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A Journey Through the Years

Afterword

     As the NRCC history went to press, some sadness prevailed among the NRCC community because we were sorely aware that many of the individuals mentioned in this volume will not be a part of the chapters that will be added later. We have seen the passing of several who were instrumental in forming the culture of the institution—people like Bill Dawson, Bud Long, Lee Oliver, Patricia Goad, T. J. Anderson, Nicky Hillman, Sybil Ferrell, Larry Tibbetts, Sennet Gore, Evelyn Richards, Margaret Moore, and others. In addition, we have seen some retirements and will soon see that number increase as the College’s faculty and staff age.

     Along with the sadness, though, there is excitement about the present and the future of the College. With the new millennium has come a new look at New River Community College because of the extensive refurbishing that began at the end of the 1990’s. The muted golds, tans, and greens in Godbey and Martin Halls have been replaced by crisp pastel paints with accent stripes; the heavy wooden office furniture has been moved out to make way for modern, color-coordinated modular units with “task lighting”; and the student desks and chairs that had survived the years have been replaced by colorful, less soiled furniture.

     Change is evident also in the administrative structure. In the year 2000, Charlie White was named dean of instruction and student services, Patricia B. Huber, chair of the Division of Arts and Sciences, and Mark Hamric, dean of financial and administrative services. White had been with the College for 29 years, serving as biology instructor, chair of the Division of Arts and Sciences, interim dean, and assistant dean of the College. Huber had served as interim division chair when White, former division chair, became dean. She had been employed at the College since 1992. Hamric had served as business manager at the College since 1993.

     It was evident at the beginning of the millennium that the College’s record of exemplary accomplishments would continue. In July 2000, the NRCC Foundation’s assets had exceeded $3 million in value. At that point the Foundation had received its 100th endowed scholarship, which meant that a total of $1,250,000 was permanently invested for annual endowments. One year later the College learned that it had received the largest grant in the institution’s history. The five-year award of $1,749,280 from the U. S. Department of Education came through the Strengthening Institutions Program authorized by Title III of the Higher Education Act. Grant funds would be used to strengthen academic curricula through the integration of technology. Another record was set in April 2002 when it was announced that the College had set an all-time record for student headcount at 4,009.

     Accomplishments by the College’s students were also noteworthy. NRCC Phi Beta Lambda students continued their record of accomplishment in state and national competition. And NRCC freshman Lisa Baker won first place in a nationwide competition sponsored by the Townsend Press Foundation for her essay titled “Taking Charge of My Life.”

     By mid-year of 2002, having already passed the hallmark of the first year and a half of the new millennium, New River Community College has set its course for the next few years. Although the specifics are yet to be determined, that course will likely revolve around at least six major challenges: continuing to excel in the face of severe budget cutbacks, identifying and securing additional outside funding for the instructional program, ensuring continued access for residents of the New River Valley and beyond through electronic learning and partnerships with other educational institutions, addressing workforce development needs, sustaining the College’s technology environment to enhance the teaching and learning process, and continuing strategic planning and assessment efforts.

     It is hoped that whatever challenges or issues move to the forefront within future years, they will exist in an infrastructure which contains remnants of a special culture that was established many years earlier, a culture that will continue to change the lives of those who pass through the doors of NRCC.

     To those whose lives have “written” this history—thank you.

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