The Board of Trustees Distinguished Service Award was established in 2002. Nominations were originally received by the Resource Development Committee, chaired by Board of Trustee Member Dr. Alan Luria.
The nomination criteria states that the award recipient must be an individual, group, or organization that has made a long-term, consistent commitment that is extraordinary and has had visible impact or result directly related to support of the mission of Randolph Community College.
Randolph Health was honored for served Randolph Community College in a variety of ways, including the RCC Foundation Board; health program advisory committees; participation in RCC Foundation events; participation in RCC’s bi-annual President’s Community Advisory Council; helping to develop the healthcare pathway in partnership with Asheboro City Schools and Randolph County School System as part of the Pathways to Prosperity program; providing clinical sites for RCC students; transitioning its relationship with Winston-Salem State University to the College so that it could be a part of RCC’s University Center; hiring many RCC graduates; helping to fill RCC instructor vacancies; expanding opportunities for certified nursing assistants; and being heavily involved in the planning for the Dr. Robert S. Shackeford Allied Health.
In 2007, RCC’s Nursing program was experiencing the greatest transition and challenges in that program’s history, Randolph Health provided major support to the College to help ease that transition.
Randolph Health Chief Executive Officer Angela Orth and Tremonteo Crawford, vice president and chief nursing officer, accepted the award along with about 15 other staff members.
An RCC Foundation Board member and longtime, generous supporter of the College, Hoover has been a member of the RCC Foundation Board since 2008 and served as president of that group from 2013 to 2015. Hoover won a Council for Resource Development Benefactor of the Year award in 2014, a national award for community college resource development volunteers. She was instrumental in the Foundation’s highly successful Dancing with the Randolph Stars event. “As president of the Foundation board, she played a huge part in those years’ record-breaking annual campaigns, even dressing up as a pirate one year to encourage participation. In 2018, RCC’s Welcome Center was renamed the Ann Hoover Welcome Center.
Dr. Luria served on the RCC Board of Trustees from July 1999 until June 2014 and also served on RCC’s Foundation Board. He was instrumental in founding RCC’s Student Leadership Academy, which was renamed for him and Dr. Stuart Fountain, the other founding donor. His record of financial support for the Foundation meant that, at the 2016 Nursing pinning, nine of the 27 students graduating had received some assistance from scholarships he had supported.
PEMMCO President Rick Powell and PEMMCO Manufacturing, an Asheboro-based manufacturer of precision machine parts, has been a model partner with us as we continue to create opportunities and changes lives for RCC students. Over the years, PEMMCO has hired a number of the College’s graduates and continually provides feedback on the performance of those graduates so that RCC can improve its programs. PEMMCO has made numerous contributions to the RCC Foundation, and Powell appeared in a video supporting the College’s 2015 capital budget request to the Randolph County Commissioners. They have also provided numerous support letters for grant applications and are an Apprenticeship Randolph partner.
Dr. Stuart B. Fountain was honored by the Randolph Community College Board of Trustees on Aug. 12 with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award. The award was presented at a special reception hosted by the Board of Trustees at the Foundation Conference Center on the Asheboro Campus.
Dr. Fountain, a retired local dentist and a member of the North Carolina Community College Board, was in attendance along with his wife, Carol, and son, David. Dr. Fountain is currently chair of the Planning Committee and vice chair of the Excellence in Teaching Award Committee at the state board. He previously served as chair of the full board from 2011-2013 and chair of the Policy Committee from 2007-2011.
RCC Board of Trustees Chair Mac Sherrill noted that in his state board role, Dr. Fountain “is able to work with state and local leaders to be an advocate of the community college system.”
On the local level, Dr. Fountain was a member of the RCC Foundation Board from 2007 to 2013. During that time, he served on several Foundation committees and helped with interviews for the Foundation Ambassadors. In 2011, he participated as a dancer in the Foundation’s Dancing with the Randolph Stars fundraiser. He also has co-sponsored the College’s Student Leadership Academy for eight years.
In addition, Dr. Fountain has been an active member of the Randolph County Hospice Board, a member of the Asheboro City Council, active member of First United Methodist Church in Asheboro, Rotary District Governor, past president of the N.C. Dental Society and the American Endodontic Society, vice president of the American Dental Association, and served on the faculty of the N.C. School of Dentistry at UNC-Chapel Hill.
