VGCC Continues Enrollment Growth Trend

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College is celebrating good news to begin 2020. The fall 2019 semester that recently ended brought growth in enrollment along with an 11% increase in course hours completed in both credit (curriculum) and non-credit programs.

In addition, the college has started the new spring semester off seeing an increase in credit program enrollment over the same time last year.

As of the beginning of the spring semester in January, VGCC had 2,939 students enrolled in curriculum programs. That represents an 8% increase compared to the beginning of the spring 2019 semester when enrollment stood at 2,719.

A significant source of the increase was enrollment by high school students in the Career & College Promise program. There were 4.6% more of those students enrolled than there were at the beginning of spring 2019.

“We are excited about the increasing number of students who have chosen VGCC to pursue their higher education and prepare for a successful career,” said Dr. Levy Brown, the college’s vice president of learning, student engagement and success. “Student access, retention and career preparation are embedded in our daily work, and it shows!”

“We attribute this growth to a lot of collaboration among our talented faculty and staff across our four campuses,” added Kali Brown, VGCC’s dean of student access and support. “This is a collective effort, and we are glad to see outstanding things happening at VGCC under the leadership of President Desmarais. The college will continue to collaborate internally and externally to provide a top-notch educational experience.”

Established in 1969, VGCC offers more than 40 credit programs, in which students work toward certificates, diplomas and degrees. Area residents and businesses can also take advantage of a variety of continuing education/job training opportunities, as well as the High School Equivalency and Adult High School Diploma programs. High school students can get a step ahead by starting their college education early with VGCC courses.

The college has four campuses – one each in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties – and offers online programs, as well. The new “Vanguard Flex” program is offering flexible, hybrid schedules in the evenings and weekends on the Franklin Campus in Louisburg, to accommodate schedules for adult learners.

Additionally, VGCC has classes starting in February and March for students to enroll in our 12 and 8-week term options.

For more information about the college, visit

New VGCC Partnership with KARTS Makes Education More Accessible


-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently launched a new partnership with KARTS, the public, rural transportation system, to help students travel to and from any of the college’s four campuses at no cost. Through the partnership, the college will use grant funds and donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund to pay for students to use KARTS.

“Transportation is just one non-academic barrier that can make it difficult for rural citizens to make use of their community college,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of VGCC. “We are thankful for KARTS’ willingness to partner with us to reduce this barrier. We also appreciate our generous donors and grantors who are making this opportunity possible. VGCC is committed to student access and success!”

Students can now make appointments for KARTS to pick them up by calling 252-438-2573 and then dialing “0”. If students need to cancel appointments, they can call the same number. Appointment timeslots are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday through Friday. Appointments can be made up to two weeks in advance. Service requests for the following day are taken no later than 1 p.m., or as capacity allows.

Students can request tickets on campus from any VGCC employee. Once students have these fare tickets, they must present their VGCC student IDs, along with the tickets, when boarding the KARTS transportation bus. They must be on time, because drivers will wait approximately two minutes, and students who do not show up for scheduled appointments three times are subject to be prohibited from using this service in the future.

Current pickup/drop-off locations on campus are below:

  • VGCC Main Campus (Vance County), in front of Building 7;
  • VGCC Franklin Campus (Louisburg), in front of Building 1;
  • VGCC South Campus (Butner/Creedmoor), in front of Building 1 by the flag pole; and
  • VGCC Warren Campus (Warrenton), between Buildings 2 and 3.

College officials said that there is the potential for more locations to be added in the future.

“We, as a college, are thrilled to provide transportation, at no cost, to current and future students,” said Dawn Michelle Tucker, VGCC’s Dean of Continuing Education and College & Career Readiness. “We know transportation is a major challenge that many students face and we are pleased to be able to partner with KARTS to offer this solution.”

“Our partnership with KARTS provides an even greater opportunity for our communities to access higher education and obtain a college credential,” said Kali Brown, VGCC’s Dean of Student Access & Support.

Working to remove the lack of transportation as an obstacle to receiving higher education and job training is just one aspect of the community college’s commitment to student support. Numerous types of financial aid and scholarships, including the unique “VanGuarantee” program, are available to help students pay for classes. Free tutoring services, library services (on all campuses and online) and career services are also among a variety of resources for students.

