Our History

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Rockingham County is the birthplace of the North Carolina Community College System. 

In 1958 the Leaksville State Vocational Training Center opened on the Morehead High School campus. The Leaksville Training Center was the first of seven such centers authorized by the North Carolina Legislature to open across the state. Those seven centers grew to 20 by 1963 and became the core of the North Carolina Community College System. On Oct. 28, 2012, a dedication ceremony took place at Morehead High School in which a highway marker was unveiled. The marker reads, “Industrial Education Centers: As forerunners of state community colleges, 1958-1963, boosted vocation training. First in N.C. operated 200 yards E.”

The center in Leaksville was the forerunner of Rockingham Community College. The College was chartered in 1963 and classes began in 1966.

RCC History 1963 – 1970

  • June 1963 – N.C. General Assembly passes enabling legislation leading to local elections on the establishment of community colleges and technical institutes across the state.
  • July 1963 – The people of Rockingham County formally request approval from the State Board of Education for establishment of a community college in the county.
  • November 1963 – The citizens of the county vote in favor of a community college, approving $1.25 million in bonds and a supporting tax levy.
  • December 1963 – State Board of Education grants charter for Rockingham Community College. First trustees are appointed.
  • January 1964 – Trustees hold first meeting, electing Welsford Bishopric of Eden as chairman.
  • April 1964 – Dr. Gerald B. James is appointed RCC president. Work begins on site selection, architectural design, and faculty/staff employment.
  • January 1966 – Groundbreaking ceremony is held as work begins on first four buildings (Shop, Classroom, Laboratory, and Learning Resources Center).
  • October 1966 – Classes begin in Shop, Laboratory, and Classroom buildings as workmen add finishing touches. (Learning Resources Center opens in February, 1968).
  • November 1966 – Student Government Association holds first meeting.
  • June 1967 – Trustees adopt college seal.
  • August 1967 – RCC holds first graduation.
  • October 1967 – Fund-raising drive for student center building begins. Campus open house is held.
  • December 1968 – Rockingham Community College is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, retroactive to the opening of the College, to grant the associate degree. (Decennial accreditation reaffirmed in December of 1972, 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013.)
  • October 1969 – Physical Education Building is opened.
  • January 1970 – RCC Foundation, Inc., files articles of incorporation, establishing it as a vehicle for receiving charitable contributions to the college.

RCC History 1971 – 1980

  • April 1971 – The Harold W. Whitcomb Student Center opens. It is the first building on campus to be named for an individual, and is built and furnished entirely from individual and corporate gifts. The building houses Student Services offices as well as dining facilities, lounge, meeting and recreation rooms.
  • October 1975 – Administration Building is completed.
  • July 1976 – Learning Resources Center passes 40,000 mark in volumes and resource materials available.
  • October 1976 – New campus-wide governance system giving equal voice to students, faculty and staff is instituted. Building for receiving, storage, and maintenance is completed.
  • September 1979 – Shop Building II is completed, with new facilities for auto body repair, light construction, and electrical installation and maintenance programs. State funds RCC’s Special Needs Assistant Program (SNAP), one of the few assistance/counseling projects for students with disabilities in North Carolina. The Career Life Planning Center opens in the Whitcomb Student Center.

