The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees celebrated news from President Dr. Stelfanie Williams that the college’s VanGuarantee scholarship continues to gain national attention. The announcement was made on Nov. 20 at the board’s bi-monthly meeting on the Main Campus.
The trustees also welcomed two new board members and heard the results of a campus-wide campaign to raise money for the VGCC Endowment Fund.
In her report to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Williams said the “Community College Daily,” a publication of the American Association of Community Colleges, shared in October an annual report on the College Promise Campaign, described by the association as a movement focusing on providing a free community college education to qualified students.
In the past 12 months, the AACC said, more than 50 new programs were announced similar to VGCC’s VanGuarantee. “New College Promise programs are evolving at a rapid pace because communities and states recognize that a high school education is insufficient to secure a good job and a decent quality of life in today’s economy,” the report said, adding that there are now more than 200 such programs across 41 states.
The VanGuarantee benefitted 47 Vance-Granville students during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to VGCC’s Financial Aid Office. A total of $50,514 was disbursed to help those students.
Designed to help eliminate any financial barriers standing between students and their academic goals, the VanGuarantee was announced in March 2016, with the first scholarships awarded in the Fall 2016 semester. The innovative scholarship program was made possible by a $1.6 million bequest to the college from the estate of Wilbert A. Edwards, a Vance County native, who was living in Oxford at the time of his death. Edwards’ gift, announced in 2015, is the second largest in the history of VGCC.
The AACC said the annual report highlighted the efforts to create College Promise programs in rural areas of the nation, “which on average have fewer students attaining college credentials than students in cities,” citing specifically the program at Vance-Granville.
“More than half of the nation’s 1,400 community colleges in the United States are located in rural areas, and they serve a third of the nation’s community college population,” the College Promise Campaign annual report for 2017 says. “Some … like Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina have the responsibility to serve a broad geographic area for their local populations. The aim of these rural programs is to help more students enter and complete a community college education within their region through shared education, business and philanthropic partnerships that identify sustainable financial resources for the College Promise.”
The Board of Trustees welcomed Xavier Wortham of Oxford as a newly appointed trustee at the meeting. Wortham, who works as executive director of the Oxford Housing Authority in Granville County, was sworn in by District Court Judge Carolyn J. Thompson, who serves District 9.
Appointed for a four-year term on the board by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper, Wortham replaces Michele Burgess of Henderson, who had served since September 2013.
Also joining the board for a one-year term was Sophie Taylor, who was recently elected president of the VGCC Student Government Association. Taylor, who is a student at Franklin County Early College High School, will serve as a Student Trustee, representing the interests of her fellow VGCC students at all meetings of the trustees.
Faculty-Staff Drive for Scholarships
The co-chairs of the annual faculty and staff drive for the VGCC Endowment Fund announced to the Trustees that $21,036 was raised this fall from among employees on Vance-Granville’s four campuses to support the mission of the college and students through scholarships.
The drive co-chairs were Andrew Beal, public information officer; Willie Mae Foster-Hill, Main Campus receptionist; and Jeremy Lambert, assistant director of financial aid.
VGCC awarded 306 scholarships, including several funded by faculty and staff contributions, at its annual awards dinner this October.
Trustee Donald C. Seifert, Sr., chair of the board’s Building Committee, and Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, gave updates on several capital projects.
A final report on the assessment of needed exterior masonry repairs to buildings on the Main Campus is expected soon. Some county funds and additional monies from the Connect NC Bond will be used to restore, structurally repair and waterproof campus-wide building masonry rooflines, walls and bridges.
A report is expected in January on options to replace existing deteriorated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and to replace obsolete fire alarm systems on the Main Campus, using funds from the Bond.
A portion of the renovations to the Welding Lab at the VGCC Franklin County Campus is expected to be completed in December, with the remaining work being done during the Summer Term next year. State Bond funds are being used to add eight welding booths to the existing lab at the campus near Louisburg and to add a demonstration area in an adjacent classroom.
In other action:
• Trustee Abdul Rasheed, chair of the Budget Committee, presented a motion, that was approved, to write off $1,021.84 in uncollectable student accounts under $50 from the college’s financial accounting records and no longer recognize them as collectible receivables for financial reporting purposes.
• Graham, reporting for the board’s Investment Committee, noted the college’s investments have grown by 9.3 percent since the beginning of the calendar year.
• An informational report on new employees, retirements, resignations and changes in positions was provided by Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the board’s Personnel Committee.
• In her report to the board, Dr. Williams highlighted recent accomplishments and opportunities at the college. She noted the Vance-Granville Community Band concert will be held on Monday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson.
Presiding over the meeting was Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright.
The Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Jan. 22 at the Main Campus. Normally held on the third Monday of the month, the meeting in January is being moved to the fourth Monday because of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday.
Above: VGCC Board of Trustees Chair Danny W. Wright celebrates the announcement of $21,036 raised in the Faculty-Staff Drive for the VGCC Endowment Fund this fall. Co-chairs of the campaign were Andrew Beal, public information officer for the college; Willie Mae Foster-Hill, receptionist at Main Campus; and Jeremy Lambert, assistant director of financial aid. Kay Currin, VGCC Endowment specialist, made the presentation to the trustees at their Nov. 20 meeting. Shown from left are Wright, Beal, Foster-Hill and Currin. Lambert was unavailable. (VGCC photo)
Above: Xavier Wortham of Oxford, left, is sworn in as a newly appointed member of the VGCC Board of Trustees by Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Carolyn J. Thompson at the board’s meeting on Nov. 20.