VGCC Franklin Campus to Hold ‘Community Engagement Night’

-Information courtesy Christopher LaRocca, Director of Communications, VGCC

Vance-Granville Community College will hold a “Community Engagement Night” event at their Franklin Campus in Louisburg on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

The community is invited to hear campus updates and discussion on the community college vision and VGCC’s strategic direction. An open dialogue session will also provide a speaking opportunity for participants.

VGCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society receives awards

— courtesy VGCC

VGCC Phi Theta Kappa chapter President Brenda Ellis of Durham (left) accepts an award for service on behalf of the chapter from Seth June, the outgoing Carolinas Region vice-president for South Carolina, during the convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Vance-Granville Community College Alpha Sigma Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society recently brought home several awards from a regional gathering.

Attending the Phi Theta Kappa Carolinas Regional Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 9-11, were VGCC chapter President Brenda Ellis of Durham, chapter Vice President of Leadership Pamela Campbell of Littleton and chapter advisor Maureen Walters, who teaches English at the college. The Carolinas Region includes 84 Phi Theta Kappa chapters at two-year colleges in North Carolina and South Carolina. Students and advisors at the convention enjoyed a variety of educational seminars, guest speakers, social activities, elections of regional officers and award presentations.

Tiffiny Wolf (left), outgoing secretary for the Carolinas Region of Phi Theta Kappa, presents an award recognizing VGCC’s chapter with “three stars” to chapter Vice President Pamela Campbell of Littleton, during the convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

VGCC received three awards of excellence. The chapter was presented with the Carolinas Region service project award for outstanding participation in a “Carolinas Read to Succeed” project, which in VGCC’s case was an effort to collect school supplies and books for children in grades K-12 who are affected by domestic violence.

VGCC was further recognized as a “three-star” level chapter for its community service, the involvement of its members and its efforts at leadership development. Alpha Sigma Chi was one of only two three-star chapters recognized this year in the Carolinas.

Finally, chapter advisor Maureen Walters received the “Horizon Award” for her work in developing the chapter and demonstrating dedication to the mission of Phi Theta Kappa. “Not only did we have a great time at the convention, but we also put VGCC on the map for Phi Theta Kappa,” Walters said, regarding the three honors.

VGCC Phi Theta Kappa chapter advisor Maureen Walters (left) accepts the “Horizon Award” from Ricky Swing, outgoing president for the Carolinas Region, during the convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for students of two-year colleges. VGCC students honored with induction into PTK must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 in associate degree curriculum programs and have completed at least 12 credit hours toward their degrees. Since VGCC’s chapter of PTK was chartered in 1991, more than 1,900 students have joined. For more information, contact Maureen Walters at 252-738-3406 or


VGCC instructor’s children donate pieces of history to library

— courtesy VGCC

The children of a longtime Vance-Granville Community College instructor who qualifies as one of the “founding mothers” of the institution recently donated historical records and other items to the college library.

The late Frieda Bender Haun of Kittrell, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 95, became well-known in the community in part for the “personal enrichment” classes she taught at VGCC. Her involvement in the school started long before it opened in 1969, however. In 1965, Haun was appointed to what was then called the “Vance County Community College Steering Committee,” a group formed to research establishing a local two-year college and to gather support for it.

Documents related to that steering committee are among the papers and items that one of Haun’s daughters, Erika H. Rosenberger of Raleigh, inherited. She organized them and offered them to VGCC Director of Library Services Elaine Stem, to become part of the college archives. Stem noted that the items provide unique glimpses into the history of how the college was founded.

Seated, from left, in the VGCC Library are siblings Betsy H. Stuart of Fayetteville, Harold W. Haun of Raleigh and Erika H. Rosenberger of Raleigh, along with some of their mother’s handmade baskets and a scrapbook of materials their mother kept. Standing, from left, are VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson and Director of Library Services Elaine Stem. Another sibling, Veronika H. Marquoit, lives in New York State and was unavailable for the photo. (VGCC photo)


“Our VGCC Library scrapbooks only begin with 1969,” Stem said. “What is significant about this collection is that Mrs. Haun had documents dating back to May 6, 1965. The VGCC history book (‘Vance-Granville Community College: The First Thirty Years’) references the 1965 Steering Committee, and now we have some of those original letters.”

