DCCC celebrates 50th anniversary
Davidson County Community College is celebrating a special birthday this month and plans on celebrating all year long. On Thursday, the college kicked off its yearlong celebration with a special reception. DCCC President Mary Rittling said that the college will share this momentous occasion with the Davidson County community.
“We are excited to mark this occasion with our entire community,” Rittling said. “As we reflect upon and celebrate our past, we also look to the future of the college and the impact we can have on our students and the community. DCCC is excited to celebrate this important milestone and we invite the community to celebrate along with us.”
The college got its start when Felix Gee of Lexington and Doak Finch of Thomasvillle wanted to provide education opportunities for their communities, which led to the start of the Davidson County Industrial Education Center in 1963. The college later changed its name to Davidson County Community College.
In 1963 the campus consisted of only the Sinclair Building on a 22-acre site with a total of 176 students. The college continued to grow with the Davie Campus in Advance, which opened in 1994. Additional satellite campuses were added when The Uptown Lexington Education Center opened in 2004, the Thomasville Education Center opened in 2005 and The Davie Education Center opened in 2008.
Today, the college serves approximately 16,000 students each year, offering more than 50 curriculum programs.
Notable graduates of the college include Davidson County Sheriff David Grice, Retired Thomasville Police Chief Ronald Bratton, Lexington Fire Chief Phil Hartley, DCCC Foundation Board member and Lexington City Council member Tonya Lanier and vice president of Century 21 Triad and founder/owner of The Swicegood Group Inc. in Davie County Kyle Swicegood.
“These are only a few of the many individuals in our community who chose to further their education with DCCC,” Rittling said. “Many of our students have, in fact, decided their career paths while attending the college. Our hope is to inspire students to find their passion through education, and we hope to continue to do that for the next 50 years and beyond.”
A special website dedicated to the anniversary, www.dccc50.org, will include updates, calender events and share stories from others in the community.
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• Jan. 29 — “Nostalgia” Art Show opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m.
• Feb. 21 — “Then Sings My Soul”, an evening of song that will celebrate the rich musical history of America, including spirituals and popular Broadway Songs from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Gee Auditorium.
• March 12 — Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, and Daniel Burrus, technology futurist and business strategist, address a lunch time audience in the DCCC Conference Center
• May 1-2 — Golf Dinner and Tournament
• Aug. 21 — First Day of Classes ceremony and festivities beginning at 10 a.m. in the campus courtyard
• Sept. 22 — Leadership reception at 2 p.m. at the DCCC conference center
• Nov. 16 — Anniversary Gala in the DCCC conference center
For more information, visit www.dccc50.org.
The First Fifty Years
April 3, 1958 — The Davidson County Industrial Education Center is chartered.
Aug. 5, 1963 — The first classes are held at the Industrial Education Center located between Lexington and Thomasville.
Feb. 4, 1965 — The institution is chartered as Davidson County Community College.
July 1, 1965 — Dr. Grady E. Love takes office as the first president.
Fall, 1966 — The Center begins operating as a community college.
Aug. 1967 — Nineteen students receive diplomas and degrees at the first graduation exercises in the auditorium of the Junior Order Children’s Home, where some of the first classes are held. Lt. Gov. Bob Scott gives the commencement address.
Oct. 2, 1967 — Students are welcomed into a new administrative-classroom building, which is later named the Felix O. Gee Building.
1968 — DCCC begins service to Davie County in basic education.
April 1969 — Phi Theta Kappa, a national honor society, is chartered.
1972 — The original campus building, which housed the industrial education center, is named in honor of William T. Sinclair, and the administration-classroom is named in honor of Felix O. Gee.
April 1972 — The Multi-Purpose Building, later named the Brinkley Building, is completed.
Nov. 1974 — The Finch Building opens and houses art, the Stanhope Lineberry Criminal Justice Center, and the heating and air conditioning program.
Sept. 1977 — The Grady E. Love LRC Building opens and includes a library with 60,000 books, an AV center, a TV studio, a photo dark room and a learning lab.
Oct. 1977 — The Reich Building, housing the nursing program, is dedicated and named for Ed Reich, a former foundation board member and dentist.
Dec. 1980 — The Student Center opens in a central location on the campus. The building is later named in honor of J. Bryan Brooks.
Sept. 1981 — The Child Development Center moves from the basement of the Gee Building to its own building where a working daycare is housed.
1983 — Extensive renovations of the Sinclair and Gee Buildings improve vocational education and technical programs.
April 1985 — The NC Board of Community Colleges grants DCCC the right to offer many courses in Davie County.
Oct. 1987 — The college opens its first office in Davie County.
June 1992 — A “flushing ceremony” is held to acknowledge a new pump station that solves sewage issues and allows the campus to expand.
May 1993 — Ground breaks on the first Davie campus building with Davie County Commissioners, Mocksville Town Council and private donors committing $1,938,000.
Fall 1994 — The Public Safety Services Building opens.
Spring 1997 — The technology building and the child development center open.
Oct. 1997 — A laboratory building opens on the Davie campus to accommodate auto mechanics, small engine repair, welding, computer repair and machine shop plus classrooms. Also a training ground for firefighters is completed near the building.
Nov. 2000 — The Helen C. Gantt Child Development Center opens on the Davie campus with funds raised by the community.
Fall 2003 — Two satellite campuses open: the Uptown Lexington Education Center and the Denton Town Hall; DCCC and three school systems in Davidson County partner to open a Davidson Middle College on the DCCC campus.
April 2005 — DCCC celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Davie Campus, which now has three buildings and an emergency services training facility.
June 2005 — The Thomasville satellite campus opens, attracting art students and students in the Carrier Refrigeration Repair Program.
Dec. 2008 — The Davie campus expands existing buildings to provide space for welding and nursing.
Aug. 2009 — DCCC opens the Conference, Training, and Technology Center, which also provides space for community group meetings.
Jan. 2012 — DCCC opens the Technology and Transportation Center, the first facility built with both federal and state grants.
June 2012 — East Carolina University and DCCC announce plans to build a community dental center on the DCCC campus.
Nov. 2012 — The Gantt building opens to accommodate the Davie County Early College.