VGCC’s 35th Golf Tournament, Presented by CertainTeed, Set for May 7

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, and part of that celebration involves marking another milestone: the college’s 35th Annual Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the Henderson Country Club.

For the first time, CertainTeed of Oxford will serve as the event’s presenting sponsor. All proceeds support the mission of the college and fund student scholarships.

“Since its inception in 1985, the VGCC golf tournament has grown into a wonderful tradition and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the college, thanks to the generosity of numerous golfers and sponsors,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “We appreciate the strong commitment demonstrated by CertainTeed in partnering with us as the tournament’s presenting sponsor, which will enhance our ability to serve and support our students.”

Eddie Ferguson, director of VGCC’s Endowment Fund, added, “With our community’s continuing support, we expect that once this year’s tournament is complete, we will have raised more than $1 million over the course of the history of this event.”

CertainTeed is a longtime supporter of the golf tournament and has endowed the CertainTeed Academic Achievement Scholarship at VGCC. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, today, CertainTeed is North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, insulation, gypsum and ceilings. A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest and oldest building products companies, CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 6,300 employees and more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada.

Other businesses and individuals supporting the tournament include: Glen Raven of Norlina, the breakfast sponsor; First Citizens Wealth Management of Raleigh, the lunch sponsor; Duke Energy, the dinner sponsor; Robling Medical of Youngsville, the flag sponsor; MR Williams of Henderson, the scoreboard sponsor; Novozymes North America of Franklinton, the golf jacket sponsor; Wester Insurance Agency of Henderson, the driving range sponsor; Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the soft drink sponsor; Charles Boyd Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC, the car sponsor; John Nelms, Jr., of Raleigh, the trophy sponsor; and Private Wealth Management of NC of Henderson, the putting green sponsor.

Businesses and individuals can still take advantage of sponsorship opportunities at various levels. Businesses may also donate products or premium items featuring the company’s logo to be placed in golfers’ gift bags or to be given as door prizes.

This year’s morning and afternoon rounds will begin with shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and at 1 p.m. The afternoon round is sold out, but there are openings in the morning round.

The format is four-person “Captain’s Choice Super Ball.” Golfers can form their own teams of four, or sign up and be put on a team. Teams will be handicapped based on handicaps supplied by each player. Trophies will be awarded for first net, second net and first gross. Other awards will be given for “closest to the pin” and “longest drive.”

A hole-in-one on Hole 9 will be rewarded with a car, courtesy of Charles Boyd Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC. A player who hits a hole-in-one (with a $10 donation) on Hole 16 will win $5,000, while another $5,000 will be awarded to the VGCC Endowment Fund.

The cost for one golfer to enter the tournament is $150. That fee includes greens fees, cart, meals, gift bag and practice balls.

A light breakfast, lunch and dinner (immediately following the afternoon round) will be served in the HCC clubhouse. A silent auction and door prize drawings will be held in conjunction with dinner.

For more information, contact Kay Currin at [email protected] or (252) 738-3409.

Desmarais Talks Economic Development, Ending the ‘Stigma’ of Community College

Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of Vance-Granville Community College, was on Tuesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the college’s role in economic development and her vision for the future of the institution.

Beginning her tenure as VGCC’s seventh president in January, Desmarais brings with her over 20 years of experience in the community college system.

Once a community college student at Forsyth Tech herself, Desmarais said she never would have imagined that she would one day become the college’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“I had a liberal arts degree already and needed real-world skills, and I got that at Forsyth Tech. I’m living proof of how you can transition from one to the other. Being able to use those skills to recruit students, recruit businesses, brainstorm with the best in town and make asks of large-name companies to try to recruit them to the area was a really valuable experience.”

It is this experience, in part, that Desmarais said she’ll draw on to help implement economic turnaround in the local four-county area.

Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of Vance-Granville Community College (Photo courtesy VGCC)

“Coming from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area, I have experience working with the transition from tobacco and old-style manufacturing into healthcare and biotech innovation,” Desmarais said.

