[CLINTON, N.C.] – Newly elected North Carolina Community College System President, Thomas Stith, visited Sampson Community College on Thursday to share his goals and plans for the state’s “Great 58” community colleges — including Sampson. Stith met with various leaders across campus.

Stith, who took on the role in January, shared what he calls the “three pillars.”

–         Be the first choice for affordable and accessible education.

–         Be on the front lines to prepare the workforce for the future and to assist in economic recovery and expansion.

–         Be a national model for diversity and inclusion.

According to Stith, each of these pillars work together to strengthen the state and put North Carolina at a “competitive advantage.” Campus leaders valued Stith’s visit and his plans for the North Carolina Community College System. 

“President Stith really showed concern for the salaries of the faculty and staff. It’s obvious that he wants to enhance those areas,” Board of Trustees Chairman, Dr. Ted Thomas, commented. “I think Sampson Community College will be etched in his mind over the next few months. We really thank him for taking the time to stop by.”

President Stith breathes a sigh and laugh of relief after completing his drive around campus. (Photo Credit, Cheyenne McNeill)

Stith met with several leaders on campus, hearing about the College’s success in its Health Programs division and the growth of its transportation program. Others shared plans for the college’s CCP program and its new Teacher Preparation program.

SCC Board of Trustees Vice-Chair, Larinda Haight, who is also a School Counselor at Midway High School, felt impressed with Stith’s emphasis on the Career and College Promise program.

“We really appreciated President Stith’s visit to our small corner of North Carolina to see what we have to offer. It’s so refreshing to see that he recognizes and appreciates how programs like CCP are meeting the needs of students across the state,” Haight remarked. 

Throughout his visit, Stith stressed the importance of collaboration and mutual support between community colleges. He also emphasized that community college presidents, administration, faculty, and staff can rest assured that they have his support.

“President Stith stressed the importance of the budget decisions that are now before the General Assembly,” President of Sampson Community College, Dr. Bill Starling, shared. “President Stith expressed his support for the challenges of all our community colleges as we work cooperatively to help address the need for skilled labor as we emerge from the isolation of COVID. We extend our thanks to President Stith for his attention to SCC.”

Stith observed students perform an EMS simulation lab and training session after meeting with campus leaders. He concluded his visit by climbing up into the cab of an 18-wheel semi-truck and taking a drive around campus, with Director of Transportation, Fred Stamey, in the passenger seat.

 “Clearly Sampson Community College plays a huge role in our plans — whether it be truck driving or healthcare —and community colleges are playing a huge role in our economic recovery,” Stith commented.

President Stith was joined by leaders across campus, including President Bill Starling and Board of Trustees Chair and Vice Chair, Ted Thomas and Larinda Haight — among others. (Photo Credit/Kayla Morris)

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.