Earlier Howard Odum had started discussions about a center that would lead to research collaboration among the area’s local universities. The state’s leaders transformed the idea to include government agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Founded in 1958, the Research Triangle Institute became the park's first major tenant, conducting cutting-edge scientific research with federal grants. In 1959, chemistry professor William F. Little recruited Chemstrand, a manufacturer of synthetic fibers, as the first corporation to locate a research laboratory in the park.