For their part in this transition, VGCC will focus on building new relationships with businesses and organizations while strengthening relationships with current community partners. “We work with partners such as economic development and the Chamber to be the glue between people looking for jobs and people wanting to hire.

I’m going to leverage the gifts and talents that our people have here in the college to create more short-term workforce training to support our existing companies and to be a recruitment tool for economic development,” Desmarais stated.

To build the educated workforce best-suited for local employment needs, Desmarais said the college is reviewing its current offerings of programs and courses, including where courses are offered and program completion times.

“Our focus is on degree alignment, making sure we offer courses in the right format and in the right locations.”

According to Desmarais, other barriers to education – lack of transportation, extreme poverty and the general “stigma” of community college – also need to be addressed to ensure that everyone has an opportunity for educational advancement and/or career development.

“We have to end the stigma of community colleges. Community colleges are very valuable; if you want to go on to get a four-year degree, it’s cost effective. There is a lot of evidence that demonstrates that students from community colleges are just as successful as four-year college students, and in some cases, even better prepared.”

Desmarais said she also wants to work with four-year colleges on possible transfer credit agreements of Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees.

Similar to current agreements for Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degree credits, this type of agreement would potentially allow students with AAS degrees to more smoothly transfer their credit hours earned at a community college to a four-year college.

As for the immediate future, VGCC has several exciting events planned for 2019 in celebration of their 50th anniversary, including the college’s dinner theatre performance of “Company” by Stephen Sondheim April 25 – 26, the annual VGCC golf tournament to be held at Henderson Country Club on May 7 and open house events at all four VGCC campuses.

While excited to be joining the college in its 50th year, Desmarais said she is even more thrilled to see her passion for education and for the community college environment reflected in the community.

“I love the passion that I see here at the college; the love that people have for the college and what it has done in the community.”

To hear the Town Talk interview with Dr. Rachel Desmarais in its entirety, click here.

VGCC’s Dinner Theater Cast Features Students, Alumni & Community Actors

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Special events celebrating the 50th anniversary of Vance-Granville Community College are set to kick off in April with the college’s seventh annual Dinner Theater event. Reflecting VGCC’s long history of fine arts education and community involvement, the cast for this production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy, “Company,” will include students, alumni and community members.

The dinner theater is scheduled for the evenings of Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, 2019. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. each evening in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus near Henderson. Tickets are available online for $30 each.

Alumni members of the cast include VGCC Business Administration graduate Angelica Bridges of Oxford, in the role of Kathy; Morgan McFalls of Oxford, a graduate of VGCC and UNC-Chapel Hill, as David; Peyton Grissom of Oxford, a VGCC Nursing graduate, as Joanne; and former VGCC student Sonya Holloway of Oxford as Susan. VGCC and William Peace University graduate Rachel Pottern Nunn of Raleigh plays the role of Amy, while VGCC graduate and current William Peace University Theatre Education major Spencer Nunn of Raleigh plays the role of Paul.

Cast members for the VGCC Dinner Theater production of “Company” include, on front row, from left to right: Evan O’Geary, Jadyn Jones, Angelica Bridges and Brian Westbrook; back row, from left to right: Rachel Pottern Nunn, Spencer Nunn, Jason Sharp, Betsy Henderson, Peyton Grissom, Jonathan O’Geary, Sonya Holloway, Rosemary Richards and Josh Glasscock; not pictured: Morgan McFalls. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

The cast will also include two current VGCC students: Evan O’Geary of Henderson as April and Jadyn Jones of Henderson as Marta.

Community members Josh Glasscock of Clarksville, Va., will play the role of Peter; Jonathan O’Geary of Henderson will appear as Larry; Rosemary Richards of Raleigh will play the role of Jenny; Henderson native and current Durham resident Brian Westbrook will play the role of Robert.

Rounding out the cast are VGCC Department Chair of Fine Arts and Humanities Betsy Henderson of Kittrell as Sarah and Jason Sharp of Kittrell as Harry.

Cook Shack Catering of Louisburg will cater this special event with a menu of prime rib, lemon rosemary chicken, roasted red skin potatoes with herb seasoning, roasted vegetables, dinner rolls, sweet and unsweet tea and citrus water. An anniversary cake prepared by VGCC Culinary Arts students will be served at intermission.

