Author of “Blood Done Sign My Name” To Speak at VGCC Adult Basic Skills Commencement


Vance-Granville Community College will hold commencement exercises dedicated exclusively to new graduates of Adult Basic Skills programs on Thursday, May 4. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.

Those being honored at the ceremony will include students who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.

Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, an author and professor who spent part of his childhood in Oxford, will serve as the guest speaker. Tyson is currently Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School. He also holds a faculty position in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His most recent book is The Blood of Emmett Till, published early this year.

Tyson is the author of Blood Done Sign My Name, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Southern Book Award for Nonfiction and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. His Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power was the winner of the James Rawley Prize for the best book on race and the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the best first book in U.S. history from the Organization of American Historians. His Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, published with David S. Cecelski with a foreword by Dr. John Hope Franklin, won the 1999 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina NAACP and the board of advisors for the UNC Center for Civil Rights.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating students during the ceremony will be Spencer Bojan Boyd of Oxford. Boyd completed the Adult High School Diploma program online and is already enrolled in the College Transfer program at VGCC. Boyd is a native of Serbia and was adopted at the age of six by a family in Johnston County, who later moved to Granville County. He was born without a right leg and with a distorted left leg, which was later amputated. Boyd’s future plan is to continue his education at the four-year level and become a certified prosthetist in order to help other amputees.


VGCC Summer Bridge program accepting applicants

Vance-Granville Community College is now accepting applications from incoming first-year students for the “Summer Bridge” program.

Summer Bridge is a three-week program designed to enhance a student’s transition from high school to college and prepare them to be successful during their freshman year at VGCC. The program is scheduled for Monday through Friday, July 10-July 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.

The program is completely free of charge, including lunch each day, and is conducted at VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. All incoming first-year students who will be attending the college in the fall 2017 semester (which starts in August) and who are North Carolina residents are eligible to participate.

During the program, students will be enrolled in the Success & Study Skills (ACA 115) course, participate in an academic enrichment class and learn about campus support resources in a fun and engaging environment.

The ACA 115 course provides an orientation to campus resources and the academic skills necessary to achieve educational objectives. Emphasis is placed on an exploration of facilities and services, study skills, library skills, self-assessment, wellness, goal-setting and critical thinking.

“Summer Bridge is an excellent opportunity for students to get a head start by gaining the tools and the preparation that will help them succeed during that critical first year of college,” said Jeffrey Allen, VGCC’s dean of enrollment and outreach.

Participants must first apply to VGCC and take the North Carolina Diagnostic and Placement (NC DAP) test prior to enrolling in the Summer Bridge program.

Students are encouraged to register for the program online at

For more information, contact Allen at [email protected] or 252-738-3405.


Students graduate from VGCC Tea class

Vance-Granville Community College recently celebrated the graduation of students from a class called “Tea and Etiquette.”

The class held its final meeting and graduation ceremony on April 4 with an afternoon tea party planned and carried out by the students at the First Presbyterian Church of Henderson. Several different types of tea, as well as savories, scones and sweets were on the menu. Graduates included Barbara Paro of Butner; Sue Eckard of Creedmoor; Kishia Jones and Pat Miller, both of Henderson; Susan Cox, Dawn Lemons and Lynn Patiky, all of Oxford; and Kaydee Karns of Stem. The instructor was Dr. B.K. McCloud of Oxford. This was the seventeenth time that VGCC has offered the class, since it was founded by the late Constance Lue in 2006.

McCloud reported at the party that three of the eight graduates enrolled in the class after reading about it in a letter to the editor of the national “TeaTime” magazine.

In the course, students learn about the history of tea; the difference between an afternoon tea party, a royal tea party and “High Tea”; and the proper way to make the best pot of tea. They have tastings of a wide variety of teas (black, white, green, Oolongs and herbal) at each class meeting. Beyond the specifics of teas, students study grace, civility and etiquette.

For information about future tea classes, contact Gail Clark at (252) 738-3385 or [email protected].


Retired judge, wife endow scholarship at VGCC

Henry Banks, who recently retired as chief judge of the North Carolina Ninth Judicial District Court bench, and his wife, Mamie B. Banks, recently established a new scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College.

Residents of Henderson, Judge Banks held court in Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties as a district judge for almost 21 years, while Mrs. Banks is a longtime educator, currently teaching in the Exceptional Children’s department at Northern Vance High School. She actually started her own higher education at VGCC, taking general education courses at the college before transferring to North Carolina Central University to complete a bachelor’s degree in education and, later, a master’s degree in special education.