The earliest letter in the collection is from Emily Whitten, clerk to the Vance County Board of Commissioners. Whitten wrote to Haun, “Considerable thought has been given by the Board of Commissioners to the establishment of a Community College in Vance County…. We hope we can be in a position to request State funds for this project in the 1967 session of the Legislature. In order to be in this position, many things must be accomplished on a local level. Therefore, the Board has appointed certain citizens of the County to serve on a Community College Steering Committee…. You have been appointed to serve on this committee. We hope you will agree to serve in this capacity to help assure a Community College for Vance County.” Of the 36 people appointed at that time to the Steering Committee, Haun was among just five women.

“She was very proud of the opportunity to serve in that capacity,” Rosenberger said. “She was probably selected to be on the steering committee because she was active in the Kittrell community and people knew that she was interested in education.”

Haun was quickly chosen to be a member of a three-person nominating committee to select the leaders of the new Steering Committee. She was later appointed to serve on the “General Survey Committee.”

The steering committee later changed its focus to seeking a Technical Institute, when it became apparent that the state was not going to approve a community college in Vance County. Local leaders knew they could always seek community college status at a later date, which they eventually did. Haun continued serving on the steering committee to form a technical institute, an effort which succeeded in 1969. One record shows she was involved in discussions of where to locate the initial campus for the technical institute. “I think about the people she served with on the committee back in the 1960s, and I think they’d be pleased to see how the college has grown,” Rosenberger said. “It was just a dream back then.”

A Warren County native, Frieda Bender married Walter Haun, and the couple raised four children. She led an active life, becoming involved in the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, Home Demonstration Clubs, 4-H Clubs, the Kittrell Community Club and Delta Kappa Gamma. She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

“She took advantage of every opportunity to learn and to pass knowledge along to others,” her son, Harold W. Haun, recalled. “She always aimed higher.” Proud of her work at VGCC, he and his siblings remembered that their mother was, for whatever reason, the only one of her siblings who did not have the opportunity to go to college. “But she often said that, despite that fact, she was the only one of her siblings who taught at a college,” Rosenberger added.

When Vance County Technical Institute was still fairly new, Rosenberger said, her mother enrolled to take a continuing education class. “Someone in the class said they would like to learn about chair caning or making baskets, and my mother knew how to do that. She had been teaching things like that for the Home Demonstration Club,” Rosenberger recalled. “So she approached the college in the early 1970s about teaching such classes, and they agreed.” Haun continued teaching arts and crafts classes for VGCC through around the year 2000, when she was 85.

In the 1980s, it became difficult for Haun to leave her ailing husband at home for extended periods of time. With the permission of college officials, she started holding her classes in the basement of her own home. “VGCC became a great vehicle for her,” Rosenberger said. “Having the ability to teach in her basement really enriched her life in her later years.”

Along with letters, the records Haun kept about VGCC included meeting minutes and newspaper clippings. In addition, Rosenberger and her siblings have donated some of Haun’s handmade baskets to represent her artistry. Haun made baskets and stools and was particularly adept at chair caning. A chair she made was selected to represent VGCC in the N.C. Community College System’s art exhibition and sat for one year in the office of Robert Scott, the former governor of North Carolina, then serving as president of the system.

“Our mother would be glad that the college appreciates her collection and delighted that all those clippings she kept will be maintained here,” said her daughter, Betsy H. Stuart. “I’m glad she’s being remembered in this way.”

“We’re so grateful to the children of Frieda Haun for thinking of VGCC and for preserving their mother’s legacy,” said VGCC Endowment Fund Director Eddie Ferguson. “The unique items they have donated will be invaluable to us as we prepare to celebrate our college’s 50th anniversary in 2019.”

For more information on donating items related to VGCC history, contact Elaine Stem at or (252) 738-3340 or Eddie Ferguson at or (252) 738-3264.


N.C. Community College President of the Year Dr. Stelfanie Williams

— courtesy VGCC

Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of Vance-Granville Community College, has been named President of the Year for 2018 by the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges. She is the first leader in VGCC history to receive the honor.

The President of the Year Award, sponsored by Wells Fargo, was established by the State Board in 2001. This award encourages, identifies, and rewards outstanding leadership and commitment to the community college mission among the presidents of the 58 institutions of the North Carolina Community College System.

“My fellow trustees and I are delighted that the State Board of Community Colleges has recognized Dr. Williams for her visionary leadership,” said Danny Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees. “Our entire region has been blessed to have Dr. Williams lead Vance-Granville Community College to new heights of excellence by embracing innovation and fostering strong partnerships. She serves our institution, our community and the state of North Carolina with warmth, humility and a passion for student success. This award is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Williams and reflects positively on the entire Vance-Granville team.”

