by JohnAllan Tallant, Diocese of Raleigh

We would like to extend a warm North Carolina invitation to everyone to come to the 2005 DISC convention in Research Triangle Park. The convention will be held at the Marriott at the Civic Center in Durham NC from June 1st through June 3rd. We are excited to have the opportunity to have so many Diocesan IT staff come to the park or RTP as we call it. RTP is the largest research park in the United States. Over 45,000 individuals work in the park and 99.4% of these are working for research institutions. IBM has its largest corporate facility in the Park. Along with IBM, Cisco, Nortel, Ericsson, Lucent and a host of smaller research firms have offices in the park. Just outside the park, in Cary is SAS Institute, the largest privately held software firm in the world with over 5,000 employees at the Cary campus alone. RTP covers 7000 acres between the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Each of these cities hosts a major research university, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC State University in Raleigh and Duke in Durham.

In addition to these three universities we also have North Carolina Central University and Shaw University. In addition to the research and educational facilities in RTP, a host of museums and attractions lie in easy driving distance.    The Asheboro area, home of the North Carolina Zoo, is an hour and 10 minute’s drive from Durham. The Zoo is the largest walk through natural habitat zoo in the United States covering more than 500 acres. Just below Asheboro is fabled Pinehurst. This area is one of golfing’s most revered destinations with 43 courses and will host the 2005 US Open. Back in RTP, you will find the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Life and Science. Children and adults will enjoy walking through either of these institutions devoted to presenting the wonders of the natural world. The Duke Primate Center is one of the world’s leading research centers for examining the behavior and habits of Lemurs, those fascinating early relatives of the primates. Tours of the facility are available. The North Carolina and UNC and Duke University museums of art are available for those who enjoy fine art.