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VGCC President to receive Award for Leadership from NCSU

Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of Vance-Granville Community College, has been named the 2014 recipient of the I. E. Ready Distinguished Leader Award, which is presented by the College of Education at N.C. State University .


“This award honors community college presidents who are alumni of N.C. State for demonstrating exceptional abilities to lead, serve, inspire, and collaborate with broad impact,” said Dr. Mary Ann Danowitz, Department Head of Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education at the university. Williams completed her doctorate in adult and higher education at N.C. State University. Earlier, she earned bachelor’s degrees in public policy and Spanish at Duke University and a master’s degree in project management from Western Carolina University.


Selected by a panel of faculty for this award, Williams was recognized not only for the impact of her leadership at Vance-Granville, but also for her graduate faculty service as an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Education at N.C. State. “Dr. Stelfanie Williams is a highly intelligent and thoughtful executive who thinks strategically, anticipates and prepares for change, yet maintains a steady focus on students’ success,” said Dr. Tuere Bowles, a faculty member at N.C. State. “I am simply in awe of her focus as a leader.”


Williams became the sixth president of Vance-Granville Community College in 2012. At VGCC, Williams is leading a transformation of the institution through a strategic plan called the “Vanguard Vision” (2014-2019), which has already supported new academic programs and new partnerships. Under her leadership, the college has received over $3 million in grant funds to support new initiatives, including a collaborative effort with the four county school systems to promote advanced manufacturing training, as well as the largest competitive grant received in the college’s history: a $1.7 million TAACCCT grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Meanwhile, new scholarships have been endowed for VGCC students, and the college’s past three golf tournament fundraisers have each set new records for the amount raised.


Williams also serves as an adjunct instructor at VGCC, teaching a “College Transfer Success” course during the fall 2014 semester.


Williams is involved with various civic groups including local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and public and private boards. She has participated on state-level leadership boards and committees for the N.C. Community College System and other organizations that advance education within the state. Nationally, Williams has been involved in and presented for the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of Adult & Continuing Education, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and other associations focused on higher education. In 2011, Williams was selected to participate in the White House Regional Community College Summit.


“The members of the VGCC Board of Trustees feel fortunate and blessed to have Dr. Williams as our president, and we were very pleased to learn that she has received this honor,” said Deborah Brown, the Board chair. “She is a ‘people person’ who leads with a humble spirit and a passion for accomplishing the mission of our college. She has all the characteristics and qualities that you would want in a leader. We applaud Dr. Williams for the job she has done at Vance-Granville and for her willingness to meet the challenges we face.”


The I.E. Ready award will be presented to Williams during International Education Week on Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., in Park Shops, Room 210, on the main campus of N.C. State in Raleigh. At that time, she will deliver a lecture, “Reflections on Effective Community College Leadership.”


The award was established in memory of Ready, the first president of the N.C. Community College System , and is presented annually to a leader who has rendered distinguished service in the community college sector. The recipient is recognized for “innovation in the community college system and for the impact a single motivated leader can exert on the regional community in support of the initiatives of the Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education at North Carolina State University.” Among the past recipients of the award is former VGCC President Dr. Randy Parker, who was honored shortly after he became president of Guilford Technical Community College.