College leaders nominated Williams as part of a competitive selection process in which an eight-page narrative is submitted and candidates are interviewed by an awards committee. The awards process emphasizes accomplishments that presidents have led in the past three years at their institutions – demonstrating broad community partnerships, improving services through technology, workforce education, economic development, advocacy at the local and state levels, long-range planning, innovation in program development and supporting professional development for college employees, among other criteria.

Williams became the sixth president of VGCC in 2012. Since then, she has focused the college on a “Vanguard Vision” strategic plan that addresses educational excellence, continuous improvement, employee and student engagement in college life, and institutional stewardship. Under her leadership, the college has added seven curriculum degree programs, including Mechatronics Engineering Technology, which provides training for advanced manufacturing careers. That program has been supported by some of the largest grants in the college’s history — part of the $40 million in grant funding (including a record-setting, in-kind donation from Siemens PLM Software) secured since 2013. Williams also helped initiate the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Alliance (AMSTA) with the Career & Technical Education high school programs from the four public school systems in the college’s service area.

Her tenure has seen the second-largest private donor gift in VGCC history, as well as six consecutive highest-yielding annual golf tournaments for scholarships. With a focus on student success, the institution has improved completion rates, graduating the largest classes ever in 2015 and 2016. The most recent graduating class (2017) featured the largest number of associate’s degrees awarded in the history of the college.

She collaborated with North Carolina Central University to establish the “Eagle Voyage” partnership that now allows students with associate degrees to complete one of three bachelor’s degree programs without having to leave the VGCC campus. Meanwhile, the college has also partnered with North Carolina A&T State University through a program called “Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses” (RIBN), in which students simultaneously enroll at VGCC and the university to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

In addition, Williams introduced a private donor-funded college promise program called the “VanGuarantee” in an effort to make college more accessible for students with the greatest financial need. The scholarship program has garnered national attention and was highlighted by the White House in 2016.

Williams has championed Vance-Granville’s embrace of technology to provide greater academic offerings and support to students. The “Vanguard Online Learning through Technology” (VOLT) initiative has made six degree programs available completely online.

Prior to leading VGCC, Williams served as faculty and in several administrative capacities at other North Carolina community colleges. She also currently serves as adjunct faculty for the North Carolina State University College of Education.

Williams earned baccalaureate degrees in public policy and Spanish at Duke University, a master’s degree in project management from Western Carolina University, and her doctorate in adult and higher education from N.C. State University.

Williams has served on a number of boards and is the current secretary of the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents. In 2014, she was awarded the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leadership Award by North Carolina State University. In late 2017, Williams was appointed to a pair of statewide panels that are focused on education issues: the “My Future NC” Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education.


(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS.)

Wake Electric grant provides technology for VGCC Library

— courtesy VGCC

A grant that Wake Electric Membership Corporation awarded to Vance-Granville Community College has been used for a project to provide enhanced technology for students in the Library on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.

The $3,000 Classroom Technology grant purchased three 48-inch LED smart TV monitors allowing for large-screen displays in each of three study rooms in the library, as well as a Microsoft Surface tablet device that can also be used by students in those study rooms.

“We are very excited that our students can now use this interactive technology in our library to help them study and succeed in their classes,” said VGCC Director of Library Services Elaine Stem, who applied for the grant. “Our study room usage has doubled in the past year, and I know this new technology will only increase the demand for the study space.”

Stem explained that the rooms previously had 19-inch monitors, which were not well-suited for use by groups of students, or even by individual students needing high-quality visual representations. “We are very appreciative to Wake Electric for supporting VGCC students,” Stem added.

Whitney Duke of Henderson, a student in the VGCC Associate Degree Nursing program, uses one of the new monitors to study bones in a study room at the VGCC Main Campus Library. (VGCC photo)

Wake Electric awards Classroom Technology grants to public K-12 schools and community colleges in its service area. The funds for the grants come from WEMC members who agree to round up their light bill to the nearest whole dollar through the “Operation RoundUp” program. Wake Electric is a non-profit electric utility serving over 42,500 consumers in parts of Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Vance, and Wake counties.

For more information on library services at VGCC, call (252) 738-3279 or visit


(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS.)

VanGuarantee Continues to Shine in National Spotlight

— courtesy VGCC

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees celebrated news from President Dr. Stelfanie Williams that the college’s VanGuarantee scholarship continues to gain national attention. The announcement was made on Nov. 20 at the board’s bi-monthly meeting on the Main Campus.

