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ECC sees changes, successes

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The past year has been one of transition for Edgecombe Community College as the school had a transfer of leadership.

But it also enjoyed several successes along the way.

In March, Phi Theta Kappa, the student honor society, won 13 awards at the Phi Theta Kappa Carolinas Regional Convention. Among the students who received awards was Michael Parker, 28, whose hours of community service helped him win the $500 Joan Keller Servant Leader Scholarship, an award for Phi Theta Kappa members in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Parker is the first ECC student to win the scholarship and the first male from any community college in the Carolinas to win, college officials said.

ECC’s Practical Nursing program was ranked sixth in the state in April after receiving a perfect score by a national nursing advocacy organization. The top nine schools received perfect scores and ECC’s ranking was based on its program size. Since 2011, students in the program have had a 100 percent pass rate on the state’s license exam.

Deborah L. Lamm, who served as president of ECC for 14 years, retired at the end of the spring term in May. During her tenure, Lamm established pioneering programs and unique partnerships at ECC and is credited with improving the standard and level of effectiveness of higher education in Edgecombe County.

In June, an individual student and a student team brought home gold medals from the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, finishing first in the nation in their events. This was the third year in a row that ECC students have brought home the gold.

Greg McLeod was named the new president of  the college in July. McLeod, a North Carolina native and 17-year veteran of community colleges, is the college’s fifth president and the first black man to serve in the role. He took the helm of the school in August.

“Coming to Edgecombe Community College to serve as president and to Edgecombe County to live have made 2018 one of the best years of my life,” McLeod said. “Our faculty, staff, and trustees truly and deeply care about our students and community, which inspires and drives me to do the very best that I can and all that I can for this college, our students, our employees, and the communities we serve.”

In the the fall semester, the ECC launched a new Ophthalmic Medical Assisting program. The college also celebrated the Tutoring Center’s 20th year of helping students succeed. The Tutoring Center has offices on both the Rocky Mount and Tarboro campuses and is free to students.

ECC introduced students to “The Pirate Promise” in October. The “Pirate Promise” is co-admission agreement with East Carolina University designed to improve transfer student access and success through a collaborative degree completion program. The program enables students, while enrolled at ECC, to benefit from a variety of ECU services prior to transferring. 

Employees of Vidant Edgecombe Hospital established a scholarship in December in honor of retiring hospital president Wick Baker. The Wick Baker Leading the Way Scholarship will benefit students who “exhibit leadership qualities and a passion for the health and well-being of Edgecombe residents,” said Mary Tom Bass, director of public information for the college.

McLeod said he sees more good news for the college in the year ahead.

“I look forward to the completion of the Center for Innovation building on the Tarboro campus, which will provide advanced manufacturing learning opportunities with the latest cutting-edge technologies and equipment to our area high school and college students,” McLeod said. “Along with that, I look forward to the construction of the Kingsboro Training Center, which will be complementary to the Center for Innovation by offering targeted and customized advanced workforce training for our citizens preparing to work at Triangle Tire, Corning, CSX and other companies coming to the area.

“This is an exciting time to live and work in Edgecombe County.”

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