Tickets are now available through the VGCC website at Audience members will be able to choose the table and specific seats they want at the same time that they buy their tickets online. Patrons are encouraged to purchase their tickets early in order to have the best chance of getting the seats they want for this year’s show.

VGCC to Offer Open House at All Four Campuses

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College will hold an Open House on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 9 a.m. until noon, at all four of its campuses.

VGCC staff members and faculty will be available during those hours to provide information on the enrollment process, academic programs and student support services. Visitors will also be able to take campus tours.

The Summer 2019 term begins May 20, while the Fall 2019 semester starts on August 19.

Prospective students are encouraged to pre-register for Open House (and select the campus they plan to visit) at

VGCC’s Main Campus is located at 200 Community College Road, Henderson (Exit 209 on Interstate 85, about midway between Henderson and Oxford).

The Franklin County Campus is located at 8100 N.C. 56., Louisburg (just west of Louisburg).

South Campus is located at 1547 South Campus Drive, Creedmoor (off of N.C. 56, between Creedmoor and Butner).

The Warren County Campus is located at 210 West Ridgeway Street (U.S. 158 Business) in Warrenton.

For more information on enrolling, call (252) 738-3234 or visit any campus.

VGCC Presents 7th Annual Dinner Theater: ‘Company’ by Stephen Sondheim

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

“Company” by Stephen Sondheim

Tickets for Seventh Annual Dinner Theater will go on sale March 25!

Check out the details below of what promises to be an evening of fun, food and fellowship in the great Vance-Granville Drama and Culinary Arts tradition and get your tickets at The event, once again involving the collaboration of the VGCC Drama and Culinary Arts departments, is scheduled for the evenings of Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, 2019, in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. each evening.

Sondheim’s musical is a sophisticated and honest look at modern adult relationships.

From musical theatre’s most renowned composer, “Company” is largely regarded as a trailblazer of the dark-comedy, modern-musical genre and the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Lyrics and Best Book.

On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor Robert contemplates his unmarried state. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks and even a wedding, his friends – “those good and crazy people [his] married friends” – explain the pros and cons of taking on a spouse. The habitually single Robert is forced to question his adamant retention of bachelorhood during a hilarious array of interactions.

“Company” features a brilliantly brisk and energetic score containing many of Stephen Sondheim’s best-known songs. The strength of the piece lies in its vivid yet real characters, meaning impressive technical aspects aren’t necessary to convey the story. It can be told as effectively with a cavalcade of automated set pieces as it can with a chair or two. Every audience member will see reflections of themselves in at least one of the characters onstage.

Betsy Henderson, VGCC’s Department Chair/Instructor of Humanities and Fine Arts, is the director of the play.

Tickets are $30 and are scheduled to go on sale on March 25. Audience members will be able to choose the table and specific seats they want at the same time that they buy their tickets online. Patrons are encouraged to purchase their tickets early in order to have the best chance of getting the seats they want for this year’s show.

For more information, visit

Granville Co. Sheriff’s Office Approves Transfer of Vehicle to VGCC

-Information and photo courtesy the Granville County Government’s Facebook page

Granville County Commissioners approved the transfer of a 2012 Dodge Charger from the Granville County Sheriff’s Office to Vance-Granville Community College’s policing staff at their December 3, 2018 meeting. The vehicle was one of two that had been declared surplus and would have been scheduled for online sale.

This donation is the result of a partnership with VGCC to help meet the needs of our community and our students.

Pictured: Sheriff Brin Wilkins (left) and Sean Newton (right) of Vance-Granville Community College at this week’s vehicle transfer. (Photo courtesy Granville Co. Govt.)




VGCC’s Welding Technology Program at Franklin Earns Vanguard Cup

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s interim president, Dr. Gordon Burns, has honored a team of faculty members in the Welding Technology program at the Franklin Campus by awarding them the “Vanguard Cup” for excellence in education.