RCC History 1981 – 1990

  • May 1982 – First student-built house, in University Estates near Reidsville, is completed for sale.
  • June 1982 – The Special Collections Room, devoted to area heritage and historical research, is opened by RCC Foundation in the Learning Resources Center.
  • February 1983 – RCC Foundation and Development Office begin first fund-raising drives in Eden, Reidsville, and Western Rockingham County.
  • July 1983 – Dr. Gerald James retires as president. Dr. N. Jerry Owens, Jr., becomes RCC’s second president.
  • April 1984 – New power lathes, gifts from American Tobacco Co. through the RCC Foundation, arrive in RCC’s machine shop. This is the first part of American’s five-year, $100,000 gift to the RCC Foundation. Multimedia Learning Center opens in the Lab Building. Self-paced Secretarial Science courses taught up to 14 hours a day with state-of-the-art equipment. Enrollment doubles in summer secretarial programs.
  • May 1984 – Electromechanical Technology Program is approved for start of fall semester 1984.
  • June 1984 – Under new faculty/staff development programs, RCC instructors attend various universities, trade institutions, etc., for advanced degree credits and in-field training.
  • September 1984 – College logo approved.
  • November 1984 – $4 million bond issue passes by 4-1 ratio, assuring construction of $3.6 million Technical Laboratories Building and $400,000 in other facilities.
  • August 1985 – For second year, 100 percent of all RCC Associate Degree Nursing graduates who take state licensing exams pass, placing RCC in top echelon of state nursing programs.
  • September 1985 – Associate in Fine Arts Degree offered.
  • September 1986 – Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program starts.
  • Fall 1986 – Events held to commemorate 20th Anniversary of RCC.
  • January 1987 – Julius J. Gwyn elected chair of Board of Trustees, succeeding Welsford F. Bishopric who served continuously as chair since January 1964. Both are original trustees.
  • Fall 1987 – Fine and Creative Woodworking Program begins.
  • 1988 – Marketing Study funded by Foundation.
  • January 1988 – Technical Laboratories Building opened and dedicated.
  • June 1988 – Advanced Machinist Program established. RCC Foundation experiences its best year ever, receiving $242,788 in charitable contributions.
  • August 1988 – Instruction/Storage Building completed.
  • December 1988 – Small Business Center begins operation.
  • 1989 – DeMint Marketing study completed and major outreach initiatives started.
  • February 1989 – American Tobacco Company renews pledge of $100,000 (over 5 years) to RCC Foundation.
  • September 1989 – Paralegal Technology and Practical Nursing programs started.
  • January 1990 – Robert Harris elected Board of Trustees chair. Child Care Center opens.
  • February 1990 – RCC announces its new mission of enhancing individual and community success in Rockingham County.
  • March 1990 – Law Enforcement Technology Program begins.
  • May 1990 – Rockingham County Folk Festival draws an estimated 8,000-10,000 to RCC campus and is destined to become an annual event. Personnel Management and Travel and Tourism programs begin.
  • September 1990 – Real Estate Technology Specialist program starts.

RCC History 1991 – 2000

  • September 1991 – Customer Service Technology Program starts.
  • October 1991 – RCC celebrates its 25th year of service.
  • December 1991 – Teacher Assistant Program starts.
  • January 1992 – Joe King elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • September 1992 – Manufacturing Systems Technology Program begins.
  • March 1993 – Phlebotomy Program starts.
  • September 1993 – Horticulture Technology programs starts.
  • November 1993 – State-wide bond issues for community college construction passes. RCC receives $2.7 million for new Human Services Building.
  • January 1994 – Garland Rakestraw elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • January 1994 – Learning Resources Center renamed The Gerald B. James Library.
  • September 1994 – Environmental Science Technology program begins.
  • October 1994 – RCC received Title III Grant for $1.7M over 5 years.
  • October 1994 – RCC received Duke Endowment grant for $99,000 to start Surgical Technology program.
  • December 1994 – Surgical Technology program begins.
  • January 1995 – Human Services Building named The N. Jerry Owens, Jr. Human Services Building.
  • September 1995 – All buildings connected with fiber optic cable.
  • December 1995 – Human Services Building opened.
  • January 1996 – W.B. Apple, Jr. elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • March 1996 – Center for Active Retirement opened in Human Services Building.
  • June 1996 – Dr. N. Jerry Owens, Jr. retires as president.
  • July 1996 – Dr. Robert C. Keys becomes RCC’s third president.
  • October 1996 – Installation Ceremony for Dr. Robert C. Keys.
  • October 1996 – College celebrates 30th year of service.
  • August 1997 – Semester conversion begins.
  • September 1997 – Distance Learning Center opened for students.
  • December 1997 – Emergency Services Training Center opened.
  • August 1998 – Occupational Therapy Assistant program begins.
  • August 1998 – Fire Protection Technology program begins.
  • January 1998 – Ruth Hodges elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • January 1999 – Respiratory Care program begins with Kate B. Reynolds Grant monies.
  • August 1999 – Criminal Justice Technology program begins.
  • September 1999 – Whitcomb Student Center renovations completed – open house held.
  • January 2000 – Frank Dalton elected Board of Trustees chair.

RCC History 2001-2010

  • April 2001 – Ben R. and Lemma M. Apple Foundation Amphitheater opens.
  • January 2002 – Cynthia S. Wharton elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • April 2003 – Emergency Services Training Center classroom/storage building dedicated.
  • January 2004 – S. Jack Webster elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • November 2004 – Groundbreaking for the Bisphoric Lifelong Learning Center
  • January 2005 – RCC launches new website
  • November 2005 – The RCC Foundation launches a capital campaign to build a community civic center with the announcement of a $3 million dollar gift from the McMichael Family Foundation. The facility name will be The McMichael Civic Center.
  • January 2006 – Vernie B. Williams elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • October 2006 – RCC celebrates its 40th year of service.
  • April 2007 – RCC dedicates baseball field.
  • January 2008 – Kenan C. Wright elected Board of Trustees chair
  • September 2008 – RCC dedicated the Julius J. Gwyn Boardroom.
  • January 2010 – Barbara S. Moore elected Board of Trustees chair.

