Lenoir Community College (LCC) is rich in history and is one of the oldest institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. Chartered April 3, 1958, LCC is one of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System. The system was established in 1963 under enactment of a general statute by the legislature and it serves nearly 850,000 citizens annually. Located at the intersection of highways US 70 and NC 58, LCC’s primary service area is Lenoir, Greene, and Jones counties. The College offers both degree and non-degree programs.
Two years after the State Board of Education chartered LCC, it began operations as the Lenoir County Industrial Educational Center (IEC) with Daniel C. Wise as director. Approximately 80 students enrolled in classes that were held at Contentnea High School. The following year in 1961, the vocational and technical curricula were initiated with classes held at Stallings Field, a former air base.
In 1963, the center moved to its 18-acre permanent campus and a new facility, later named the Bullock Building, and held its first graduation in June. In the same year, the IEC was separated administratively from the Lenoir County Board of Education, and the first Board of Trustees was organized.
Soon after, the Board secured the status of technical institute for the center, and in November 1964, the institution attained community college status. The Board of Trustees appointed Daniel C. Wise, who served until the summer of 1965, as acting president. At that time, Dr. Benjamin E. Fountain became president and the College expanded to 58 acres beginning long-range planning of campus development.
The first year of the transfer program was offered in 1966 at Stallings Field. Two years later, the program was moved to the new Administration Building on the permanent campus. LCC was initially accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has maintained accreditation ever since.
The ‘70s saw the expansion of the campus to 90 acres as well as a new president, Dr. Jesse L. McDaniel. He served in that capacity for 18 years. Seven new buildings were constructed, and the Jones County and Greene County Centers were opened. Upon Dr. McDaniel’s retirement, Dr. Lonnie H. Blizzard took the reigns as president in 1988. The following year a new building for aviation education was built at the Kinston Regional Jetport, and the Health Sciences Building was completed on the main campus.
The campus continued to grow with the A. Forrest Waller Building completed on the main campus at a cost of $4.5 million in 1998. The building included a 650-seat auditorium. After ten years as president, Dr. Blizzard retired; and in July 1998, Dr. Karin Pettit was named president.
New construction at the Greene County Center provided a 15,000 square foot facility at a cost of $1.6 million. Two more acres were purchased in 1999 on the corner of highways 58 and 70. In 2000, a state community college construction bond referendum was passed with LCC receiving more than $12 million for renovations and new construction.
The following year, Dr. Pettit left and the Board hired longtime LCC employee, Joyce Cherry, to serve as interim president. Mrs. Cherry provided the leadership necessary for the stability of the College during the time of transition. On April 22, 2002, Dr. Stephen Scott, former vice president of the North Carolina Community College System, took over as president. In 2003, Dr. Scott resigned to become president of Wake Technical Community College, and Mrs. Joyce Cherry was again named interim president until a new president was selected.
On May 10, 2004, Dr. Brantley Briley returned to his hometown and home college to become its sixth president. During the year, significant acquisitions and construction began changing the landscape of the campus. Twenty-seven acres of land were purchased on the east boundary and nine acres to the south of the campus. These purchases increased total acreage on the main campus to 128.
In December, a $5.4 million construction project began which included an addition to the Waller Building to house Culinary Arts and a $3.9 million facility to house the Learning Assistance Program, science classrooms, and labs. In 2005, nine acres of land were purchased in Jones County, and plans were initiated to construct a new Jones County Center. The $1.1 million Jones County Center opened in its new location in April 2009. At the Greene County Center, a $2.1 million addition was completed in 2008. In that same year, the College celebrated its 50th anniversary. A 278-page full color coffee table book was produced by the LCC Printing Department marking the College’s 50-year history. During the yearlong celebration, LCC experienced record enrollments and a significant increase in its Foundation-endowed scholarships through a special program, “50 for 50,” 50 new endowments to celebrate 50 years.
A new facility was built to house the College’s maintenance operations in 2009. In that same year, the Greene County Center on Harper Street in Snow Hill, which houses a corrections training facility was remodeled, making it a more versatile community center. The facility was renamed the Workforce Development Center in 2013. In 2010, a facility was secured in downtown La Grange to become the new home of the LCC La Grange Center. The Center opened its doors in May 2011. The College also expanded its offerings in Pink Hill by offering classes at the Pink Hill Wellness and Education Center, the former Pink Hill Elementary School. A new south parking lot was built providing 175 new parking spaces. Phase two of the Jones County Center was completed and included a vocational shop and three additional classrooms, adding an additional 5,100 square feet.
