During the month of August, at the turn of the new fiscal year, Sampson Community College (SCC) bid farewell to six longtime directors of the SCC Foundation: John Baxter, Roland Hall, Gary Mac Herring, Lethia Lee, Merrie McLamb, and Amelia Surratt. Their departure comes after the Foundation Board’s decision to adopt new policies in 2020, limiting terms for their directors to three years and the opportunity for re-election to two additional terms.
With service periods ranging from two years to seventeen years, Lisa Turlington, Executive Director of the Foundation, shared that each departing director’s presence will certainly be felt amidst their absence. She remarked highly on every one of them and their time spent with the Foundation over the years. In a quote, Turlington voiced that she is immensely grateful to all of this year’s departing directors for their service and knows that their impact will be felt at the College for years to come.
“It has truly been a pleasure working with all of these public service leaders over the many years of their commitment to the College,” she shared. The Foundation has been the beneficiary of their knowledge, expertise, and personal relationships. While John, Roland, Gary Mac, Lethia, Merrie, and Amelia may be rolling off the Board of Directors, the Foundation knows we can continue to count on them to support Sampson Community College.”
Beginning her term in 2005, Amelia Surratt, the Foundation’s longest current serving director, has “worn many hats” during her time with the Foundation: President, Vice President, and a member of several committees such as EXCEL and Finance. Over the years, she’s also assisted Turlington with planning and decorating for events, established a student scholarship at SCC with her husband, Dr. John Surratt, and contributed substantially to the Foundation’s recent Develop the East campaign, which helped fund the creation of the College’s Sampson East Park.
“I think education is a very important part for everybody and the growth of the community,” expressed Surratt via phone interview. “I enjoy the fact that the Foundation is helping people in the community father their education and love how they gift scholarships to the students. I’m also very glad about the new walking track at the East Park. It is a good thing for our community as well. I love seeing people use the facility. We have so many opportunities here at the College and it has grown so much. I have enjoyed working with the board members and becoming friends with them during my time with the Foundation.”
Gary Mac Herring
Tied for second, behind Surratt, as the longest serving departing director this year, Gary Mac Herring began his directorship with the SCC Foundation in 2011. According to Turlington, he’s helped the Foundation build lasting relationships in northern Sampson County, in addition to being actively engaged in all fundraising campaigns, community events, and outreach activities over the years. Like Surratt, he’s also been a lead donor in the Foundation’s Develop the East Campaign..
Similarly, John Baxter, Managing Director of Schindler Elevator Corporation, has also been a large contributor to the Develop the East Campaign and has given the Board an industry perspective during his time with them. He’s worked with his wife, Dr. Susan Baxter, Division Chair of Education, Business, and Human Services Technologies at SCC, over the years to assist the Foundation, both being personally engaged with various student aid projects.
The newest director leaving this year, Lethia Lee began her service term in 2020 amidst COVID-19. During her directorship, in Turlington’s eyes, Lee has helped the College reach more people in the southern part of Sampson County, in addition to providing the Foundation with a fresh viewpoint from the county government.
Representing Roseboro on the Foundation Board, Roland Hall served for twenty-two years on the town’s council, including four years as mayor. He’s also a former employee of the College, managing SCC’s Education programs for nineteen years. Through his service to the Foundation, Hall has assisted the College in staying connected to the Roseboro area.
Like Herring, Merrie McLamb has served on the Foundation Board of Directors for eleven years, in the roles of both director and secretary. Throughout her service time, McLamb consistently volunteered with student engagement, community, and Foundation events such as receptions, scholar-donor appreciations, and phonathons. McLamb was also another lead donor in the Foundation’s Develop the East Campaign. She looks back on her decade of service with fondness and remembers the fun times she had with both students, directors, and the community when it came to raising donations.
“I just loved working with the Foundation board,” explained McLamb via call. “It was very rewarding for me to work closely with them and truly get to know them. I continue to be amazed at how much they believe in the school and still do. The Foundation is so committed to the College and the students. If I hadn’t been on the board, I wouldn’t know about all the things I do now. It was so exciting to be a part of it and to get to know how special the Foundation was in the community and how hard they work to help students.”
Speaking on the future of the Foundation, both McLamb and Surratt hoped that the new, oncoming members would have as memorable an experience with the group as they’ve had over the years. It’s always wonderful to see the younger generation interested in assisting the College, both directors mentioned, and they wish the newcomers well in all their future endeavors.
“I really hope the new members bond,” commented McLamb. “That’s something I think we did over the years. We enjoyed being together and working together. I wish them well in raising the funds for the Foundation and keeping it going.”
However, above all, both McLamb and Surratt expressed that they wanted to thank Lisa Turlington for all she’s done for them during their time with the Foundation. Because of her guidance and expertise, the Foundation and its directors have continued to thrive tremendously during the years and reach scholars and donors like never before.
On behalf of all the departing directors, Surratt thanked, “As a Foundation, we are so fortunate to have Lisa Turlington. She is so knowledgeable, and I cannot say enough things about her and how well she directs the Foundation. I am excited to see the future with more opportunities for students.”
No matter how long their service terms may be, each of the six longtime Foundation Directors is certain to leave behind a legacy at the College that will be felt for years to come. With their departure comes the arrival of nine new members, with a few returning: Mary Brown, Alice Butler, Reid Butler, Mandy DuBose, CeCe Hudson, Pat Nobles, Tammy Peterson, Lew Starling, and Candy Taylor. The College is excited for these individuals to aid in the success of the Foundation throughout their directorships, just like each of the departing directors have continuously done throughout theirs.
For more information about the SCC Foundation, visit www.sampsoncc.edu/foundation.
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.