Warner retires from CCCC Board of Trustees
Frances Warner (right), of Lemon Springs, was honored for her 12 years of service on the Central Carolina ... (more)
Frances Warner (left), of Lemon Springs, was honored for her 12 years of service on the Central Carolina ... (more)
SANFORD - Frances Warner looked back over almost 80 years - most all of them spent in service to others, and smiled.
"My life's been a wonderful journey," the Lemon Springs native said.
For the past 12 years, much of that service and journey have been helping to provide educational opportunities for area residents through her work on the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees.
"Serving as a trustee for the college has been the icing on the cake," she said.
Warner retired from the CCCC Board of Trustees, effective June 30. Prior to the start of the board's July 27 summer meeting, board members, family, college employees and friends gathered at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center to congratulate her on her achievement and selfless service.
"In her 12 years on the board, Frances has participated in the hiring of two presidents and helped oversee the greatest expansion of the college in its history," said CCCC President Bud Marchant. "Frances constantly strove to ensure that the college remained true to its mission of providing opportunity to the citizens of Lee, Harnett and Chatham counties. She is the perfect example of what a college trustee should be. She will be greatly missed."
Trustees board chairman Ed Garrison, on behalf of the board and college, presented Warner with a large print of drawings by artist Jerry Miller of some of the buildings at the college's campuses in the three counties.
Trustee Bobby Powell, of Sanford, was already on the board when Warner arrived in 1999. She described him as a mentor to her as she learned the role of trustee. Powell, still a trustee, praised her service.
"Frances has served with distinction; her devotion has been unsurpassed," he said. "She showed the dedication of a superb board member. It's been a pleasure serving with her."
Warner addressed the gathering, saying, "I can't describe what this college means to me, what it has meant to serve with all the trustees and presidents during the past 12 years. Thanks to all of you, what great memories I have to cherish."
Warner's links with the college go back much further than 1999, when the Lee County Board of Commissioners first appointed her to the board of trustees. In the 1960s, she had enrolled in the college's first nursing program, but was unable to attend because her first husband, Wayne Roberts, became seriously ill. He passed away in 1969.
The year before he died, she had been appointed Lemon Springs postmaster, a position she held until retiring in 1992. Warner was already very active at Lemon Springs United Methodist Church and in the community, but found yet another outlet for her desire to serve: becoming a substitute teacher.
She went to CCCC for training, taking advanced math and effective teacher training classes. Everyone in her teacher training class had to direct a lesson in the class.
"I got a bunch of combs and directed a comb band," she recalled with a laugh.
Warner subbed for several years, then served a term on the Lee County Board of Education. She decided not to run for a second term, but her reputation for dedicated service didn't allow her any downtime. The Lee County Board of Commissioners appointed her to a four-year term on the CCCC Board of Trustees in 1999 and then re-appointed her twice more.
"I'd never thought about serving as a trustee, but when I was asked I thought, 'What a great opportunity!'" she said. "Education is one of the most important things a person needs for life. I didn't hesitate."
During her term on the board, Warner has been involved in major progress and expansion of the college facilities and programs. She spoke particularly of the college's "tremendous accomplishments" in establishing Lee Early College in 2006 and the Confucius Classroom in 2009.
Among its other achievements during her time on the board, the college greatly increased its physical facilities, including opening its Emergency Services Training Center in 2001, more than doubling the size of its Lee County Campus in 2006, opening the West Harnett Center in 2008, and opening three LEED-certified buildings in Chatham County in 2010.
Warner praised the presidents, past and present, of the college for their leadership.
"Each has been unique in his own way - each gave great gifts," she said. "We've had some good visionaries - that's what made the college what it is. Our college is such a crown jewel; it has done wonderful things for the area. I think it will go on to be tops in North Carolina. I say to young people, visit CCCC before making a decision on higher education. You'll be amazed at what is offered."
As for her future plans, she hasn't made any, but Warner's eyes twinkled as she said, "You know, my license plate says, 'RDY2GO."
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