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VGCC Trustees Honor Retiring Chairman, Hear of Fall Enrollment, Construction Plans

John T. Church Sr. has resigned from the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees due to health problems. In fact, he was not well enough to attend the board’s bi-monthly meeting Monday at which the trustees honored him for 30 years service to the college.

The trustees unanimously adopted a resolution of appreciation to Church, and they presented a plaque and the framed resolution to Church’s wife, Marion, who represented him at the meeting. (Shown in the photograph at right are Marion Church, center, with Henrietta Clark, the trustee board secretary, and John Nelms, new chairman of the board.)

Church is the last charter member of the Board of Trustees for the school, which was chartered in 1969, and he has served as its chairman since 1994. Church, a former state senator and representative, former chairman of Rose’s Stores and active participant in numerous activities, including Boy Scouts, said in his letter of resignation that … “there is no one endeavor which has meant more to me through the years than to work for this very fine institution.”

The State Board of Community Colleges named Church its 1998 recipient of the I.E. Ready Award, the community college system’s highest award, for his service to the local school and to the state system.

The Vance County Board of Commissioners appointed Church to the VGCC board, and they are expected to name his replacement at their Feb. 1 meeting. Also honored at Monday’s meeting was Patricia Graham, administrative assistant to the president, who is the longest-term employee of VGCC. John Nelms, board vice chairman who presided Monday, presented a $1,000 check to the VGCC Endowment Fund as the first installment toward establishing an Academic Achievement scholarship in her honor.

Dr. Ben F. Currin, who retires Jan. 31 after 18 years as president, said he and Nelms will donate the $5,000 necessary to underwrite the scholarship, although other board members donated later or made commitments.

Graham began working for Vance County Technical in November 1969, just a couple of months after it was begun.

The trustees also unanimously approved a motion by John Foster recognizing Currin for his leadership of Vance-Granville Community College the past 18 years. The board has named Vice President Robert A. Miller to move up to president, and he will take office Feb. 1.


Dr. Currin told the trustees that enrollment continues to grow and that an estimated 2,829 associate degree and diploma students are expected to be enrolled for Spring Semester. Figures will be finalized next week after 10 percent of the semester, which began classes Jan. 11, is complete.

The forecast enrollment is up 222 over last Spring’s 2,607. Trustees noted that the increase is spread out over technical, vocational, high school and special students.

Miller said that, in addition to a 10 percent increase in curriculum student enrollment this school year, VGCC expects to show an 18 percent increase in extension students and a 25 percent rise in basic skills enrollment.


Chairman David Brooks of the Building Committee reported that plans are being redrawn for the next expansion to the Franklin County Campus. The General Assembly allocated $1 million during its last session to construct the third building, which has been planned to complete the campus.

In December, Novo Nordisk America gave the college $250,000 to include a biotechnology training center in the new building. To accommodate this, plans for the building are being drawn to incorporate the biotech center into the third building, replacing an assembly/auditorium area. Plans are to include the assembly area in a fourth building behind the new wing.

Miller told the trustees that Gov. James B. Hunt is proposing that eight training centers be built at community colleges across the state, each specializing in one field. VGCC is interested in becoming the biotechnical center and, if chosen, would provide training in this area for students and instructors from across the entire state.

Construction is also beginning at South Campus in Creedmoor. Grading began Jan. 27 on an 8,000 square-foot expansion project that will add more classroom space at this campus.


Figures provided to the trustees showed that VGCC facilities are getting a great deal of usage from outside groups and for non-academic purposes. For the six

months ending Dec. 31, 1998, there were 17,105 people who used the Civic Center, 5,855 in November alone. “There is a tremendous demand for the center,” Dr. Currin told the trustees.

Seventy-nine groups from outside VGCC used college facilities 535 hours during the six months. In addition to the Civic Center, seminar and conference rooms, the auditorium and student lounge were included in the report.

The board approved the recommendation of Personnel Committee Chairman T.W. Ellis Jr. that Evelyn L. Hall and Martha S. Jones be hired as instructors in office systems technology and that Jeffrey W. Townsend be hired as a mathematics instructor. The board accepted resignations of Rachel Baskerville, retiring office systems technology instructor, and Catherine C. Markee, special needs counselor.