LILLINGTON - Central Carolina Community College's William R. "Bill" Tyson, who has balanced the challenges of overseeing the college in Harnett County as it is now and having a major role in preparing for the future, is retiring as Harnett Provost as of Feb. 1.
The CCCC Board of Trustees has honored Tyson with the new title of CCCC's Harnett Provost Emeritus.
"Bill Tyson has been critical to the ongoing success of the college in Harnett," said CCCC President Dr. T. Eston Marchant. "He has the vision, the leadership, and the commitment that has led the college in Harnett in its continued impressive growth not only in physical facilities and programs, but also in service to its communities."
Tyson began his career in the public schools of Chowan and Harnett counties before moving over to community college education. "When I came to the college, I was looking for a little change in my life and my career," said Tyson.
Tyson came to what was then Central Carolina Technical College in 1984 as a Basic Skills Instructor in the college's program at Harnett Correctional Institution. He became Director of Correctional Education at the facility in 1986 and was promoted to associate dean in 1999.
When Robert Garrett, the college's first Harnett County Provost, retired in 2003, Tyson became only the second person to serve in that position.
On the committee to select the next Provost was Gary Beasley, who is Lead Instructor of the CCCC Laser & Photonics program. "What an honor to have been able to be selected for the hiring committee interviewing Bill Tyson for CCCC Harnett County Provost. How lucky we were to both have him as a candidate and select him for the position," said Beasley.
"Bill was the 'right stuff' for the job! He brought the Harnett team together, patiently listening, working with county leaders, CCCC administration, and the CCCC Board of Trustees, to not only grow educational opportunities at Harnett and enlarge the campus, but he also added a level of calm and togetherness among the staff that has only grown over the years," said Beasley.
"Of course, most important has been Bill's utmost respect and concern for the students ... It has truly been a pleasure to work for Bill during his years as Provost, and he will be missed big time!"
Tyson noted that he was ready for a change in 2003, and knew that the Provost job presented a new challenge.
He added that he received a new burst of energy several years later when Dr. Marchant joined the college. "The first things we talked about was opening the welding shop that had been closed for years, an allied health building, and that we needed to do more over in the Dunn area than what we were doing," said Tyson.
Obviously, much has occurred during Tyson's tenure as Provost.
Under Tyson, the 15,840-square-foot Classroom Building 4 was completed on the Harnett Campus in 2005. The Continuing Education Building underwent a major renovation and received a brick facade in 2008 to match the other campus buildings. The 8,500-square-foot West Harnett Center opened in 2008.
The 50,200-square-foot state-of-the-art Health Sciences Building has been constructed, in the Brightwater Science and Technology Campus, in Lillington.
Now, with the renovation of the former Harnett High School, Central Carolina Community College will have a major presence in Dunn - with thanks to the efforts of Provost Tyson.
Among the offerings at the Dunn Center is the CCCC Culinary Institute. The college's barbering program has moved from West Harnett Center to the Dunn Center. A variety of other college programs also will be housed in Dunn, while expanded facilities at West Harnett Center will soon become the home of the college's Auto Restoration and Collision Repair Technology programs.
While there was numerous individuals whose work paved the way for the opening of the Dunn Center, Tyson was a leader in pushing through his desire to see the college have a key presence in Dunn and the eastern portion of Harnett County.
Tyson is quick to praise others for the growth of which he has been a part at CCCC. He points to college administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as the CCCC Board of Trustees, and Harnett County officials and citizens. "We have had great teams of people to work with this college," said Tyson.
While the facilities are important, Tyson is equally proud of the academics provided by the college. "We want folks to know that our graduates are so good that everyone is going to want to hire them right before or immediately after they finish," said Tyson.
He expressed appreciation for his wife, Frances, and daughter, Angie, noting that they let him do whatever he needed to do for the college.
Among those to praise Tyson's leadership is Jon Matthews, who has served as CCCC Harnett Associate Provost and who will succeed Tyson as Provost.
"Bill Tyson's contributions to the postsecondary training of Harnett County residents are both numerous in volume and monumental in scope. During his tenure as Provost, the college's presence in Harnett County increased markedly. Tyson's vision, acumen, and persistence have allowed CCCC to train the next generation of health care providers in the state-of-the-art Harnett Health Sciences Center, provide an increasing number of inmates with high-demand vocational skills at Harnett Correctional Institution, and serve both traditional and dual-enrolled students in credential programs at new and expanded facilities at West Harnett Center and the Dunn Center," said Matthews.
