First Director and Employee of College (12/1/1960-11/10/1961)
Al Farkas was the first director (chief administrator) hired. His work began when the school was still an idea and he worked out of an office in the basement of the old Fayetteville Street School. A native of Vienna, Austria, Farkas grew up in Maplewood, Mo., right outside of St. Louis and obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He also studied nuclear reactor engineering at Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois and completed a short course in nuclear engineering at N.C. State.
Farkas came to the Randolph Industrial Education Center with a wide range of industrial experience. He had served as chief field design engineer for Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation on the construction of the Roanoke Rapids hydro-electric project, structural design engineer on steam power plants, a chemical plant and other hydro-electric works, construction field engineer, office engineer and construction supervisor for a synthetic rubber plant for Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation and several steam power plants, and as construction field engineer for M. W. Kellogg Company on two 100 Octane Gasoline Catalytic Cracking Units. He was structural design engineer for Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation's main office in Boston, Mass. His work on the Roanoke Rapids hydro-electric project brought him to North Carolina in the early 1950s.
After completion of the Roanoke Rapids project, he joined the faculty of N.C. State College in 1955 and was an associate professor of civil engineering when he was hired as director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center on Dec. 1, 1960.
Because the first building had not been constructed on the campus, Farkas worked out of an office in the basement of Fayetteville Street School, near downtown Asheboro.
As the first director, Farkas's job was to contact local businesses and industries and develop and conduct surveys to determine the vocational training needs of the area. He also traveled throughout the United States to states such as Texas and Connecticut to visit the vocational-technical schools in these states and study the programs in preparation for the design and development of the Randolph Center. Farkas worked very closely with local Architect J. J. Croft Jr. in the planning, design, and early construction of the first building on RCC's campus, now known as the Administration/Education Center. Farkas was also involved in clearing the land for the original building in the Industrial Park and worked with Culp Brothers Company of Gold Hill, N.C., to prepare the site for construction. He also worked with S. E. Trogdon and Sons, who was the general contractor, on the initial construction of the building in 1961.
Farkas helped to create and develop the initial programs and curriculum that the College would offer when it opened by proposing and developing materials for Automotive Mechanics; Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating; Machine Shop and Welding; Technical Drafting; Electronics; Radio-TV Repair; Construction Technology; and an operator-type program for the area hosiery-textile industries. Of the above, Automotive Mechanics, Machine Shop, Welding, and Electronics are still in existence at the College today.
In 1963, Farkas was hired to start the Civil Technology program at the new Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C., and later became the department chair. Farkas retired from Central Piedmont in 1984. After a 46-year separation, Farkas was reconnected to Randolph Community College in 2007 and recognized for his contribution to the initial development of the College during the the 45th Anniversary of the College. He attended the event in September of 2007 and also attended a plaque dedication for the original building on campus in 2008.
Second Director (11/1/1961-12/30/1963)
Robert E. Carey, a native of Mountain Top, Pa., was the second director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center, and replaced Farkas on November 1, 1961. Carey completed his B.S. and M.A. in Industrial Education from Penn State University.
From 1933 to 1942, he was employed as a high school teacher in Mountain Top, Pa., Royersford, Pa., and Pitman, N.J., where he taught English, general science, mechanical drawing and woodworking. He also taught industrial organization and management at the University of Detroit. From 1942 to 1945, he was in the U.S. Navy where he organized induction programs for recruits or "boots" entering Aviation Training School. He taught hydraulics, wrote and edited training manuals on electricity, hand tools, dope and fabrics, engines and hydraulics. From 1945 to 1949, he worked for the Dodge division of Chrysler Corp. in Detroit, Mi., as a conference leader and foreman trainer. From 1949 to 1954, his work was with the Motor Products Corporation in Detroit, where he was employed as a training director, training foreman and college men for junior executive positions. From 1954 to 1961, Carey was employed by the Arabian American Oil Company of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Sidon as a lecturer, senior trainer, and teacher. He prepared lectures for the induction of new employees and delivered lectures designed to make American employees better qualified to work in Saudi Arabia. He also organized and conducted informational sessions for foreman and taught English and mathematics to Arabs.
Upon being hired as Director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center in November 1961, Carey immediately became involved in the Asheboro and Randolph County communities by working with business leaders, civic leaders, and other important figures in business and industry to help make the Industrial Education Center a reality in Randolph County. He visited other Industrial Education Centers throughout the state to gain insight into their operations. The school truly began to take shape during Carey's tenure, and although it was relatively brief (1961-1963), Carey was responsible for helping the school open. While still operating out of the Fayetteville Street School office, Carey began assembling a staff of a Secretary and Maintenance Supervisor. He immediately began a publicity program to generate interest in the school and toured around the state to promote the school and its curriculum by speaking to service clubs, industrial groups, schools, PTA's, and guidance counselors. He spoke to the Kiwanis club, Rotary clubs, Toastmasters Club, and Civitan's Club on numerous occasions. He helped to form craft committees for each program area and even helped form a Senior Advisory Committee of local business leaders and a Women's Advisory Committee of area professional women, which was the first of its kind in any IEC or Technical Institute in North Carolina at the time.