Judge Banks also received both his undergraduate and law degrees from NCCU. He practiced law for many years in Henderson and served on the Henderson City Council for 13 years.

In awarding the new J. Henry and Mamie Banks Academic Achievement Scholarship, preference will be given first to students in the VGCC Paralegal Technology degree program, and secondly to students preparing to become teachers, either in the Early Childhood Education program or in the College Transfer program.

Judge Banks said that in addition to his wife’s experience in the teaching profession, he has always had a passion for education, as well. “We’re endowing this scholarship to provide financial support to help people pursue their dreams,” he said. “Because of my career, I know there is a particular need for qualified paralegals in our area.” Mrs. Banks added that she and her husband hope their contributions will encourage others to donate to the community college and help area residents gain education and training.

“We are so grateful to Judge and Mrs. Banks for their support of VGCC students,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “Their examples of public service, both in the law and in education, will inspire students who receive the scholarship in their name for years to come. Not only the scholarship recipients, but also their families, their employers and their communities will benefit from the Banks family’s generosity.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 8,800 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.


VGCC registering students for summer Science Camp

Vance-Granville Community College will offer a Science Camp for local middle school students this summer at the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. The camp will be held Monday-Friday, June 12-16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Rising sixth, seventh and eighth-graders from Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties are invited to participate in the week-long camp.

Sessions will be taught by faculty members from the VGCC Science Department and other college programs. The VGCC Science Camp is now in its seventh year. “We will have fun, hands-on activities that involve various sciences and allow campers to explore STEM career fields like electronics, pharmacy and biotechnology,” said VGCC Science Department Chair Steve McGrady. “Our outstanding VGCC faculty members collaborate each year to make this a learning experience that is unlike anything available in our four-county area.”

The cost to attend the camp is $125, which includes lunch each day and a camp T-shirt.

The deadline to register for Science Camp is May 12. Parents can now register their campers online at

For more information, contact Steve McGrady at (252) 738-3339 or [email protected]


VGCC, Warren Library partner for discussion of Tennessee Williams & “The Glass Menagerie”

Vance-Granville Community College is partnering with the Warren County Memorial Library to present a program on playwright Tennessee Williams and his classic drama, “The Glass Menagerie,” which the college is preparing to stage as a dinner theater event.

The educational program is scheduled for Monday, April 17, from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the library on South Front Street in Warrenton. The event is free and open to the public. Betsy Henderson, VGCC’s Department Chair/Instructor of Humanities and Fine Arts, will make a presentation and lead a discussion on Williams (1911–1983) and the play, including its poetic elements, in celebration of April as National Poetry Month.

Henderson will also talk about VGCC’s upcoming production of “The Glass Menagerie,” which she is directing. The college’s fifth annual Dinner Theater is scheduled for the evenings of Thursday, April 27, and Friday, April 28, in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County.

First staged in 1944, “The Glass Menagerie” is based in part on Tennessee Williams’s own memories of his family. In 1945, the play premiered on Broadway, won the prestigious New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for the best American play of the year, and launched Williams to fame.

Henderson has an MFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was VGCC’s 2005 Instructor of the Year. As an actress, Henderson has worked professionally with Raleigh Ensemble Players (REP), Deep Dish Theatre Company, Burning Coal Theatre Company, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Theatre of the American South, Hot Summer Nights @ the Kennedy, Temple Theatre, and Justice Theatre Project. Henderson has toured nationally with productions of “Miracle Worker,” portraying Annie Sullivan, and “Diary of Anne Frank,” portraying Mrs. Frank. Her performance in REP’s “Distracted” in 2011 was recognized by the Independent Weekly as one of the Best Lead Performances of the year. Henderson has served on local theatre boards of directors, and as a faculty member for Cary’s Applause Youth Theatre. She is currently vice-chair of the board of directors of Granville Little Theatre, as well as the chair of the GLT education committee. She has also been the Creative Director for the Broadway and Beyond/TeenWorks summer camps for 10 years.

For more information, contact Betsy Henderson at [email protected] or David Spence at [email protected].


VGCC Radiography students and educators attend conference

Several students and faculty members from the Vance-Granville Community College Radiography program attended the 20th West Coast Educators Council (WCEC) of Radiologic Technologists Student-Educator-Radiographer Seminar, held March 7-10 in Orlando, Florida.

The annual conference is attended by over 1,000 students and educators in the Radiography field from all over the country. This year, 26 of the 50 states were represented.

