Claude E. McKinney, who created the master plan for North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, died Tuesday. He was 79.

McKinney served as dean of N.C. State’s College of Design from 1973 to 1988 and was tapped by former Chancellor Bruce Poulton to create a vision and design strategy for the university. He molded more than 1,000 acres of state-owned land into Centennial Campus, which has become a national benchmark for linking business and academia in a research setting.

He retired in 2000, and in recognition of his work, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine – the highest civilian award given in North Carolina – by former Gov. Jim Hunt, as well as a Career Achievement Award for the Outstanding Research Park  from the Association of University Research Parks and the Watauga Medal by N.C. State.

A Greensboro native, McKinney graduated from Pfeiffer Junior College and earned a degree in painting and design from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He later served in the Navy and worked as an industrial designer for the Office of Naval Research.

Before coming to N.C. State, he oversaw the design of Columbia, Md., one of the nation’s first planned communities, for Rouse Co.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Long View Center, 118 S. Person St. in Raleigh.