"Bill Tyson was largely responsible for my decision to switch careers from information technology to higher education. His enthusiasm for the community college mission is simply infectious. We both share a deep respect and affinity for Harnett County, and early in my tenure with CCCC, he shared with me his vision of how the community college would be integral to the growth and development of our area," said Matthews. "He has an uncanny ability to conceive ideas that match short-term training and curricula with emerging industry needs. This is precisely the kind of leadership that the community college mission demands, and we owe Mr. Tyson a debt of gratitude for being that leader the last 13 years."
Among those in attendance for a reception to honor Tyson were former CCCC Presidents Dr. Marvin R. Joyner and Dr. Matthew S. Garrett.
"Bill is without doubt one of the finest people it has been my privilege to know," said Joyner. "He always did everything to perfection and he did everything on time."
"Thank you for all that you've done in Harnett County," said Garrett. "If I had to list the top 10 most dependable and also very cordial, kind people that I ever worked with, Bill, your name would always be in that list of the top 10."
Julian Philpott, CCCC Board of Trustees Chairman, said, "We all know the dedication that Bill has exhibited and the outstanding service that he has provided to Central Carolina Community College in his 33 years of service," said Philpott. "Bill Tyson, we appreciate everything that you mean to Central Carolina Community College ... we thank you for everything you have done."
Gordon Springle, Chairman of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners, said, "On behalf of the county and the board of commissioners, we wish you the very best in your retirement."
Tyson, who is an Angier resident, said that while he has worked for the college for 33 years, it almost seems like yesterday when he started. "I've had a wonderful career with the college," said Tyson.
"We were a good college back then. We have become a great college. We have a real commitment to our students, the requirements of the workplace, and the communities which we serve," said Tyson.
"What I want for this county and for this college is for us to keep moving forward," said Tyson. "I think that we've made a lot of progress in the last 13 years, but we have a lot more that we have to do. I'm looking forward to see how all that turns out."
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT BILL TYSON
Emily Hare, CCCC Foundation Executive Director:
"Bill is just one outstanding guy. He has always gone above and beyond for not only me, but for the Foundation. Whenever I would call Bill with a new idea, a donor question in Harnett, or about anything, he never hesitated to say 'yes' or 'I'll take care of it'. I could always count on him for anything I needed. He's dependable, reliable, and one amazing guy. I am going to miss him!"
Rebecca Parker, Site Coordinator, Dunn Enrichment Center:
"Bill Tyson, the man with the friendly smile. Since I met Bill, he has always been positive, fair, and energetic ... and always walking fast like me. He exudes optimism and care for all people and has such a sense of community about him. He has only been my boss a short while, but during that time has always accepted my opinions and welcomed my ideas and suggestions. He is a great leader, a genuine friend, and wonderful caretaker of his domain. I will miss Bill at CCCC, but will look forward to working with him in whatever capacity his future endeavors might bring in my path."
Susan Johnson, CCCC Department Chairperson for Barbering and Cosmetic Arts:
"Mr. Tyson's commitment to community, education, and excellence has helped build the foundation of many successful partnerships within Harnett County and Central Carolina Community College. For myself and many others, he has been a mentor and provided endless support. The legacy he leaves behind is certainly a great example of leadership that we should all strive for."
Lennie Stephenson, CCCC Director of Continuing Education Medical Programs:
"Bill Tyson has always been my anchor. At times, when the boat was really rocking he could always calm the seas and make everything all right. I will miss him terribly."
William R. "Bill" Tyson is retiring as Central Carolina Community College Harnett Provost. The CCCC Board of Trustees has honored Tyson with the new title of Harnett Provost Emeritus.
William R. "Bill" Tyson (right) receives recognition for being named Central Carolina Community College Harnett Provost Emeritus from CCCC President Dr. T. Eston Marchant (left).
Central Carolina Community College retiring Harnett Provost William R. "Bill" Tyson is proud of the 50,200-square-foot state-of-the-art Harnett Health Sciences Center. Pictured with Tyson is Lennie Stephenson, CCCC Director of Continuing Education Medical Programs.