While at WCEC, the VGCC Radiography students were able to meet imaging professionals who have written or contributed to the textbooks which the students currently use. The students also attended classes relevant to their major and were able to take a mock registry examination, which simulates the exam that all Registered Radiographers are required to take in order to obtain their registry upon completion of a two-year associate degree program. “The average score for the mock registry is around 65 percent, and the VGCC students scored within this range, indicating that they are on target for Registry success following graduation,” explained VGCC Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles.

Students Mary Beth Brewer and Trevor Houston, both of Durham, and Jonathan Liddane of Oxford participated, along with their peers from across the country, in the “Student Bee,” with Brewer advancing to the second round. Only three students per program could compete in the Student Bee, a fun competition that tests participants’ knowledge of radiologic technology.

Additional topics of study during the conference for students included “Inside the NFL,” “The Role of Forensic Radiography in Peru,” “Sectional Anatomy,” “Technique 101: Getting Back to the Basics” and “Mastering Digital Radiography.” “’Inside the NFL’ gave insight into the role of Radiographers in sports,” Soles said. “Not only can Radiographers work in hospital and health-care settings, but they can be part of an NFL team!”

The other faculty member from the college in attendance was VGCC Dean of Health Sciences (and radiographer) Angela Thomas, who gave a well-received presentation to educators from many other states, entitled “Crucial Conversations.”

Based at VGCC’s South Campus between Butner and Creedmoor, the two-year Radiography degree program prepares graduates to be radiographers, skilled health care professionals who use radiation to produce images of the human body. For more information on Radiography, contact Dean of Health Sciences Angela Thomas at (252) 738-3397.



VGCC students visit RHA patients

A group of students from Vance-Granville Community College conducted a Valentine’s-themed community service project in February at RHA Health Services in Creedmoor.

VGCC Radiography and Human Services Technology (HST) students handed out valentines and gifts to the patients, staff and administrators at RHA. “The patients were very receptive and appreciative to receive the gifts,” according to VGCC Radiography Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles. The VGCC Radiography Club invited Human Services students who wished to participate in the community service activity to join them. Both degree programs are based at VGCC’s South Campus between Creedmoor and Butner. Sharon O’Geary, instructor of Human Services Technology, also went with the group, and said she plans to start an “HST Club” that would participate in service projects and attend regional and national Human Services conferences.

RHA Health Services is a multi-state company providing a comprehensive network of support services for people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities and those with mental health needs or substance use challenges.

The two-year Radiography degree program prepares graduates to be radiographers, skilled health care professionals who use radiation to produce images of the human body. For more information on Radiography, contact Dean of Health Sciences Angela Thomas at (252) 738-3397.

The HST curriculum program prepares students for entry-level positions in institutions and agencies which provide social, community, and educational services. VGCC offers a general HST track, a Substance Abuse track, and a Gerontology track. For more information on HST, contact Tracy Wallace at (252) 738-3519.


Trustees Approve Budget Requests For County Funding

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees approved a proposed total budget request of $3,071,984 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year for Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties at its bimonthly meeting on the college’s Main Campus on Monday, March 20.

VGCC’s budget requests, which include $2,493,174 in current expenses and $578,810 in capital outlay, now go to the board of county commissioners in each of the four counties served by VGCC. The capital outlay budget is composed of $95,960 in recurring needs and $482,850 in one-time needs.

Of the $2.49 million current expense county budget, $1,146,197 is being proposed for Vance County for the Main Campus and the nursing simulation lab at Maria Parham Health; $752,184 for Granville County for Main Campus, South Campus and the Culinary Arts location in Oxford; $225,625 for Warren’s campus; and $369,168 for Franklin’s campus.

Of the $95,960 in recurring capital outlay requests for facility improvement needs, funding by county is: Vance, $41,220; Granville, $28,740; Warren, $6,000; and Franklin, $20,000.

The college is requesting the one-time capital outlay funds of $482,850 for the Main Campus in accordance with VGCC’s Capital Improvement Plan submitted to Vance County, said Steven Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations. Vance and Granville share in the funding of the campus between Henderson and Oxford on a 3:1 ratio. A total of $362,138 is being requested from Vance County and $120,712 from Granville.

The proposed budget for the four counties represents a $61,451 increase over the 2016-2017 current expense budget and a $30,000 increase over the current year’s recurring capital outlay.

At the Main Campus, the increase in current expenses is being requested in order to maintain plant operations at the current level of service, to cover merit-based pay adjustments, and to fund a full-time safety coordinator position to lead campus compliance safety regulations and to develop, maintain and coordinate environmental, health and safety programs and training for the college, according to Graham. At each of the three satellite campuses, the current expenses are level with 2016-2017 funding.

