Christopher LaRocca, director of communications for Vance-Granville Community College, was the guest of honor on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program.
LaRocca, who joined the college in March after 15 years with Duke University, said his own experience as a graduate of North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, New York made the possibility of working for VGCC appealing.
“Vance-Granville is giving me another opportunity to give back to the community college system that gave so much to me,” LaRocca said. “I gained valuable tools learning how to manage my time, learning how to focus academically, and then using those skills at a four-year college and in my career.”
In addition to Duke University, LaRocca’s career includes stints with the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team and USA Basketball Men’s National Team.
While LaRocca believes his educational path was the key to success in his career, he agrees that everyone must define success in their own terms – an opportunity readily offered by the community college system.
“I’m a big proponent of education. I’m a big advocate of getting a four-year degree and even going on to get a master’s degree; however, I’m also aware that college isn’t for everyone. Sometimes getting a two-year degree in a skill or trade is enough to be successful,” stated LaRocca.
While less than two months into his new position, LaRocca said he is encouraged by the positive growth he has already witnessed under the leadership of VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. Desmarais, who previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, joined VGCC as the institution’s seventh president in January.
“I love the new, fresh approach at the college. Dr. Desmarais has some wonderful ideas in terms of restructuring and her view on where the college could be in the next few years.”
In a recent Town Talk interview with WIZS, Desmarais explained her vision promoted economic turnaround by helping the four-county area transition “from tobacco and old-style manufacturing into healthcare and biotech innovation.”
Part of that vision, according to LaRocca, is promoting new programs at the college to ensure students have the skills needed to be eligible for emerging career opportunities in the local area.
Two of VGCC’s newest programs – Healthcare Informatics and Cyber Security – will be offered as certificate and associate degree programs through the Information Technology Department beginning fall 2019.
“We are making strides to create new programs so there is something available for everyone. I encourage the community to check out our website frequently (www.vgcc.edu) for updates,” said LaRocca.
LaRocca also invites the community to attend upcoming events at VGCC, including:
To hear the Town Talk interview with LaRocca in its entirety, click here. LaRocca’s portion of the interview begins at the 10:00 mark.