Dr. Ben F. Currin recently retired from the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Board of Directors. That marked the culmination of Currin’s formal association with VGCC, which lasted for a total of 36 years — 18 as president of the college and 18 more on the endowment board after his retirement as president.
Currin, who now lives in Raleigh, became the third president of VGCC in 1981. Under Currin’s leadership, VGCC grew from one campus to four, with a total of almost $18 million worth of new construction at all campuses. During his tenure, VGCC reactivated the college’s Endowment Fund, which grew from $12,000 in 1982 to $5 million at the time of his retirement and provided scholarships for numerous students. In 1985, he started the annual VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $862,000 to date. A VGCC scholarship, the Dr. Ben Currin Presidential Merit Award, was endowed in his honor upon his retirement through contributions from the college faculty and staff.
A native of Granville County and a graduate of Oxford High School, Currin received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1959. He earned his master's degree in education in 1962 and his advanced graduate certificate in professional education in 1963, both from UNC. He received his doctorate in education from UNC in 1970 in education administration with a minor in political science.
Currin assumed the VGCC presidency after having served as a teacher, coach and public school administrator, including 11 years as superintendent of Rocky Mount City Schools. While in Rocky Mount, he also taught graduate courses at East Carolina University as an adjunct professor.
Currin earned high esteem from his peers in higher education. A University of Texas study in 1988-89 named him one of the “best of the best” among community college presidents across the nation, and he was given a National Leadership Award at the Leadership 2000 conference in San Francisco. He was also one of 75 participants chosen nationwide to participate in the Management of Lifelong Education Institute at Harvard University. Currin received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Gov. Beverly Perdue. In 2016, Currin received the highest honor that can be bestowed by the State Board of Community Colleges, the I.E. Ready Award.
The board of directors oversees the Endowment Fund Corporation, a nonprofit organization established in 1976 to seek and receive scholarship funds and other contributions for the college. Current board members include Robert L. Hubbard (the vice-chair), Rev. Dr. Richard M. Henderson (secretary), Julius Banzet, III, Sarah Baskerville, Rep. James W. Crawford, Jr., Tanya Evans, Clay Frazier, L. Opie Frazier, Jr., Ronnie Goswick, Katharine Macon Horner, Darryl Moss, Donald C. Seifert, Sr., Marshall Tanner, Josh Towne and Todd Wemyss. As president of VGCC, Dr. Stelfanie Williams chairs the board, and Danny Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees, serves on the board ex-officio.
Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,100 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college's faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.
Above: From left, VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams and Dr. Ben Currin, the college’s former president, holding a plaque honoring him for his service to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund. (VGCC photo)