“Excessive absences are often a leading contributor to non-completion of community college education,” said VGCC Vice President of Workforce and Community Engagement Jerry Edmonds. “Therefore, VGCC is delighted to partner with KARTS in providing transportation to our growing population of students.”

KARTS is a service of the Kerr Area Transportation Authority. Its mission is “to provide safe, dependable and accessible transportation services in the most efficient and effective manner possible in order to improve mobility, support livable communities, enhance local economies, and provide opportunities to expand horizons of the citizens of Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren Counties.” Those are the same four counties served by VGCC.

All KARTS rides are provided on a scheduled/reserved basis, with fees based on mileage from point of origin to destination.

VGCC Deans Recognized by N.C. State University


-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

A pair of leaders at Vance-Granville Community College were recently recognized by North Carolina State University, where they are doctoral students in the College of Education.

Jeffrey Allen, VGCC’s Dean of Student Retention & Success, was named a Belk Center Fellow, while Angela M. Thomas, the Dean of Health Sciences, received the Edgar J. & Ethel B. Boone Adult & Community College Leadership Fellowship award.

Angela M. Thomas, VGCC Dean of Health Sciences (VGCC photo)

“I am excited about the opportunity to be a Belk Center Fellow,” Allen said. “I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about student success strategies from community colleges across the nation as the American Association of Community Colleges celebrates 100 years.”

Thomas was presented with her award by Associate Professor Dr. Tuere Bowles during a ceremony at the university in December conducted by the Belk Center for Community College Leadership & Research. Bowles described the leadership award, given to only one student per year, as “highly competitive.”

Thomas said she was honored and would “do her best to make the Boones proud.” The fellowship is named in part for Dr. Edgar Boone, the founding head of the Department of Adult and Community College Education at NCSU.

Allen, an Oxford resident, has been a member of the VGCC staff in various roles since 2012. In his current position, Allen provides leadership and oversight to the areas of advising, counseling, male success initiative, student activities and athletics, testing and tutoring. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Western Governors University.

Jeffrey Allen, VGCC Dean of Student Retention & Success (VGCC photo)

Allen had a 14-year career in education at the K-12 level prior to joining VGCC. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Laura Thomas Award from the North Carolina Association on Higher Education and Disability (NC AHEAD). Earlier this year, Allen was named one of eight DREAM Fellows by NCSU.

A resident of Hillsborough, Thomas started her association with VGCC in 1997 as a part-time Radiography instructor, later becoming the program’s full-time clinical coordinator and then head of the program. Thomas was named VGCC’s Faculty Member of the Year in 2011.

As dean of health sciences since 2013, she leads a division that includes the Histotechnology, Nursing, Human Services Technology, Medical Assisting, Pharmacy Technology and Radiography programs.

Thomas earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Radiologic Technology from Pitt Community College, a bachelor of arts in Forensic Science from Guilford College and a Master of Science degree in Health Care Management from Ashworth College. Thomas is a graduate of the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program and completed the Executive Leadership Program through the College of Education at N.C. State University. She is also a recipient of the VGCC President’s Leadership Award.

VGCC’s Psychology Club Completes First Food Drive for ACTS

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s Psychology Club recently completed its first food drive. The organization hopes to make this a periodic event.

The Psychology Club collected canned goods and non-perishable items from November 12 to December 13 and received over 489 items, all of which were donated to Area Christians Together in Service (ACTS), which is located in Henderson, N.C.

VGCC students who would like more information about the Psychology Club can contact Sharon O’Geary at (252) 738-3419.

The VGCC Psychology Club poses with items donated during their first food drive before delivering them to Area Christians Together in Service (ACTS) located in Henderson, N.C. Pictured, from left: Sonya Barnes, Norma Martinez, Haley Moore, Alvin Foster, Cody Greene and Sharon O’Geary-Advisor/Psychology Instructor. (VGCC photo)

VGCC Honors 2019 Retirees at Holiday Event

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College honored five employees that retired in 2019 at a holiday event held on Thursday, December 12 in the VGCC Civic Center.

Retirees and their years of service to VGCC included Phyllis Bynum, 14 years of service; Faith Harris, 14 years of service; June Kersey, 8 years of service; Tina Moll, 14 years of service and Vickie W. Watkins, 14 years of service.

