For 50 years, Central Carolina Community College has thrived on an ongoing vision of leadership, service, and success. Over the years, that vision has been transformed into reality by planning, commitment, hard work, and community support.
From a single extension class offered in 1961 in Lee County, the school has grown to a fully accredited community college of high reputation serving the people, businesses, and industries of Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties at three campuses and multiple centers. Its distance education programs reach far beyond those physical boundaries to enrich students' lives around the world.
In 1957, the State Board of Education invited boards of education throughout the state to submit proposals for establishing industrial education centers in their districts. Members of the Lee County Board of Education saw this as a wonderful opportunity to provide vocational training for county residents. They worked with the Lee County Board of Commissioners, Sanford Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber of Commerce, industrialists, and interested members of the public to apply for a charter to start a Lee County Industrial Education Center. The charter was received in 1958, one of the first 18 to be awarded.
Planning for the LCIEC moved forward slowly. In 1960, Lee County voters approved a bond issue to fund construction of a Center building. It was completed in 1962 and, with improvements, still serves students as Wilkinson Hall on the Lee County Campus.
In 1963, the State Board of Education established the Department of Community Colleges. The LCIE then came under its oversight, rather than that of the local board of education.
The school began offering classes in Chatham County in 1964 and in Harnett County in 1965, but it wasn't until 1985 that the State Board of Community Colleges designated CCCC as the sole provider of community college services for those counties.
In 1965, the school became Central Carolina Technical Institute and could offer Associate in Applied Science degrees. CCTI continued to grow and expand its program offerings, and, in 1979, the name was changed to Central Carolina Technical College. Since 1988, the name has been Central Carolina Community College, denoting the school's maturity as an educational institution.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized Central Carolina Community College as "a strong force for educational opportunities, economic progress and cultural enrichment in the communities it serves."
That spirit of leadership spans the college's history. Back in 1965, it was the first community college in the state to offer an animal hospital technician curriculum, now veterinary medical technology. In 2002, it became the first community college in the nation to offer an Associate in Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture. Leadership is also shown in programs such as Laser and Photonics Technology, which is one of only about a dozen nationwide that trains on high-power lasers.
In 2006, the college and Lee County Schools formed a partnership to create Lee Early College at the college's Lee County Campus. Here, high-school age students can earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree within five years.
The college and North Carolina State University's Confucius Institute established a partnership in 2009 to set up a Confucius Classroom at the college. The students prepare for the global workplace by learning Mandarin Chinese. The Classroom also enables the college to host performing groups from the People's Republic of China, enriching cultural events that are open to the public.
Central Carolina Community College is nicknamed "Green Central" for its commitment to sustainable education. That is shown not only in program offerings, but also in its buildings. In 2010, the college and Chatham County opened three new facilities with high Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings: the Sustainable Technology Center, which houses the green programs, and the joint college-county Chatham Community Library, both in Pittsboro; and the Siler City Center.
Central Carolina Community College's educational, cultural, and economic impact is far reaching. Its graduates, both curriculum and continuing education, give back to their communities through a myriad of vocations from which the economic fabric of every community is woven. Many of its graduates continue their education and enter the workforce as highly educated professionals who strengthen their communities, counties, state, and nation.
The college has had only five presidents in its 50-year history: William A. Martin (1961-1969), Dr. J. F. Hockaday (1969-1983), Dr. Marvin R. Joyner (1983-2004), Dr. Matthew S. Garrett (2004-2008) and Dr. T.E. "Bud" Marchant (2008-present).
Each, with the support of a dedicated board of trustees, has provided outstanding leadership and vision that enabled the college to grow and serve the changing needs of its communities.
From July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, Central Carolina Community College celebrates 50 years of service to its students, communities, and all those who have felt its influence and that of its numerous graduates. We celebrate the vision of all those who have contributed to make the college what it is - an outstanding institution of learning. Join us in our celebration as we look back with gratitude and forward with great optimism.