RCC History 2011-2020

  • February 2011 – Dr. Robert C. Keys retires as president.
  • March 2011 – Dr. Michael S. Helmick becomes RCC’s fourth president.
  • January 2012 – C. Grayson Whitt elected Board of Trustees chair
  • August 2012 – The college adopts a new logo and image campaign.
  • January 2013 – C. Grayson Whitt reelected Board of Trustees Chair.
  • February 2013 – The Center for Creative Woodworking opens in Reidsville.
  • March 2013 – RCC’s Nature Trail is dedicated.
  • January 2012 – C. Grayson Whitt reelected Board of Trustees chair.
  • August 2013 – RCC’s Center for Brewing Sciences opens in Eden.
  • September 2013 – RCC’s Fabrication Center is dedicated.
  • September 2013 – The Reidsville Area Foundation announces a gift of $1.27 million to the Simulated Hospital.
  • January 2014 – C. Grayson Whitt reelected Board of Trustees Chair.
  • June 2014 – The Board of Trustees accepts the resignation of Dr. Michael C. Helmick.
  • June 2014 – RCC breaks ground for a state-of-the-art Simulated Hospital, a renovation of the Owens Human Services Building.
  • July 2014 – The Board of Trustees appoints Dr. William C. Aiken as interim president.
  • October 2014 – Duke Energy awards $250,000 to RCC to establish an Industrial Automation Manufacturing Center.
  • January 2015 – Dr. Mark O. Kinlaw becomes RCC’s fifth president.
  • January 2015 – Mark G. Collins elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • August 2015 – Aviation Machinist Pathway program of study begins for high school students.
  • October 2015 – U.S. Department of Education awards $1.1 million grant for Student Support Services.
  • November 2015 – Federal grant provides $2.24 million to expand distance learning.
  • January 2016 – Mark G. Collins reelected Board of Trustees chair.
  • September 2016 – Simulated Hospital grand opening celebration is held.
  • Spring 2017 – Special events held to commemorate RCC’s 50th anniversary.
  • January 2017 – Elizabeth H. Maddrey elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • April 2017 – Duke Energy presents $700,000 gift to RCC to help establish the TRAILS program.
  • July 2017 – RCC tennis courts receive national recognition from the U.S. Tennis Association.
  • March 2018 – N.C. Governor Roy Cooper visits campus.
  • May 2018 – Rockingham County voters approve a one-quarter cent sales and use tax to support workforce development at RCC.
  • January 2018 – Elizabeth H. Maddrey reelected Board of Trustees chair.
  • June 2018 – RCC Eagles Baseball Team makes it to final four round of NJCAA World Series.
  • August 2018 – First class finishes RockATOP Apprenticeship Program.
  • November 2018 – Bid for Auctioneering School approved by N.C. Auctioneer Licensing Board.
  • January 2019 – Janice R. Tate elected Board of Trustees chair.
  • February 2019 – RCC begins receiving payments of approximately $150,000 per month from quarter-cent sales tax funds.
  • March 2019 – Blue Cross NC invests $1 million across RCC and 4 other community colleges to help fund EMS associate degree programs.
  • March 2019 – Golden Leaf invests $200,000 in RCC’s high school machining program.
  • May 2019 – Rockingham Promise begins, bringing RCC courses to high school students.
  • July 2019 – Board of Trustees approves site for Center for Workforce Development.
  • December 2019 – Board of Trustees restructures and reorganizes RCC Foundation.
  • Spring 2020 – Covid-19 forced a majority of in-person classes to transition to online only. The graduation ceremony is held virtually.
  • September 2020 – Barn quilt unveiled at RCC’s Historical Village.
  • October 2020 – Eagle Fuel Food Pantry opens for students.
  • August 2020 – Agribusiness Technology program begins.

RCC History 2021 – present

  • May 2021 – RCC Eagles Baseball Team captures regional crown, then makes third-in-a-row appearance in National Junior College Athletic Association’s World Series.
  • February 2021 – RCC launches new website.
  • August 2021 – New associate degrees are now offered in Environmental Planning & Development, Teacher Preparation, and Emergency Medical Science.

Address

Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Rd.
Wentworth, NC 27375

Hours

Monday to Thursday:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Contact

336-342-4261
336-349-9986 (fax)
info@rockinghamcc.edu