Carey took over the reins as director as the College's first building was being constructed and helped to oversee its progress. He toured the four county areas of Randolph, Montgomery, Anson, and Stanly, which the college served at the time, to promote the College. He visited high schools, civic clubs, businesses and industries in these areas. In June of 1962, Associate Director Merton Branson was added to the staff and he and Carey worked to prepare the College for its opening in September of that year. Carey helped to develop brochures to distribute which would help publicize the school. He also set up the first out-of-school training program for the College in March of 1962 before the school opened, whose purpose was to train potential employees for the Asheboro and Needle Trades Industries.
Carey was the chief administrator when all the original classroom and shop equipment was purchased for the school and helped to finalize curriculum plans and program offerings in preparation for the opening of the school. He also worked with student applications and registration and was involved with recruiting and hiring the original faculty and staff members. In the summer of 1962, he helped to move the administrative office from Fayetteville Street School to the new facility in the Industrial Park and was on hand for the new building's inspections. Carey helped to organize the first Open House events at the College in 1962 and 1963 and also planned the formal dedication ceremony in April of 1963, at which Dallas Herring spoke.
During Carey's tenure, the first job placements of students took place and the College saw its first students graduate with certificates and diplomas. New programs and courses were also developed during Carey's tenure as Director and the school's first satellite campus, a Knitter-Fixer School in Troy at Page Street School began. The school evolved from an idea on paper to a fine physical plant and had grown from an enrollment of 75 students to over 400.
Associate Director (5/31/1962-1/1/1964)
Merton H. Branson became the first associate director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center on May 31, 1962. A native of Ramseur, North Carolina, he was a World War II veteran and graduated from Asheboro High School in 1947. After two years at High Point College and one year in the Law School at UNC Chapel-Hill, he transferred to the School of Education and received his A.B. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.Ed in Industrial Education from North Carolina State University.
He taught social studies, coached baseball and junior varsity football, and was the coordinator of vocational education at Asheboro High School from 1951-1962. As the Diversified Occupations coordinator, Branson was given the task of conducting the initial survey of area businesses and industries to document the need for an Industrial Education Center in 1958-1959.
As the associate director, Branson helped to hire instructors, interview students, and publicize the school in its early years. He became director of the center on January 1, 1964 and his title was changed to president in 1965, a title he retained until his retirement in 1988.
During Branson's tenure, the school went through four name changes: Randolph Industrial Education Center, Randolph Technical Institute, Randolph Technical College, and Randolph Community College. During Branson's presidency, enrollment increased from fewer than 200 curriculum students to more than 1,700 in curriculum programs each year and another 7,700 in continuing education, adult education and industry training programs. The Randolph Industrial Education Center also became the first school in the NC Community College System to intiate a Learning Lab in 1964. Branson expanded the curriculum during his tenure and many, many programs were added during his 24 years as President. Some of those many programs which are still offered are Interior Design, Photography, Advertising and Graphic Design, Associate Degree Nursing, Business Administration, and Autobody Repair. The College's Adult Basic Education and Continuing Education divisions were developed during Branson's presidency. In addition, the first college transfer courses were established in June 1970 through the UNC-G Extension program.
The school received its charter from the State Board of Education and was accredited by the State Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The college's Foundation was also established. Six major facilities were constructed during Branson's presidency. The original Administration/Education Center was expanded significantly in 1968 and 1974. In 1978, a bond issue (2.5 million dollars) was approved by the voters of Randolph County and a Vocational-Technical Center, Learning Resources Center and Student Services Center were constructed. A former industrial building became the College's Design Center in the the mid-1980s. A Business Education Center which bears Branson's name was completed just before he retired in 1988. And the College also opened a Small Business Center within the Asheboro Chamber of Commerce and an Archdale Extension office on Trindale Road.
When the school opened for students on September 4, 1962, 75 students were enrolled. Branson's leadership transitioned the school from an Industrial Education Center to a comprehensive community college.
Dr. Larry K. Linker was named the second president to succeed Merton H. Branson in July 1988. Linker, a native of Cabarrus County, North Carolina, was hired as Agricultural Technology coordinator on July 17, 1963, and had held various administrative positions prior to being named president. Linker obtained his B.S. in Agricultural Education from North Carolina State University, his M.A. in Administration from Appalachian State University, and his Ed.D. from Nova University.
A former high school agriculture teacher and assistant principal, Linker came to his position with a great deal of experience in education and 25 years of service to RCC when he became the second president of the College. Linker was heavily responsible for the establishment of the RCC Foundation as his dissertation was written on establishing a college foundation. Linker worked diligently to secure funds to establish the Associate Degree Nursing program and helped lead the Foundation to the prominence it holds today. During Linker's tenure, the college opened a Computer Technology Center, an Archdale Center, a Photography Imaging Center, a Health and Science Center, Campus Store, addition to the Design Center, and Emergency Services Training Center. Several new programs were added during Linker's tenure including Criminal Justice Technology, Early Childhood Education, and the College's own College Transfer program.
