SANFORD — Richard Clay Ingram stood in the welding shop at Central Carolina Community College. The sights and sounds brought back memories.
Ingram, whose family owned the Sanford Coca Cola Bottling Company from 1907 to 2009, was a welding student at the college back in the 1970s. He said he used the welding skills he gained at work at the bottling plant. He also enjoyed using them as a hobby, building things such as barbecue grills.
He was back at the college July 29 to establish the Richard Clay Ingram Scholarship Endowment with the CCCC Foundation. The endowment will benefit students in Industrial Systems Technology programs, which include an IST degree and certificates in areas such as bio-maintenance, electrical controls, programmable logic, and welding.
Starting in 2010, the endowment will provide an annual scholarship to an IST student that will pay all expenses for a semester. Ingram is also funding a scholarship for the current year.
“Creating the endowment seemed like the thing to do,” Ingram said. “I got my start at the college. It had a lot to do with the way I shaped my life, the type of job I had. It was a good place to start in life. It helped to mold me over the years. It’s a good place to be.”
Then he smiled and added, “And I’ve got some of the best barbecue grills in town.”
Following the establishment of the endowment, Ingram was given a tour of the IST facilities in Joyner Hall at the college’s Lee County Campus. Allen Howington, IST Department chairman, demonstrated a computerized circuit-planning program used by the students. Adjunct instructor Jeremy Watson demonstrated the Pic ‘n’ Place pneumatic machine used in manufacturing to move small objects from one location to another. Watson, an IST program graduate, plans to major in engineering at N.C. State University.
In the welding shop, Ingram saw the department’s plasma-controlled cutter, which cuts intricate designs in metal. Howington presented Ingram with a large cutout featuring a hummingbird and flowers.
“This scholarship will give students that have less than adequate means the means to improve themselves and take classes to prepare for a good career,” Howington said. “Some are married with kids and have lost jobs. When they can afford to take more classes, rather than doing their classes piecemeal, they can graduate on time.”
Dr. Stephen Athans, Dean of Vocational and Technical Programs, added that the scholarship would give students the opportunity to continue education to a better life.
“We appreciate the generosity of Clay Ingram and the others in the community who help our students improve themselves,” he said.
For information about the CCCC Foundation and opportunities to support education at Central Carolina Community College, call Glover at (919) 718-7231, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org