from left, NCC President Emeritus Dr. J. Reid Parrott Jr., NCC Student Government Association President Jordan-Justice Stallings and NCC President Dr. Bill Carver assist in the unveiling of a portrait of Dr. W. Dallas Herring.

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from left, NCC President Emeritus Dr. J. Reid Parrott Jr., NCC Student Government Association President Jordan-Justice Stallings and NCC President Dr. Bill Carver assist in the unveiling of a portrait of Dr. W. Dallas Herring.

NCC honors ‘father of N.C. Community College System’

From Contributed Reports

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Nash Community College recently joined all 58 of North Carolina’s community colleges to celebrate the legacy of Dr. W. Dallas Herring.

Herring, the former chairman of the N.C. State Board of Education, was an innovator and visionary who made significant contributions to the establishment, development, and expansion of the N.C. Community College System. As a result of his resolve, he has often been referred to as the “father of the N.C. Community College System.”

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“Dr. Herring was a remarkable man. He believed in total education. Herring was not one who sought attention but when he spoke everyone listened,” NCC President Emeritus Dr. J. Reid Parrott Jr. said.

As chairman of the State Board of Education in 1963, Herring was instrumental in the creation of the community college system. He may be best known for his belief that education should be available to all and that community colleges should “….take people from where they are, as far as they can go.”

Herring was appointed by Gov. Luther Hodges to chair the State Board of Education, serving from 1955-77. In May 1963, the N.C. General Assembly established the N.C. Community College System. Under the leadership of Herring, the Community College Advisory Council was established to advise the State Board of Education. Herring was a life-long advocate for the state’s community colleges and the System’s “Open Door” philosophy – a result of Herring’s leadership during the System’s early years.

Nash Community College administrators, faculty, staff and students celebrated Herring’s legacy by unveiling a portrait in the college library that was commissioned in his honor as part of the system’s 50th anniversary celebration. Portraits at each North Carolina community college were sponsored by Duplin Winery and the North Carolina Community Colleges Foundation. At its last meeting, the State Board of Community Colleges also passed a resolution, naming its regular meeting room the Dr. W. Dallas Herring State Board Room.

The implementation of Herring’s vision resulted in the N.C. Community College System gaining a worldwide reputation in higher education programming. He devoted his life to opening the doors of opportunity and learning for all North Carolinians. Herring was born in Rose Hill in 1916 and died on Jan. 5, 2007. His words penned in June 1964 reflected his belief in the right of accessible education and lifelong learning. The Open Door Philosophy still holds true today for every North Carolina citizen. Nash Community College recently celebrated its 45th Anniversary and this year is celebrating the North Carolina Community College System’s 50th Anniversary.

“Dallas Herring was a visionary who understood that education could be a defining factor in a person’s life,” said N.C. Community College System President Dr. Scott Ralls. “His legacy has brought us to where we are today – one of the most comprehensive community college systems in the nation, educating people of all ages, training the state’s workforce and providing college transfer opportunities.”