“The college is requesting additional recurring capital funding from Vance and Granville counties in the total amount of $30,000 to perform a backlog of mid-sized repair projects and to maintain the adequacy and use of existing facilities going forward,” Graham added.

In addition, the college has currently earmarked funds from the Connect NC Public Improvement Bond, approved in a March 2016 state referendum, in the amount of $6,705,695 to fund major capital improvements to the Main Campus buildings and infrastructure. Other bond funding has been planned for other campuses as follows: South Campus, $325,000; Franklin Campus, $202,260; and Warren, $65,000.

Trustee Abdul Rasheed, chair of the board’s Budget Committee, described the budget as essential to helping Vance-Granville fulfill its role in providing the education and job skills training needed by area citizens. “It’s everything about the future of the area we serve,” Rasheed said.

County funding represents approximately 9 percent of the college’s overall budget.

New Medical Office Pathways

The trustees voted to approve two new curriculum programs and terminate a third. The board is adding to the Career and College Promise pathways program for high school students the opportunity to earn certificates in Medical Office Administrative Assistant I and II, effective this fall. A certificate in Medical Transcription Specialist will be terminated in the fall.

The Medical Office Administration curriculum prepares individuals for employment in medical and other healthcare related offices. The new Level I certificate pathway will be a 17-credit-hour program with classes in computers, keyboarding, medical terminology, medical insurance billing, and office procedures. The Level II pathway, an 18-credit-hour certificate, will have courses in word processing, medical legal issues, office ethics, healthcare customer relations and electronic healthcare records.

The certificate program that is being terminated will allow currently enrolled students to finish their certificates, according to Trustee Barbara Cates Harris, chair of the board’s Curriculum Committee.

State Budget Priorities

The North Carolina Community College System has adopted three budget strategies for the current session of the North Carolina General Assembly, VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams informed the trustees.

The NCCCS is seeking “technical adjustments” to correct a salary loss error from 2016 and to secure an adjustment for enrollment growth. The community college system wants to ensure that business and industry have quick and easy access to a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce and ensure that students have an awareness of quality, well-paying career opportunities. To continue to provide business and industry with a highly-skilled workforce pipeline, community colleges must have a stable and solid foundation of operations, as outlined in the priorities.

Legislative priorities include investment in workforce training, funding additional career coaches, increasing student completion, rewarding colleges for outcomes, stabilizing budgets and raising faculty and staff salaries.

A key goal of NCCCS is to provide an affordable pathway for students to earn a baccalaureate degree through a Community College Transfer Incentive program, according to the NCCCS. The initiative seeks to reward completion and provide incentives to students who choose a North Carolina community college transfer program by providing a scholarship to students who complete an associate degree and then transfer to either an institution of the University of North Carolina system or a private college or university in North Carolina. Under such a plan, students would save in the area of $20,000 in tuition, fees and housing costs, while the state would save approximately $8,000.

Other Action

In other action:

  • In his Building Committee report, Donald C. Seifert, Sr., chair, said bid awarding is pending for the roof renovations for Building 6 on the Main Campus, a project that is expected to be completed during the summer term. A lab is being renovated for the new Histotechnology program, also slated for completion this summer.
  • Trustee Sara C. Wester, chair of the Personnel Committee, informed her fellow board members of the plans for the annual evaluation of the president, and she reported on new employees, retirements and resignations.
  • The Investment Committee, chaired by Trustee L. Opie Frazier, Jr., reported on growth in the college’s investments.
  • Colton Hayes, student trustee and president of the Student Government Association, detailed recent and upcoming events for students.
  • Dr. Williams announced the following events: Fifth Annual Dinner Theater, April 27-28; Vance-Granville Community Band concert, May 1; Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, May 2; and Graduation, May 12. She said the board will have its annual retreat on Aug. 28.

The next meeting of the VGCC Board of Trustees will be held on Monday, May 15, at the Main Campus.

Local Chambers of Commerce to Host Administrative Professionals Luncheon


The Granville County Chamber of Commerce, together with Franklin, Warren and Vance Chambers, and the Small Business Center of Vance-Granville Community College,  are sponsoring the annual Administrative Professionals Luncheon.

This year’s event is being held Wednesday, April 26 at noon, at Henderson Country Club.  Business owners and administrators are encouraged to treat their administrative professionals to lunch, networking and an interesting presentation in observance of Administrative Professionals’ Day.

Lunch reservations are required ~ $20/person by April 14th to either of the Chamber’s offices – 919.693.6125, [email protected] or 919.528.4994, [email protected].