The trustees also welcomed two new board members and heard the results of a campus-wide campaign to raise money for the VGCC Endowment Fund.

In her report to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Williams said the “Community College Daily,” a publication of the American Association of Community Colleges, shared in October an annual report on the College Promise Campaign, described by the association as a movement focusing on providing a free community college education to qualified students.

In the past 12 months, the AACC said, more than 50 new programs were announced similar to VGCC’s VanGuarantee. “New College Promise programs are evolving at a rapid pace because communities and states recognize that a high school education is insufficient to secure a good job and a decent quality of life in today’s economy,” the report said, adding that there are now more than 200 such programs across 41 states.

The VanGuarantee benefitted 47 Vance-Granville students during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to VGCC’s Financial Aid Office. A total of $50,514 was disbursed to help those students.

Designed to help eliminate any financial barriers standing between students and their academic goals, the VanGuarantee was announced in March 2016, with the first scholarships awarded in the Fall 2016 semester. The innovative scholarship program was made possible by a $1.6 million bequest to the college from the estate of Wilbert A. Edwards, a Vance County native, who was living in Oxford at the time of his death. Edwards’ gift, announced in 2015, is the second largest in the history of VGCC.

The AACC said the annual report highlighted the efforts to create College Promise programs in rural areas of the nation, “which on average have fewer students attaining college credentials than students in cities,” citing specifically the program at Vance-Granville.

“More than half of the nation’s 1,400 community colleges in the United States are located in rural areas, and they serve a third of the nation’s community college population,” the College Promise Campaign annual report for 2017 says. “Some … like Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina have the responsibility to serve a broad geographic area for their local populations. The aim of these rural programs is to help more students enter and complete a community college education within their region through shared education, business and philanthropic partnerships that identify sustainable financial resources for the College Promise.”

New Trustees

Xavier Wortham of Oxford, left, is sworn in as a newly appointed member of the VGCC Board of Trustees by Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Carolyn J. Thompson at the board’s meeting on Nov. 20. Wortham has been appointed to a four-year term by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper. (VGCC photo)

The Board of Trustees welcomed Xavier Wortham of Oxford as a newly appointed trustee at the meeting. Wortham, who works as executive director of the Oxford Housing Authority in Granville County, was sworn in by District Court Judge Carolyn J. Thompson, who serves District 9.

Appointed for a four-year term on the board by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper, Wortham replaces Michele Burgess of Henderson, who had served since September 2013.

Also joining the board for a one-year term was Sophie Taylor, who was recently elected president of the VGCC Student Government Association. Taylor, who is a student at Franklin County Early College High School, will serve as a Student Trustee, representing the interests of her fellow VGCC students at all meetings of the trustees.

Faculty-Staff Drive for Scholarships

The co-chairs of the annual faculty and staff drive for the VGCC Endowment Fund announced to the Trustees that $21,036 was raised this fall from among employees on Vance-Granville’s four campuses to support the mission of the college and students through scholarships.

VGCC Board of Trustees Chair Danny W. Wright celebrates the announcement of $21,036 raised in the Faculty-Staff Drive for the VGCC Endowment Fund this fall. Co-chairs of the campaign were Andrew Beal, public information officer for the college; Willie Mae Foster-Hill, receptionist at Main Campus; and Jeremy Lambert, assistant director of financial aid. Kay Currin, VGCC Endowment specialist, made the presentation to the trustees at their Nov. 20 meeting. Shown from left are Wright, Beal, Foster-Hill and Currin. Lambert was unavailable. (VGCC photo)

The drive co-chairs were Andrew Beal, public information officer; Willie Mae Foster-Hill, Main Campus receptionist; and Jeremy Lambert, assistant director of financial aid.

VGCC awarded 306 scholarships, including several funded by faculty and staff contributions, at its annual awards dinner this October.

Capital Projects

Trustee Donald C. Seifert, Sr., chair of the board’s Building Committee, and Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, gave updates on several capital projects.

A final report on the assessment of needed exterior masonry repairs to buildings on the Main Campus is expected soon. Some county funds and additional monies from the Connect NC Bond will be used to restore, structurally repair and waterproof campus-wide building masonry rooflines, walls and bridges.

A report is expected in January on options to replace existing deteriorated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and to replace obsolete fire alarm systems on the Main Campus, using funds from the Bond.

A portion of the renovations to the Welding Lab at the VGCC Franklin County Campus is expected to be completed in December, with the remaining work being done during the Summer Term next year. State Bond funds are being used to add eight welding booths to the existing lab at the campus near Louisburg and to add a demonstration area in an adjacent classroom.