One of his most recent notable awards was the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, presented by the Governor of North Carolina to honor persons who have a proven record of service to the State of North Carolina or some other special achievement.
In his remarks, Dr. Fountain noted that in 1981 when he first became involved with community colleges, the schools were typically regarded as trade schools. “Now we are regarded by the university system as an equal partner in education,” he said. “I am now in my 34th year of working with community colleges and it has been a wonderful ride. The world is full of people who couldn’t care less. What I like about community colleges is that they are full of folks who couldn’t care more.”
Presenting the hand-carved acrylic “R” sculpture representing RCC’s logo to Dr. Fountain were Sherrill; Curt Lorimer, chair of the Trustees’ Resource Development Committee; and RCC President Robert S. Shackleford.
Wanda C. Brown retired from Randolph Community College as executive assistant to the president and Board of Trustees, and was the recipient of the RCC Board of Trustees 2013 Distinguished Service Award, presented at a special dinner before the Board’s July 18, 2013 annual meeting on the Asheboro Campus.
Brown was in attendance to accept the award, along with her husband, Wade; her daughter, Donna, and son-in-law, Eric Hill; grandsons, Ryan and Ross; close friends, Lanson and Rebecca Cox and Leverette and Brenda Strider; and friend and former co-worker, Marie Miller. Trustee Emeriti Martha Johnson and Jack Lail, both former DSA recipients, were also present for the ceremony.
Brown joined RCC in September 1982 as the part-time secretary to the director of the Associate Degree Nursing program. In 1987, Brown became the administrative assistant to the executive vice president for administrative services. She served in that role for one year and then became the executive assistant to the president in 1988 until her retirement in 2013.
“Her dedication to RCC, the students, and the community was evident each day by consistently performing her job duties through thoroughness, dedication, and most of all, integrity,” said Trustee Chair Mac Sherrill, in presenting the award. “She daily represented RCC and the president’s office in a professional manner, and she quickly earned respect from all areas of the College, the Board of Trustees, local partners, elected officials, and the community at-large.”
Also during her tenure as executive assistant, Brown served as the elected secretary to the RCC Foundation Board of Directors for 20 years, serving as a non-voting member on all Foundation committees. In 2008, Brown was chosen as the recipient of the Southern Regional Professional Board Staff Award by the Association of Community College Trustees.
In addition to her work at RCC, Brown was active in the community, serving four terms on the local State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board, two years as chair of that board. She is also active and dedicated to her church, Center Cross Baptist Church, where she has served as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School director, member of various church committees, and Assistant Sunday School secretary. Brown has been the church pianist for 52 years.
Presenting the hand-carved acrylic “R” sculpture representing RCC’s logo to Brown were Sherrill; Curt Lorimer, chair of the Resource Development Committee; and RCC President Robert Shackleford.
Jack Lail, retired Randolph Community College Board member and Trustee Emeritus, was the recipient of the RCC Board of Trustees 2012 Distinguished Service Award, presented at a special dinner before Board’s September meeting on the Asheboro Campus.
Lail was in attendance to accept the award, along with his wife, Betty, and two of his sons, Brent and his wife, Megan; and Dean and his wife, Kay. Trustee Emeritus Martha Johnson, a former DSA recipient, was also present for the ceremony.
Lail became associated with Randolph Community College when he was hired as a part-time instructor in the mid-1960s. From 1982 to 1994, Lail was a member of the Board of Directors of the RCC Foundation, where he served as vice president and president. He later served another 2 1/2-year term on the Foundation Board during his time as chairman of the RCC Board of Trustees.
Lail was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1995 by the Governor of North Carolina and served four four-year terms. During his time with the Board, he served as chair of the Budget & Finance Building & Grounds Committee, as well as vice chair and chair of the full Board. He retired from the Board in August 2011.
“Jack’s total service to Randolph Community College in board memberships was over 30 years,” said Mac Sherrill, Trustee chair, in presenting the award. In January 2012, Lail was awarded the designation of Trustee Emeritus, which is a lifetime honorary position, said Sherrill. “On the 50th anniversary of RCC, the Board agreed that it would be very fitting to present Jack Lail the Board of Trustees’ Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his long-term commitment, support, and service to RCC.”