The department became the fourth recipients of the cup, an honor created by the President’s Office to recognize “exceptional team performance toward the college mission, vision and strategic plan.” The Vanguard Cup is awarded to a department that meets or exceeds the targets on improvement strategies designed to further department or instructional goals, Dr. Burns said in making the presentation on Thursday, Dec. 13, at a college event in the Civic Center.

Above: Members of the VGCC Welding Department faculty pose with the “Vanguard Cup,” awarded to the Welding program at Franklin Campus for educational excellence by Dr. Gordon Burns, interim president of the college. From left are Dr. Burns; Rusty Pace, program head/instructor for Welding Technology; Allen Tharrington, instructor for Welding at Franklin Campus; and Luke Gravel, instructor for Welding at Main Campus. (VGCC photo)

Rusty Pace, program head and instructor for Welding, and Allen Tharrington and Luke Gravel, instructors, were honored for the Franklin Campus achieving a student course success rate of 100 percent, the president noted.

“The Welding program at the Franklin Campus achieved this superior student course success rate by advancing student skill development through increased repetition and by working more closely with local employers,” said Dr. Burns. “The local employers provided student tours of their respective campuses, served as guest lecturers and hired program graduates.”

In addition to the cup, the department receives up to $10,000 for use on equipment, professional development, adjunct instructors, or other approved purposes for state funds, as well as a luncheon for the area.

Runners-up for the cup were announced as the Math Department faculty who increased the student success rate of Math 171 students by 8 percent by offering supplemental instruction and maintaining performance rates in Math 172; and the Accounting/Business Administration/Entrepreneurship faculty who increased retention rates by connecting with students during registration periods and over the summer

VGCC offers degree, diploma and certificate programs in Welding Technology. In addition to the classes at Franklin, classes are offered on the Main Campus in Vance County. For more information, contact Rusty Pace at (252) 738-3375 or [email protected]

VGCC Apprentice at Frigi-Temp Places Third in State Fair Contest

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Cyrus Jover of Henderson, the first participant in Vance-Granville Community College’s new apprenticeship partnership with Frigi-Temp of Youngsville, took third place in the North Carolina State Fair HVAC Apprenticeship Competition in October.

“I’m extremely proud of Cyrus and the way he represented the Frig-Temp team,” said Cory Thornton, chief operating officer of the commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company.

Jover joined the apprenticeship program earlier this year. Already enrolled in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology program at VGCC, he had worked in the HVAC field for almost four years before he became an apprentice, but only in residential installation.

Cyrus Jover of Henderson, a VGCC student who participates in the VGCC apprenticeship program through Frigi-Temp of Youngsville, placed third in the 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R Contest at the N.C. State Fair in October. In the photo above, Jover is being tested on his brazing skill level and safety precautions during one section of the day-long competition. Event organizers gave instructions and then, as shown in the background of the photo, judged students on how well they soldered while also observing their steps to follow good safety measures. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

The 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R (Heating, Ventilation/Air Conditioning – Refrigeration) Contest was open to the first 20 applicants, registered in a program recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce, who have completed less than 8,000 hours of training. Eight apprentices participated and six were awarded prizes. Third place awarded a prize of $175 out of a total of $1,325 in prizes to the top finishers. The top three finishers received extra prizes with Jover winning a tool bag, hand tools, and a drill set in addition.

The contest was designed to promote interest among apprentices in the skilled construction trades, according to the NC State Fair organizers. “This contest dramatizes a ‘job training program’ through which ApprenticeshipNC has assisted voluntary efforts of industry to meet their needs for skilled workers,” apprenticeship director Kathryn Castelloes said. “These skilled craftworkers have contributed significantly to the economic growth of North Carolina.”

A program of the North Carolina Community College System, ApprenticeshipNC seeks to “ensure the state has an innovative, relevant, effective and efficient workforce development system that develops adaptable, work ready, skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of works and businesses to achieve and sustain economic prosperity,” NCCCS says on its website.

Jover’s entry into the competition came at the suggestion of NCCCS staff, Thornton said. “Cyrus was signed up for the event even before he knew about it,” Thornton added, noting that it was a great experience for Jover and the company.

