DOBSON — Surry Community College President Dr. David Shockley’s message to participants in a community appreciation luncheon was the school can be the answer to Surry and Yadkin counties getting out of the current economic downturn.
The event was held in the Shelton-Badgett Center for Vitaculture and Enology Tuesday.
“We see the difference you make every day in the lives of our students,” Shockley said. “Community college students are not like any others. We have (Early College) students here who are ninth graders and we have students who are seeking to get back on their feet and re-enter the workforce.”
Shockley complimented the support of individual donors to the foundation as well as community, business and industry participants.
“We have a lot of needs for our students in an environment of less support from federal and state sources,” Shockley said. “We work hard to squeeze every dime out of you dollars.”
Foundation Director Marion Venable recalled the excitement at land being cleared for the college. She told the group the foundation was established in 1966 in its mission which continues today, to support scholarships and college initiatives so the whole region has more educational opportunities.
“I’m sure some of you here this afternoon remember the early days of the college. The bond referendum. The charter. The clearing of the land which signaled a new school was coming to Surry County,” said Venable. “Here we are 48 years later supporting students. Today’s event is to honor you for helping us build the foundation for Surry Community College.”
Venable told the crowd the school had received the North Carolina Community College System’s award of excellence for three consecutive years. She said the foundation’s assets stand at $6.6 million, including restricted scholarships, real estate and managed financial accounts.
“It’s been an exciting year for Surry Community. Our 50th anniversary year is so exciting,” foundation President Phyllis Harris told participants. “It is a year for growth and expansion. Your gifts make it possible for students to attend who normally would not. You make lots of things possible for students.”
Venable characterized the purchase of land for the college as “the front door on 601” for the college to give the school a higher profile.
“Over the past months we have lost so many strong supporters,” said Venable. She named Bobby Harold, Marjorie Rees, Jessie Chilton, Vada Martin, Hylton Wright, John Hamilton, Thelma Hutchens, George Jones, Mrs. Clinton Moseley and Dr. Stanley Boyd, all supporters who have died recently.
Venable told the group the foundation continues to act as an advocate for the school and the college has added a web-based scholarship system to cross reference and determine if students are eligible for scholarships.
“We have done the very best we could to honor your gifts,” said Venable. She told the group the school has set a community open house and concert June 6 with open house on the Dobson campus from 4-6 p.m. and a concert featuring the “Carolina Breakers” at 6 p.m.
Shockley outlined the school can act as a means to encourage economic development in the region. He said the school was trying to re-tool itself to give students the skills for good jobs which already exist. He said the college’s ongoing renovations to the old shop or S Building were to create a state of the art welding and machine shop. He said SCC was working with businesses which are coming back or relocating to the area.
“The long range economic development plan has to be with our children,” said Shockley citing college programs cooperating with public schools. “It’s all of the supporters you can’t replicate. It’s the people and the support of the foundation and communities which makes the difference. Basic funding for all of us (community colleges) is the same. don’t ever underestimate your ability to make a difference individually and on a grand scale.”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.