Presenting the hand-carved acrylic “R” sculpture representing RCC’s logo to Lail were Sherrill; Curt Lorimer, chair of the Resource Development Committee; and RCC President Robert Shackleford. When President Shackleford was asked for a quote for the presentation, he stated, “Jack Lail is a leader whose presence makes a huge impact wherever he serves—whether in education, business and industry, or the community. Some people leave footsteps behind them; Jack leaves a legacy.”
J. B. Davis, retired president and CEO of Klaussner Furniture, former RCC employee and long-time supporter of the College, was the recipient of the Randolph Community College Board of Trustees 2011 Distinguished Service Award, presented at the Board's annual meeting on July 14, 2011 on the Asheboro Campus.
Davis was in attendance to accept the award, along with his wife, Claire, and several family members including their sons, Jeff and Rad and his wife, Anita; and his sister and her husband, Dremia and David Meier. Trustee Emeritus N.C. Senator Jerry Tillman, a former recipient, and his wife, Marian, were also present for the ceremony.
Davis was originally employed by RCC in 1968, when the school was known as Randolph Technical Institute, to supervise the Adult Basic Education program, said Jim Campbell, RCC Board of Trustees chairman, reading from a letter then President M.H. Branson wrote on Davis' behalf. "But his interest, ability and performance caused the administration to elevate him to a more responsible position in July of 1969, which was counselor in the Student Personnel Division and later to director of student relations."
While at RTI, Davis suggested starting an athletic program, continued Campbell, and a baseball team was established. "JB has a passion for whatever he is involved in," said Campbell. "He has never forgotten from whence he came and he has been a loyal supporter of Randolph Technical Institute, Randolph Technical College, Randolph Community College, and the Randolph Community College Foundation. He was a Foundation Corporate Board member in the 1990s."
The J.B. Davis Bell Clock Tower, erected in front of the Foundation Conference Center in 2003, was funded by Hans Klaussner, officers and senior officials of Klaussner Furniture, and all the affiliate companies, as a lasting tribute to him. Funds collected by Klaussner and its affiliates also provided landscaping around the clock tower and established the J.B. Davis Scholarship Fund that provides a scholarship annually to an RCC technical or vocational program student.
Campbell also pointed out that Davis was very instrumental in RCC being able to pursue the purchase of the old Klaussner Furniture warehouse on Industrial Park Avenue through the Randolph County Board of Commissioners. That building became known as RCC's Continuing Education and Industrial Center.
Presenting the hand-carved acrylic "R" sculpture representing RCC's logo to Davis were Campbell; Curt Lorimer, chair of the Resource Development Committee; and RCC President Robert Shackleford. When President Shackleford was asked for quote for the presentation, he stated, "J.B.'s commitment to Randolph Community College is indisputable and has left a lasting legacy. His friendship and support are a blessing we treasure."
"I'm a little bit overwhelmed," said Davis as he accepted the honor. "I love this school." He told how he and his sister, Dremia, used to spend time on the school property, before it was a school, exploring around the old gold mines and airport. He spoke of his "very gratifying" work with the basic skills students and the pleasure he took in going out and recruiting students for the College's early programs. "I have a great affinity for this place," he said.
The Interior Design program was Randolph Community College’s first “specialty” program. It was established in 1967 when the College was known as Randolph Technical Institute. The Associate in Applied Science degree was the only one of its kind in North Carolina and was part of a five-year plan to establish an Art & Design division at RTI. Slack joined RTI’s program in 1971 as an instructor and for the next 28 years he devoted his life to building and developing the program. Other community colleges in North Carolina, and in other states, still look to RCC’s Interior Design program as a model for their own programs.
Slack was instrumental in developing the annual Interior Design Showcase, a staple of the program from the first model room designed at the Southern Living Show in 1972 until Slack retired on Dec. 31, 1999. For the annual showcase, which served as a hands-on learning project for the students in lieu of an internship, students were broken into teams and often designed an entire house on a tight budget. Slack also involved students from other RCC programs in the project, such as Electrical students to rewire outlets and lighting in a house and Floriculture students to provide plants and floral arrangements. Numerous companies in Asheboro and the surrounding area donated materials or loaned furnishing for the annual showcase projects. Tickets were sold for public viewings for each showcase, with the proceeds used to fund the next year’s project. Slack has remained involved with RCC following his retirement by donating several paintings for various fundraisers for the College and the RCC Foundation, most recently with his “Jumping Off Rock” print in 2006. He also created the mold for the College’s original ceramic and later pottery Lamp of Learning that was previously given to RCC employees when they retired from the College. His rendering of a Lamp of Learning (created over 10 years ago) is now framed and used as the retiree plaque at RCC.