In 2011, several renovation and construction projects were completed. The former Maintenance/Receiving Building was completely remodeled to become the new Construction Trades/Receiving Facility, and the Grounds Maintenance Building was also remodeled. The College Bookstore, located in the Student Center, was completely remodeled in December 2011. The Automotive Customizing program received a new home after renovations were completed to the former Massey Body Shop in Kinston, an off-campus site. Extensive improvements have been made to the Lancer baseball facilities. The College Foundation purchased a custom-built bus for athletic and tour events. Detailed landscaping projects throughout campus have been completed. During the year, a long-range plan was developed to include the construction of a new facility to house Health Sciences and Nursing programs, an estimated $13 to $15 million project.
The College completed the construction and remodeling in 2012 of the former Greene Lamp/Head Start Building, which became home to the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) and Early Childhood programs. The Administration Auditorium renovations were also completed. To assist in traffic flow, a new driveway from N.C. 58 South was completed in 2012 as well as the completion of a campus-wide exterior signage project featuring a three-panel digital sign with high-resolution color digital displays. Phase III of the Jones County Center was completed in 2013. The Technical Trades Center was made possible through a Golden LEAF Community Assistance. The completed project added 6,390 square feet to the Jones County Center for a total of 18,890 square feet. The Center houses Gunsmithing and Welding programs, as well as health-related training and basic skills classes. A greenhouse was erected at the Center in 2015 to serve as a lab for the Sustainable Agriculture program.
The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) completed a visit to LCC on October 3, 2013. The College received its official letter of reaffirmation June 2014. The Visiting Committee’s report has been forwarded to the Commission’s Board of Trustees for action on reaffirmation of accreditation at their next board meeting. This Committee also had the responsibility to evaluate the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which is required for reaffirmation. LCC’s QEP is a campus-wide collaboration focusing on enhancing student learning in developmental mathematics.
On Oct. 1, 2016, Dr. Rusty Hunt became the seventh president after Dr. Briley retired with 12 years as president and more than 40 years of state service. Under Dr. Hunt’s leadership, the College launched its 2017-2022 Strategic Plan of “Reimaging the Student Experience,” from the initial point of contact with prospective students to completion of their chosen program of study and eventual success in the workforce. As part of the strategic plan, the College is also undergoing a facilities master plan.
The landscape of the College is continuing to change as it has acquired the North Carolina Global TransPark Spirit Composite Center of Excellence and will begin operations as the Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing Center in January 2020. The Center is a one-stop, state-of-the art training facility with advanced training providing Global TransPark work-based learning experiences and space for innovation for students and industry partners. The Center offers a unique experience for high school juniors and seniors for selected enrollment in one of four College programs.
The College received property valued at $1.7 million, which was donated by the Floyd family, Dexter and Dorothy Floyd, their son and his wife, Greg and Jennifer Floyd and their children Everette and Anderson. To recognize the Floyd family’s commitment to LCC and the community, the College plans to renovate the Business Technologies building and rename it the Floyd Health Sciences Center. The Center will be a state-of-the-art facility where the College’s health care programs will be housed. Moving the health care programs to its new home is part of the College’s Facility Master Plan.
In addition to the gift from the Floyd Family, the College was successful in receiving a $2 million Economic Development Administration grant from the US Department of Commerce to support the renovation of the new Floyd Health Sciences Center.
The College Foundation received more than a $1 million from the estate of William S. “Bill” and Melda B. Lamm, making it one of the largest gifts in LCC’s history. In addition to the Lamm’s gift, the Foundation received a $1 million donation from the Leigh and John McNairy family in support of students’ education for generations to come, and the Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the Learning Resources Center to the Leigh and John McNairy Library. In addition, the College Culinary Arts Center was renamed after William I. Herring, Sr. because of a generous donation by his daughter, long-time supporter Harriet Herring. The William I. Herring, Sr. Culinary Arts Center is located in the Waller Building.
Other major facility changes include renovations to the gymnasium to include new seating, paint scheme and graphics, the Briley Auditorium to include interior makeover with new seating, carpet, sound, lighting and control center moved to the floor level, and the Blizzard Atrium to include a new curtain wall of glass and structural metals and doors.
In 2021, the College was allocated $25 million from the North Carolina Legislature for the construction of an Aviation Center for Excellence, a regional partnership with the Economic Development Region to be located at the NC Global Transpark. The Center will house aviation programs, avionics, aircraft interiors, painting, construction, and composite technologies as well as aerospace research and development and customized training for specific aerospace applications. The Center will also house an Aviation Academy for high school students.
The College is committed to quality education and student success and offers 68 associate degree programs, 26 diploma programs, and 79 certificate/skills certificate programs and 4 Career and College Promise Pathways. Today, LCC serves more than 3,543 curriculum students and more than 5,963 continuing education students annually. LCC experienced record enrollment in its history during fall 2010 with 3,793 curriculum students. The College is ranked 19th in enrollment among the 58 community colleges in the state. As a world-class community college, LCC continues to expand its programs and services to meet the needs of the citizens it serves.