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Community College System president addresses BCC

Jack McDuffie Special to the Journal

August 30, 2013

DUBLIN — President of the North Carolina Community College System Scott Ralls was the keynote speaker at Bladen Community College’s Convocation, marking the beginning of the new academic year. In his presentation, he charged attendees to “dare to be naïve.”

He pointed out that though being accused of being naïve is usually considered to be negative, it can and should also be considered with a positive connotation. He explained that to be naïve enough to believe that something can be done when others say it can’t often results in individuals achieving what others consider impossible
Ralls spoke of the contributions of several individuals who had been very instrumental in the establishment and development of the state’s community college system and how their contributions came about because they “dared to be naïve.”
He spoke of Duplin County resident Dallas Herring, who has often been referred to as the “father of the North Carolina Community College System.” He explained that Herring had dared to dream the impossible. He said that as a young child Herring had dared to be naïve in believing that his home county could have a library, and that while still a child he proceeded to establish what became the first library in the county. He stated further that from an early age Herring had believed that total education (education for everyone) was achievable and that he worked throughout his life to ensure that educational opportunity was made available to everyone without regard to race, gender or socio-economic status
Ralls also pointed out that then Gov. Luther Hodges had also believed that it was possible for the state’s economy to expand beyond the industries that at the time provided most of the jobs in the state—textiles, tobacco, furniture and timber. He explained that Hodges as governor had led efforts to establish the first industrial/technical centers around the state to train workers for an expanding job market. Those six centers eventually became the initial building blocks for what is now the Community College System.
Ralls also talked about the vision another former governor, Terry Sanford, whose initiatives ultimately led to the establishment of the Community College System as it exists today.
In conclusion, he charged attendees to not be afraid to accept a challenge because others might consider them “naïve” to do so and of the importance of experiment and trial of new ideas in overcoming obstacles.
BCC President William Findt said he appreciates that Ralls had taken time out of his busy schedule to address the BCC convocation.
“He pointed out the importance of the work of Ms. (Lisa) DeVane and our Phi Theta Kappa chapter in leading an initiative to get our students to commit to completing a credential or degree from the college to help ensure their employment opportunities,” said Findt.
During the convocation, Findt presented awards to three BCC employees. He presented the Excellence in Teaching for Full-time Faculty to English instructor Sara Neeley; the Excellence in Teaching for Adjunct Faculty to chemistry instructor Shanna Harrelson; and the Staff Employee of the Year to Marva Dinkins, who retired on July 1.