Martha L. Johnson was the recipient of the Randolph Community College Board of Trustees 2009 Distinguished Service Award, presented at the Board's annual meeting on July 16, 2009, at the Foundation Conference Center on the Asheboro Campus.
Johnson, longtime community leader and former RCC trustee, and several of her family members were present for the award presentation. Also attending were North Carolina Representatives Pat Hurley and Harold Brubaker and North Carolina Senator Jerry Tillman.
Johnson was originally appointed to the Randolph Technical Institute Board in 1976 by N.C. Governor James Holshouser Jr. to replace her father (the late Ivey Luck) for the 6 1/2 years remaining on his term. Johnson was then reappointed to the Board for one eight-year term and four four-year terms by the Randolph County Board of Education. Her total service as a member of the RCC Board was 31 years and six months; she retired on June 30, 2007, and she was awarded the status of Trustee Emeritus in November 2007.
RCC Board Chair Jim Campbell presented the award, noting that Johnson saw many changes in the College campus as well as its curriculum offerings during her tenure on the Board. "Martha saw the College's name change from Randolph Technical Institute to Randolph Technical College to Randolph Community College and she witnessed the development of two off-campus centers," said Campbell. "When the RCC Foundation began its campaign to build the Foundation Conference Center in 2000, Martha was a major donor for this project. She is currently a member of the Foundation's President's Circle and is recognized as a member of the Platinum Donors' Club on the Foundation's donor wall…We certainly appreciate her dedication to RCC and its endeavors."
RCC President Robert Shackleford said, "If you searched the entire county, you could not find anyone with a kinder heart or a more giving soul than Martha Johnson. We are honored to have her as a friend and supporter of RCC."
Senator Jerry W. Tillman was presented the 2008 Distinguished Service Award by the Randolph Community College Board of Trustees during their annual meeting on July 17, 2008.
Tillman was present to accept the award, accompanied by his wife, Marian, and son, Patrick. "I am humbled and pleased and honored to accept this award," said Tillman, who described RCC as "the greatest resource Randolph County has." He was presented with a hand-carved, acrylic "R" sculpture representing RCC's logo, about which he commented "I will cherish this above anything I have received that I have on my wall."
Tillman was originally appointed to the RCC Board of Trustees on July 1, 1973, by the Randolph County Board of Commissioners and was reappointed by the commissioners for six terms. He served 29 years and 7 months as a member of the board and served as vice chair of the board for 3 years and served as chair for 4 1/2 years. Because of his long and distinguished service, he was awarded the status of Trustee Emeritus by the RCC board in 2007.
During his years as chairman of the RCC Board of Trustees from 1998-2003, the college received reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, celebrated its 40th anniversary, constructed the Health & Science Center, added an addition to the Design Center, added Building B to the Archdale Center, constructed the free-standing Campus Store, constructed the Emergency Services Training Center, and conducted the capital campaign for the construction of the Foundation Conference Center. The Foundation Conference Center was under construction and almost complete when Tillman retired from the board in January of 2003 to assume his position as a North Carolina Senator representing Randolph and Montgomery counties. Tillman has continued to support the College through the years since 2003, and has spoken at numerous graduation ceremonies and events.