Fellow VGCC employees spoke on behalf of the retirees and thanked each for their hard work, commitment, and invaluable contributions.

Vance-Granville Community College honored five employees that retired in 2019 at a holiday event held on Thursday, December 12 in the VGCC Civic Center. (Front row, left to right): Phyllis Bynum, VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D., Faith Harris. (Back row, left to right): Tina Moll and Vickie West Watkins. Not pictured, June Kersey. (VGCC photo)

VGCC’s Kenneth Wilson Receives Glen Raven Award

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s Kenneth Wilson (Project Manager –  TechHire Grant) won the Glen Raven award on Thursday, December 12, 2019. He was presented with the award by VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D.

VGCC and Glen Raven are longtime partners. The college serves the company by providing training programs for employees on subjects including management, leadership, safety and technical skills such as industrial maintenance.

A strong corporate supporter of VGCC’s Endowment Fund, Glen Raven has endowed scholarships for students as well as awards that recognize faculty and staff excellence.

Vance-Granville Community College’s Kenneth Wilson (Project Manager –  TechHire Grant) won the Glen Raven award on Thursday, December 12, 2019. He was presented with the award by VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D. (VGCC photo)

New VGCC Scholarship Honors Maria Parham Guild Gift Gallery Volunteer

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Volunteers from the Guild Gift Gallery at Maria Parham Health recently presented $25,000 to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund to create a new scholarship. This scholarship — the 14th established by the Guild Gift Gallery in recent years — honors the memory of one of the volunteers, the late Vernell Champion of Henderson.

Champion passed away in November of 2018 at age 76.

In front, from left: Guild Gift Gallery volunteers Claire Catherwood, Tricia Kleczek, Gean Bobbitt, Charlotte Ayscue and Beverly Parrish. In back, from left: VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson with volunteers Fern Ellington, Stephanie Stringer, Pat Ayscue, Shaaron Reynolds, Betty Abbott, Jean Hutchins and Ralph Hutchins. Not pictured: volunteers Shannon Clark, Carol Pegram, Margie Moss, Gail Malone, Jean Norwood, Debra Smiley, Cathy Nowell, Judy Campbell, Sylvia Anderson, Linda Washburn and Anne Bunch. (VGCC photo)

“Vernell was one special lady,” her fellow gift shop volunteer Cathy Robertson remembered. “Vernell was a valuable asset to the Guild Gift Gallery for more than eight years. She was a loyal volunteer, always ready to lend a helping hand anytime, and she was a special friend to all who knew her. She was an active member of Victory Baptist Church and also of South Henderson Pentecostal Church.”

The new gift continues a tradition of the organization’s generous support for education. The volunteer-operated Guild Gift Gallery offers convenience items and gifts as a service to both patients and visitors at the hospital. Profits from sales are used to provide scholarships to people preparing to enter the health care professions.

The new VGCC scholarship will assist deserving students in programs such as Nursing, Radiography, Medical Assisting and Pharmacy Technology.

“Vance-Granville continues to be grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Guild Gift Gallery,” said Eddie Ferguson, VGCC’s endowment fund director. “We’re honored that we get the opportunity to celebrate the life of Mrs. Champion in this way, by helping students achieve their educational goals for years to come.”

Because the “Vernell Champion/Guild Gift Gallery at Maria Parham Presidential Scholar Award” scholarship is endowed, it will be awarded in perpetuity.

“Mrs. Champion’s legacy of volunteer service will be an inspirational example to students who receive a scholarship in her name, as they prepare to serve in the health care field,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, the president of VGCC. “Thanks to volunteers like Mrs. Champion, the Guild Gift Gallery makes a significant difference in our community by supporting students in their pursuit of rewarding careers.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 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, please call (252) 738-3409.

VGCC Receives $194K Grant From Duke Energy & Piedmont Natural Gas

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-Press Release, Duke Energy

Vance-Granville Community College today announced a $194,160 investment from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas. The funds will help connect students with hands-on training and career development opportunities.

The investment will be used to expand apprenticeships in the fields of Mechatronics, Industrial Maintenance and Welding, as part of VGCC’s “Business & Industry Connect” program. The college will be able to purchase new equipment, provide tuition supports for students and implement additional training, including the nationally-known “Tooling U-SME” program.