Other Action

In other action:

• Trustee Abdul Rasheed, chair of the Budget Committee, presented a motion, that was approved, to write off $1,021.84 in uncollectable student accounts under $50 from the college’s financial accounting records and no longer recognize them as collectible receivables for financial reporting purposes.

• Graham, reporting for the board’s Investment Committee, noted the college’s investments have grown by 9.3 percent since the beginning of the calendar year.

• An informational report on new employees, retirements, resignations and changes in positions was provided by Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the board’s Personnel Committee.

• In her report to the board, Dr. Williams highlighted recent accomplishments and opportunities at the college. She noted the Vance-Granville Community Band concert will be held on Monday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson.

Presiding over the meeting was Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright.

The Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Jan. 22 at the Main Campus. Normally held on the third Monday of the month, the meeting in January is being moved to the fourth Monday because of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday.


(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS.)

VGCC President appointed to major education commission

— courtesy VGCC

Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of Vance-Granville Community College, has been appointed to serve on the “My Future NC” Commission, a new statewide group focused on educational attainment.

My Future NC was recently created by the leaders of the North Carolina public education systems, including the president of the University of North Carolina, Margaret Spellings; the acting president of the North Carolina Community College System, Jennifer Haygood; and the state superintendent of public instruction, Mark Johnson. The Commission’s work is being underwritten by grants from The John M. Belk Endowment, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Goodnight Education Foundation. My Future NC brings together top leaders from education, business, non-profit organizations and state government.

The commission will study and discuss state education and training needs, identify obstacles to meeting those needs, and generate policy recommendations. President Spellings is the co-chair for the effort, along with Dale Jenkins, chief executive officer of Medical Mutual Holdings, and Andrea Smith, chief administrative officer of Bank of America.

Dr. Williams is one of two community college presidents on the panel, along with Dr. Jeff Cox of Wilkes Community College. Other members of the commission include corporate and non-profit foundation chief executives, a local school superintendent, a university chancellor, a legislator, and a pair of members of the clergy. Darryl Moss, the mayor of Creedmoor and a member of the VGCC Endowment Fund board, has also been appointed to the commission.

“We have two North Carolinas when it comes to education and opportunity — the affluent, well-educated population centers — and the small towns and rural communities that have been left out of the rising economic and educational tide that has lifted our state,” said President Spellings. “And North Carolina is one of only a few states without a comprehensive strategic plan from pre-K through post-secondary education. The goal of this effort is simple but by no means easy: to develop a multi-year education plan that recommends a robust attainment goal for the state and a broad-based agenda for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina. We can do better and we should do better—the future of our great state depends on it.”

The commission’s goal is to complete its work by the end of 2018.

“Higher education is an absolute imperative for the future of our state and our workforce,” said Andrea Smith, Bank of America CAO and My Future NC co-chair. “Two of every three new jobs now require some form of post-secondary education — whether that’s training credentials, an associate degree, a four-year degree or higher. This reality underscores how critical education is to career growth and how important it is to increasing economic mobility.”

“I am honored to join a distinguished group of North Carolina leaders who will bring our diverse perspectives to the challenges of strengthening and aligning our state’s excellent educational institutions so that all children and adults can succeed,” President Williams said. “I bring to this task my experience from VGCC, which reflects the entire education pipeline, with our two five-star child care centers as well as our partnerships with K-12 school systems, with the business community and with universities.”

Williams became the sixth president of VGCC in 2012. Since then, she has focused the college strategically on educational excellence, continuous improvement, employee and student engagement in college life, and institutional stewardship. During her tenure, the college has added seven curriculum degree programs, secured the largest grants in the college’s history, the second-largest private donor gift, and held six consecutive highest-yielding annual golf tournaments for scholarships. With a focus on student success, the institution has improved completion rates, graduating the largest classes ever in 2015 and 2016, and initiating a private donor-sponsored college promise program called the “VanGuarantee” in an effort to make college more accessible for students with the greatest financial need.

Prior to leading VGCC, Williams served as faculty and in several administrative capacities at other North Carolina community colleges. She also currently serves as adjunct faculty for the North Carolina State University College of Education. Williams holds dual baccalaureate degrees from Duke University, a graduate degree from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate from North Carolina State University. In 2014, she was awarded the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leadership Award by North Carolina State University.

For more information about My Future NC, visit


VGCC Trustees adopt budget for 2017-2018

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees adopted a budget of $32,324,089 for the new fiscal year at its bi-monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 18, on the college’s Main Campus.