Considered “the father of Randolph Community College,” the Asheboro industrialist, business, and civic leader, though having no formal role with the college, was a member of the State Board of Education in 1957 when the goal of establishing technical centers popped up at the state level. He was one of several at the State Board responsible for establishing the technical centers across the state, paving the way for Randolph County to be selected as a site for one of the early Industrial Education Centers. He worked closely with Dallas Herring and Wade Martin in Raleigh to see the Industrial Education Centers established that eventually evolved into the 58 community colleges we have today. A native of Randolph County, he was the son of Acme-McCrary Hosiery Mill’s founder, D. B. McCrary. McCrary was a service-oriented individual and held many prestigious positions, such as chairman of the board of Acme-McCrary Corporation, chairman of the board of Marlowe Manufacturing Company of Florence, S.C., vice president of Sapona Manufacturing Company, chairman of the Asheboro Board of Wachovia Bank and Trust Company, chairman of the National Association of Hosiery Manufacturers, president of Asheboro Public Library, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Asheboro Rotary Club. McCrary served on the City Board of Education from 1936-1956 and was chairman from 1941-1956 until he was appointed by Governor Luther Hodges as a member of the State Board of Education, on which he served until 1965. He and his father helped to establish Randolph Hospital and was president of the board from 1946-1976 and also held the position of vice president of the board until his death in 1984.
The recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Service Award was presented to the past and present Randolph County boards of commissioners. At the presentation, held at Randolph Community College’s Emergency Services Training Center on September 21, 2006, Jim Campbell, RCC Board of Trustees chairman, cited several specific instances of support from the county commission, including providing the original land for the development of the 33,000 square foot building to house the Randolph Industrial Education Center in the early 1960s. He noted that the county commission supported the institution with operational monies as well as capital funding through appropriations, bond referendums, and COPS agreements through its evolution from the Randolph Industrial Education Center to Randolph Technical Institute, Randolph Technical College, and then to its present name.
Early on, the Board of Commissioners developed a deep appreciation for the training RCC could provide to Business and Industry, which played a major role in recruiting Goodyear, Timken, as well as other new business and industry, to Randolph County.
Campbell made a special mention of the support of past and present county managers Frank Willis and Richard Wells. He also pointed out that in 1997, the county board gave RCC the 60-acre tract of land for the Emergency Services Training Center and helped fund the center through a Certificates of Participation (COPS) agreement.
Marvin T. Caviness was born in Moore County, North Carolina, was a graduate and senior class president of Elise Academy and attended Guilford College. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Cowpens, in the Pacific theater. He worked at Cone Mills in Greensboro after high school and on the weekends as a policeman for the City of Greensboro. In 1946, Marvin co-founded Asheboro Plumbing and Heating Company with his beloved brother, Dewey Caviness Sr. and retired after 56 years at the age of 88. Marvin was considered an unofficial goodwill ambassador of Asheboro and a humanitarian who loved everyone. He was a faithful volunteer in his community. He was an active member of the Kiwanis Club for 55 years, serving as president in 1968. In 1996, he received the prestigious Hixson Fellow Award from Kiwanis International. His community involvement continued as he served on the Board of Planters National Bank, now First Bank. In 1976, he served as president of the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce.
He was also one of Randolph Community College’s biggest fans and supported the College until his death in 2012 at age 98. In 1976, while serving as President of the Asheboro-Randolph Chamber of Commerce, he was appointed to co-chair a committee with Mrs. Sue Joyner to serve as a task force to better acquaint the public with the purposes and concept of Randolph Technical Institute and to garner public support for the school’s needs. The committee, which was known as “Citizens Concerned for Construction Needs at Randolph Technical Institute,” divided the county into six geographical areas and canvassed the county to educate and inform citizens of the construction needs at the school. The committee worked diligently between the years 1976-1978 and in February 1977, made a presentation to the Randolph County Commissioners on behalf of the college to fully fund the institution’s needs for the next fiscal year. The committee requested $2.8 million for a Learning Resources Center, Vocational/Technical Center, and Student Services Center. The committee’s efforts were largely the reason for the passage of a $2.5 million bond referendum for the college which passed in 1978. Caviness served for 24 years on the Randolph Community College Foundation Board from 1979-2003 and was a charter member. In 1983, he received an Honorary Associates Degree from Randolph Technical College.
He was named the first Director Emeritus of the Foundation in 2004. Caviness also served 8 years on the Randolph Community College Board of Trustees from 1996-2004. Marvin worked many years to support the College and the College Foundation with his words, deeds, financial support, as well has through his many community connections. Marvin was a genuine, sincere and loving individual and an asset to his family, friends, church, and community. He attended many college functions and events into his late 90s and provided the invocation at many functions.