From Left to Right: Kenneth Wilson, Tanya Evans (district manager, Duke Energy), VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ken Lewis, Eddie Ferguson. (VGCC photo)

“This grant represents a huge boost to our local industry partners and to students who are looking to energize their careers,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “We appreciate the continuing support of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas because apprenticeships are part of VGCC’s multi-pronged approach to addressing workforce shortages so that our economy can grow.”

“We are proud to partner with Vance-Granville Community College to connect students with apprenticeship and workforce training opportunities,” said Tanya Evans, district manager, Duke Energy. “These students will help meet the growing and evolving needs of the region’s manufacturing industry.”

This grant is part of Duke Energy’s $35 million investment in North Carolina’s Community Colleges’ focus on technical education and support of business and industry. Individual community colleges could apply for funds through the North Carolina Community Foundation and the Foundation for the Carolinas.

Applications were reviewed by a committee of representatives from Duke Energy, NC Community College System and NC Department of Commerce.

Former Early College Student Credits VGCC for Success

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Oneisha Rebecca Leonard came to Vance-Granville Community College in 2011 as a Granville Early College High School student. “I was a good student, with mostly A’s and B’s, but I was not as focused on school as I should have been until I began taking classes at Vance-Granville,” Leonard recalled.

She said that because of her college classes, “I became more focused on my future.”

Oneisha Leonard, former Granville Early College High School student, is pictured on her May 2019 graduation day from Winston-Salem State University. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

Leonard said that VGCC prepared her for the next level of education by helping her hone not only her academic skills, such as writing papers and doing research but also her time management skills. Eventually, she transferred to Winston-Salem State University.

“Vance-Granville gave me the tools I needed to succeed in college by preparing me for what to expect and what was expected of me,” Leonard said. “My instructors at Vance-Granville were, and still are, some of the best instructors I have ever had.”

She credits her academic experience at VGCC with setting the stage for her to make the dean’s list every semester at the university. She also became a student leader, as a member and chapter president of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. “I also presented at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference this past November in Birmingham, Alabama, where I gave a presentation on my research on post-colonialism and psychoanalytic theory as it related to western colonization,” Leonard said.

With her VGCC credits and preparation, Leonard was able to graduate a year early from Winston-Salem State University in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Now, she is preparing to attend graduate school. But she still appreciates where her higher education began, saying, “I would like to thank Vance-Granville Community College for all they have done for me, while I attended and after I left.”

NC Community College Educators Attend Regional Seminar at VGCC

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently hosted a regional seminar for educators from a number of North Carolina community colleges on the subject of “active learning.” The event was presented through a partnership with the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) at The University of Texas at Austin and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

Earlier this year, VGCC was one of just 10 colleges across the country that were selected to host one of these credit-bearing regional seminars, which support faculty use of evidence-based teaching practices.

“It was great to see talented faculty members expanding their knowledge to enhance teaching, learning and the student experience,” remarked VGCC Vice President of Learning, Student Engagement & Success Dr. Levy Brown.

Laurie Pendleton, the Executive Director of Assessment at ACUE, served as the presenter for the training. “I really enjoyed helping faculty at Vance-Granville Community College and colleges throughout the area engage in learning to fine-tune their use of active learning strategies,” said Pendleton, a veteran teacher and professional development specialist.

Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process, with activities that emphasize interaction, participation and critical thinking.

“It is always exciting to work with faculty who are so invested in the success of their students, and I look forward to hearing how the participants bring these research-based practices back to their students,” Pendleton added. “Vance-Granville Community College was an exceptional host, and both NISOD and ACUE appreciate their careful planning, participation and support throughout the day.”

Petra Kohlmann, Partnership Director for ACUE, also participated in the seminar at VGCC. “It was a pleasure to be with faculty at Vance-Granville Community College, as well as ACUE and NISOD colleagues, as we learned together about ways to engage students in large classes through active learning techniques,” Kohlmann said. “Being part of a ‘classroom of instructors’ is always an invigorating experience, and I look forward to more opportunities to share ACUE’s research-backed teaching practices with Vance-Granville.”

Edward J. Leach, the Executive Director of NISOD, thanked VGCC faculty and staff for their help co-hosting the event. “VGCC has raised the bar when it comes to providing an excellent learning experience for Seminar participants!” Leach said.