Linker retired in June 2000, yet continued to work until 2003 on a part-time basis to assist with the campaign for a Foundation Conference Center and the JB Davis Bell and Clock Tower. He was named Director Emeritus of the RCC Foundation Board and also was the recipient of the RCC Board of Trustees' Distinguished Service Award in 2003. Linker came out of retirement to become the chief operating officer of the College from March 2006-December 2006. He currently holds the record for years of full-time service to the college with 37 years.
Dr. Larry Keith Linker Dissertation
3rd President (7/1/2000-6/30/2006)
Richard T. "Dick" Heckman was named the third president of the College on May 9, 2000, and began his work on July 1, 2000. An Indiana native, Heckman earned a bachelor's degree in business education and political science and a master's degree in business education and school adminstration from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.
He completed his doctorate in educational leadership and higher education at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky. Prior to becoming president of RCC, Heckman was a business instructor at Hollandale Area High School in Hollandale, Wis.; a graduate assistant at Ball State University; a business instructor at Southeastern Indiana Vocational School in Versailles, Ind.; director of instruction and dean of instructional affairs at Ivy Tech State College in Indiana; and was vice president of instruction at Montcalm Community College in Sidney, Mich.
During Heckman's tenure as president, the Foundation Conference Center was completed and the JB Davis Bell & Clock Tower was installed in 2003. An addition to the Archdale Center was also completed. A Radiography program was established and a cooperative Funeral Services Education (Fayetteville Technical Community College) program also began. Randolph Early College High School also became part of the Randolph Community College campus in 2006 during Heckman's presidency.
Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr.
1993 - Ph.D., Human Development & Family Studies (University of NC at Greensboro) Minors: Higher Education Administration; Sociology
1989 - M.S., Child Development & Family Relations (University of NC at Greensboro)
1976 - M.Div., Theology & Pastoral Care (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC) 1973 B.S., Physical Education (School of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, MO)
1971 - A.S., Secondary Education (Bluefield College, Bluefield, VA )
1969 - High School Diploma, Academic Track (Roxboro High School, Roxboro, NC)
Community & Professional Service
Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr. - Background
Randolph Community College President Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr. assumed leadership of Randolph Community College on January 1, 2007. He was officially inaugurated as the fourth president of Randolph Community College on March 8, 2007, in a ceremony attended by over 200 colleagues, community members, friends and family members at AVS Banquet Centre.
Shackleford formerly served as dean of student services at Randolph Community College from 2000-2003 before taking the vice president of student services position at Rockingham Community College. He first joined Randolph in 1998 as the program head for the Early Childhood Associate curriculum and eventually became chair of the Human Services department. He also taught early childhood education, human development, family studies, sociology, human relations and leadership development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, High Point University, and Gardner-Webb University.
Shackleford earned an associate degree in secondary education from Bluefield College in Bluefield, Va., and a bachelor's degree in physical education from the School of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. He completed his master's degree in child development and family studies and a doctorate in human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
A member of the U.S. Army Reserves from 1985-1992, Shackleford served as battalion chaplain and assistant division chaplain. He served as a chaplain in the North Carolina Air National Guard from 1992 until his retirement in January 2008. From 1997 until his retirement, he was the Wing Chaplain (senior supervisory chaplain) for the 145th Airlift Wing.
Prior to returning to Randolph Community College in 2007, Shackleford was active in leadership roles for the United Way of Rockingham County and the Rockingham County Partnership for Children. He was a member of the Madison-Mayodan Rotary Club, the Rockingham County Mental Health Board, the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium, and was a 2004 graduate of Leadership Rockingham.
During his earlier tenure in Randolph County (1998-2003), he was a member of the Cooperative Extension Advisory Committee, the Business & Education Committee of the Asheboro/Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, the JobLink Career Center Management Team, the Job Service Employer Committee of the Employment Security Commission, the Randolph County Partnership for Children, and the Continuous Improvement Monitoring System Steering Committee of the Randolph County Board of Education. He graduated from Leadership Randolph in 2000.
He attended the Future Presidents Institute in 2005, winning the Herring Fellowship, a scholarship awarded by the North Carolina Community College System Foundation. He is a past member of the advisory board for the North Carolina Network for Excellence in Teaching, the NCCCS Staff Person of the Year Selection Committee, the Student Development Personnel Association, and served as president of the Student Development Administrators Association.
Shackleford is a frequent speaker at local civic clubs, schools and churches, and a regular presenter at professional workshops and conferences. He speaks twice a year to the Student Leadership Institute, a statewide training program for student leaders from community colleges throughout the state.
Shackleford and his wife, Teresa, live in Randleman with their son, Will. He also has two grown children, Kristi and Kori, and one granddaughter, Brianna. Teresa Shackleford is the CEO for Merce Clinic.
Contact President Robert S. Shackleford and his staff:
Office of the President
Randolph Community College
629 Industrial Park Avenue
Asheboro, N.C. 27205