All three of these men were leaders in the development of RCC’s well-known and nationally recognized Photographic Technology Program. They worked together to promote this program during its formative years as well as during its continuous growth. Howell came on board in 1970 and served until his untimely death in 1990 and Allen was hired in 1974 to develop the new Photofinishing curriculum and remained at the College until his retirement in 1994. While these faculty members were not the first instructors of the Photography Department at Randolph Technical Institute, they were the ones who established the model for what is now the Department of Photographic Technology at Randolph Community College.
Robert A. “Bob” Heist’s employment with Randolph Community College began in August 1969 and continued for 31 years until his retirement on December 31, 2000. Heist, a graduate of Westbury Senior High School in Westbury, New York, received his Bachelor in Science degree in Professional Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Prior to his employment with Randolph Technical Institute, Heist was employed for a short while at Key Color Laboratories. In 1969, as a recent college graduate and in his early 20s, Bob Heist was hired as a Photography Instructor for Randolph Technical Institute. Heist brought to the program, which has only been in existence since 1968, the photographic expertise required to construct photographic laboratory and studio spaces in what were existing general purpose classrooms in the Administration/Education Center. He also provided the technical background in photography for which the program would become widely known. Heist served as Department Chair of the Photography program from 1987 until 2000 and will always be remembered at RCC for his ability to juggle teaching and chair duties and perform admirably at both, his photography expertise, his ability to maintain outside contacts that increased the visibility of the Photography program and his advocacy for the needs of the Photography Department and its students.
Jerry Howell’s employment with Randolph Community College began in August of 1970 and continued until his death on July 26, 1990. Jerry Howell was a graduate of Greenville High School, served as an Intelligence Specialist in the U.S. Army and received a Bachelor in Arts degree from Duke University. He also received his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro plus completed other special studies in art. Prior to his employment with Randolph Community College, Howell was a self-employed photographer and worked with Alderman Studios in High Point, the National Parks Service and taught Art Appreciation at East Carolina University. In 1970, when Howell joined Randolph Technical Institute, he provided the artistic facet of the Photography curriculum. He served as the Photography Department Chair from 1973-1987. His clear logic and his natural talent for long range planning helped him to see not only the present but well into the future. Long before his death in 1990, he had already completed the initial planning for what is now the Photographic Imaging Center. Jerry Howell will always be remembered at RCC his outstanding experience with and knowledge of various aspects of photography, his high expectations of the students and himself, and his dedication to the Photography program and its development.
Cecil Allen’s employment with Randolph Community College began in February 1974 and continued until his retirement on August 31, 1994. Allen was a graduate of Tallapoosa High School in Georgia and attended Georgia State College and served in the U.S. Army. Prior to his employment with Randolph Technical Institute, Allen was employed as a production manager at Hewett Studio in Atlanta, as well as other photography related positions with GAF, Alderman Studios and Ansco and his own personal business. In 1974, Cecil Allen was hired to establish a diploma Photofinishing program at Randolph Technical Institute because of his excellent reputation as a photofinisher, his extensive experience with the different types of equipment used in the industry, his contacts in the photographic industry, as well as, his interest in the program through his service as an advisory board member. In 1986, the Photofinishing program was expanded to a two-year degree program, largely because of the photofinishing industry’s need to hire employees with expanded knowledge offered by such a program. Photofinishing became an integral part of the total photographic curriculum and even though it was discontinued in 1999, a large portion of the curriculum and the present lab facility still reflects Cecil Allen’s philosophy toward lab operation and instruction. Allen passed away in November of 2002 and will always be remembered at RCC for his knowledge, gentle spirit and his love for the students which was shown by helping them to learn in a variety of ways.
Each of these men brought their own talents and abilities to the College. They brought focus and commitment necessary to make the photography program into a true force in the photographic community. Together these men established the curriculum and brought together the resources that have made the Department of Photographic Technology a destination for students and professionals from across North Carolina and around the world.
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 served in various administrative capacities over the next 37+ years.
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. 37 of Larry Linker’s 43 years with the State were spent with Randolph Community College. Dr. Linker was hired as Agricultural Technology Coordinator in July 1963 and was promoted to Director, Vocational-Technical Programs from 1964-1971, Director of Instruction from 1971-1972, Assistant to the President for Fiscal Affairs from 1972-1973, Vice President and Business Manager from 1973-1975, and Executive Vice President for Administrative Services from 1975-1988. He grew with the College, held several positions of responsibility and ended up leading the College as President the last 12 years of his career from 1988-2000. He then served as President Emeritus/Foundation Consultant from 2000-2001. During Dr. Linker’s RCC career, the name of the College changed three times, program offerings increased tremendously, 9 new buildings were constructed and there were 4 expansions to existing buildings.