The trustees approved VGCC’s budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 on a recommendation from the Budget Committee of the board, chaired by Trustee Abdul Sm Rasheed.

On the Current Expense side of the budget, $19,552,255 comes from the State of North Carolina, $2,578,292 from the four counties served by the college, and $9,652,832 from institutional funds. In the Capital Outlay budget, $35,649 comes from the State, $502,442 from the counties, and $2,619 from institutional funds.

At the county level, Vance County is contributing $1,151,597 to the current operating funds; Granville, $752,184; Franklin, $369,168; and Warren, $225,625, with an additional $79,718 coming from institutional funds. Among capital improvement funds from the counties, Vance is contributing $41,220; Granville, $28,740; Franklin, $20,000; and Warren, $6,000. The county capital improvement funds also include one-time funding of $304,831 and a Main Campus fund balance of $101,651.

The 2017-2018 budget is allocated as follows: institutional support: $5,195,362; curriculum instruction: $10,001,433; continuing education: $2,690,176; academic support: $1,299,114; student support: $2,074,683; plant operations and maintenance: $2,015,066; proprietary/other: $2,499,903; student aid: $5,215,433; capital outlay, excluding capital improvements: $792,209; and capital improvement projects: $540,710.

Among institutional budget highlights, Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, noted that 47 VanGuarantee Scholarships were awarded in the total amount of $50,514 to qualified students during the 2016-2017 academic year, with a similar amount budgeted for the new year. The VanGuarantee program was made possible by a bequest from the estate of Wilbert Edwards of Oxford, with the aim of ensuring that every student residing in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, who wants to earn a college degree, will be able to do so. This scholarship program guarantees that student financial need, that is unmet by federal financial aid and other support, will be covered.

In other action:

  • The board’s Building Committee noted that the roof replacement project for Building 6 on Main Campus has been completed, and repairs to the parking lots at South Campus are done. The committee is preparing for future projects, including exterior masonry repairs and renovations and the replacement of heating and air systems and fire alarm systems at the Main Campus, and renovation of the Welding Technology lab at Franklin Campus, among various other capital needs.
  • The Curriculum Committee, chaired by Trustee Barbara Cates Harris, presented new appointments to the Advisory Committees for college programs for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • Trustee L. Opie Frazier, Jr., chair of the board’s Investment Committee, reported the college’s investments have grown by 7 percent since the beginning of the calendar year.
  • Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the board’s Personnel Committee, provided an informational report on new employees, retirements, resignations and changes in positions.
  • In her report to the board, Dr. Stelfanie Williams, VGCC’s president, highlighted recent accomplishments and opportunities at the college.

Presiding over the meeting was Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright.

The Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Nov. 20 at the Main Campus.

VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or


VGCC instructor graduates from leadership program

Dr. Kambiz Tahmaseb, a Biology and Chemistry instructor at Vance-Granville Community College, recently graduated from the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP). He is one of approximately 35 community college faculty and staff members from across the state who completed the program this year.

The six-month leadership program, which includes face-to-face instruction at various locations, provides preparation and training to develop future community college leaders. The program is highly experiential in nature, and, this year, participants worked in teams to address challenges at hypothetical community colleges. They became involved in every aspect of those colleges, from naming and branding to strategic planning.

In addition to strengthening their leadership skills, NCCCLP participants learn about the structure and governance of the community college system, enjoy opportunities for networking, and form a diverse pool of qualified educational leaders.

“The major lesson I learned from the program is that leadership is not about being the president of a college, or a company or a nation,” Dr. Tahmaseb said. “Leadership happens in every level of our lives. In the NCCCLP, I learned a lot about myself, and how I interact with others, both in my private life and professional life, and how those interactions affect how I may influence those individuals. The lessons I learned will help me as a husband, father, teacher and colleague.”

A resident of Durham, Tahmaseb earned bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry at Willamette University in Oregon and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at Wright State University in Ohio. He was also a postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tahmaseb joined the VGCC faculty in 2012 and has taught both face-to-face and online science courses, spending most of his time at the college’s South Campus near Creedmoor. He is also currently serving his second term as the elected vice president of external affairs for the North Carolina Community College Faculty Association.

The North Carolina Community College Leadership Program was created in 1989, under the auspices of the state chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, to provide an interdisciplinary approach to leadership training through professional development. Graduates have used the skills and connections gained from the program to be more successful leaders in all areas and at all levels in the North Carolina Community College System.