“I was very nervous going in because I had never competed in a contest like this,” Jover said. “You do not know how skilled your competitors are because they are strangers. You have no idea what to expect from them or the contest. I was also nervous because I knew that Vance-Granville and Frigi-Temp were depending on me to represent them well.”

“Despite the pressure and nerves,” he added, “the competition was a fun learning experience because it shows you how you rank when up against your peers. It also shows you how much more there is to learn so that you can be the best.” Thornton added that the contest began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m.

Cory Thornton, chief operating officer for Frigi-Temp in Youngsville, left, celebrates with Cyrus Jover, a student in the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology program at VGCC who is also an apprentice with Frig-Temp. Jover placed third in the 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R Contest at the N.C. State Fair in October. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

“If I could hire five more team members just like him I would do so in an instant,” Thornton said. ”His drive to become a professional, his humility, his work ethic and the way that he chooses to work as a true team player is something I truly admire about him. I am humbled that I get to work at Frigi-Temp alongside Cyrus and many others just like him.”

Jover is originally from the Philippines, where he earned a college degree in Biology before coming to the United States seven years ago, at age 20. Here, he found that the HVAC field had numerous job openings. He enrolled at VGCC, first as a part-time and then a full-time student. Now, he is done with almost all of his classwork and spends most of his time working at Frigi-Temp. He sometimes works a full 40 hours per week at the company while continuing his studies.

Thornton said the apprenticeship program is going very well while “still in its infancy.” “We have high hopes for the future and look forward to hiring several more apprentices over the next year,” he said.

As for next year’s competition at the State Fair, Thornton says Frigi-Temp will be ready for another round. “We weren’t able to coach Cyrus prior to the event and, with this being the first time, none of us any idea what to expect,” he said. “He did an excellent job by placing in third and next year we are looking forward to him taking first place.”

Michael Whittemore, program head for Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration at VGCC, shared in Thornton’s excitement about Jover’s accomplishment. “Cyrus is exactly as Cory describes him. He is an excellent student and he makes Vance-Granville proud, not only for this contest but also for the professional manner in which he performs as an apprentice at Frigi-Temp,” he said.

Students interested in enrolling in the program can contact Whittemore at [email protected] or (252) 738-3214.

Employers who are interested in partnering with VGCC on apprenticeships are encouraged to contact Ken Wilson, project manager for VGCC’s TechHire grant program, at [email protected] or (252) 738-3259.

State Board of Community Colleges Approves Appointment of Dr. Desmarais

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The State Board of Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Rachel Desmarais as president of Vance-Granville Community College.

She will begin her tenure as the seventh president in the college’s history on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, according to Danny W. Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees. The action of the State Board came at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the North Carolina Community College System offices in Raleigh.

Currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, Dr. Desmarais was selected for her new position by the VGCC trustees on Dec. 5. She was among nearly 90 applicants for the post.

The new president succeeds Dr. Stelfanie Williams who left in August to become the vice president for Durham affairs at Duke University. Dr. Gordon Burns, retired president of Wilkes Community College, is serving as interim president for VGCC until Dr. Desmarais takes office.

The State Board of Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Rachel Desmarais as president of Vance-Granville Community College. She will begin her tenure as the seventh president in the college’s history on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

2019 ‘Lunch Break to Educate’ Series to Begin With Social Media Marketing

-Information courtesy Sandra Wilkerson, Director of Admin and Events, Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

It’s time for the 2019 Lunch Break to Educate Series. First in the series is “Social Media Simplified: A Complete Introduction to Social Media Marketing” to be held Wed., January 9, 2019, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center.

This program teaches how to set up and optimize social media sites so they improve your website’s target audience reach. The top social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube will be covered. The ability to converse with your audience and offer valuable content is essential in this emerging marketing approach.

Additional topics covered include your websites as “hub”; engagement over shouting; know what you hope to achieve before you begin; and how to deal with negative nellies.

Speaker(s): P. Kaufman

Co-Sponsor(s): Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

Click here to sign up for this free session. Lunch will be provided. Limited to 18 participants, so register today!