As 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. One of Dr. Linker’s major accomplishments while at RCC was the creation of a Foundation to support the College and its programs. Dr. Linker wrote his doctoral dissertation about the creation of a Foundation and used his research to create the Randolph Community College Foundation Inc. in 1979. The Foundation’s assets total almost $7 million as of 2003. These assets provide scholarships for students, support to program areas and provide a “margin of excellence” for the College that is greatly needed in these budget crisis times. 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 curriculum programs were added during Linker's tenure including Criminal Justice Technology, Information Systems, Spanish Interpreter Education, Archaeological and Historical Preservation Technology, Microcomputer Systems Technology, Early Childhood Education, the College's own College Transfer program (Associate in Arts degree) and a host of cooperative programs with other community colleges across the state. Curriculum programs were also initiated at the Archdale Center during Linker’s tenure. Between 1995-1997, Linker steered the College through a statewide reengineering process that converted the school from the quarter to the semester system and led the College through a reaccreditation process by the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools in 1989 and 1999.
Linker retired in June 2000, yet continued to work until 2002 as President Emeritus/Foundation Consultant on a part-time basis to assist with the campaign for the construction of a Foundation Conference Center and the J. B. 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/Interim President 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.
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, having served in the U.S. Army, 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 was a member of the Asheboro Rotary Club and Lions Club.
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 on July 1, 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 offered 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 during his tenure and Branson served on the Foundation Board of Directors for 9 years. 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 1984. The M. H. Branson scholarship was established by Everready Battery Company and Asheboro Builders’ Supply in 1986 through the RCC Foundation. This scholarship was fully funded through donations received, in his honor, from fellow educators and friends when he retired from RCC. This scholarship still honors him annually by awarding a scholarship to a deserving student at RCC.
A Business Education Center which was named in Branson's memory in February 1996, was completed just before he retired in 1988. And the College also opened a Small Business Center within the Asheboro Chamber of Commerce in 1985 and an Archdale Extension office on Trindale Road in 1984.
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.
There are very few individuals who have done more for RCC than J. W. Plummer, an Asheboro building contractor and civic leader. As a public servant who volunteered 33 years of his life to serve on the Board of Trustees, he had a deep passion and love for the college and was loyal to it for many, many years. His strong interest in the College’s mission and interest in student success were his hallmarks.
J. W. Plummer served his country in World War II in the US Navy as a Seabee and was a charter member and the first chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Randolph Industrial Education Center (Randolph Community College) when the board was organized in October 1963. He served as chairman from 1963-1968 and 1973-1996 before his health forced him to step down from the board in early 1997. He served a total of 33 years on the board, led the Board through the College’s period of immense growth, and has been the longest serving chairman to date with 28 years of service as Chair. In 1983, the College honored him by renaming the Vocational/Technical Center the J. W. “Willie” Plummer Vocational/Technical Center. He donated 84 books to the RCC library between 1981-1997 in memory of well-known people in the community. Upon Plummer’s death in 1997, Richard Pugh stated, "He was probably as dedicated to doing something for Randolph County as anyone I've ever known. He did a lot of things for people that nobody knows about."
In reference to J. W. Plummer receiving the Distinguished Service Award, then Board of Trustees Chairman Jerry Tillman referred to both Plummer and retired president Merton Branson and said, “Both of these men were leaders of the college and worked together to promote the college during its formative years as well as during its many years of growth.” Plummer was a 12-year member of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners on which he served as Vice-Chairman and was a 12-year member of the Asheboro City School Board. He was on the Selective Service Draft Board, a member of the Asheboro Lion's Club, and on the board of directors of Farmers Mutual Insurance. In 1979, he also helped to establish the RCC Foundation and served as a charter member of the RCC Foundation Board of Directors and served on the board from 1980-1997. Upon his death, the J.W. “Willie” & Frances Plummer scholarship was established with the Randolph Community College Foundation to provide scholarship funds for students.