Sandhills Looks Back on Successful Year
As Sandhills Community College heads for its 50th year in business, college officials are looking back at a bountiful past year.
In a letter to the SCC Foundation, President John Dempsey calls the past year a “remarkable” one for the institution.
“All in all, 2011-2012 was one of the most successful years in the college’s history,” he writes in the letter. “It was a year to make me realize how lucky I am to work with such talented and dedicated colleagues, and how lucky the college is to have so many generous and supportive friends in our community.”
In a telephone interview, Dempsey listed a number of accomplishments that the college earned in the previous year.
“We learned in the fall of 2011 that our Foundation had once again made the nation’s top 10 for community colleges,” he said. “There have only been one or two times in the past decade that we failed to make the top 10, and in terms of size category we were rated number one.”
Dempsey also had high praise for the college’s young basketball team, the Sandhills Flyers, who in just its fourth season won the NJCAA District III Men’s Basketball tournament championship. The Flyers became the first North Carolina team to win the championship.
“Let’s put it this way,” he said. “How many times has The Pilot newspaper changed their logo for a story? I’d say that’s pretty significant.
“Recently we became one of eight community colleges to be part of the C-STEP program, a program that guarantees admission to UNC-Chapel Hill for our students who take three semesters of foreign language and who earn their associate’s degree with a GPA of 3.0.”
To be eligible, students have to be a part of the new program from the beginning, Dempsey said.
Dempsey said that having the school recognized as an “exceptional” college was the “most important of all” among Sandhills’ accomplishments.
“We got that designation because we had a very good year in all the areas that really count,” he said. “(These include) the progress of students in our literacy and developmental education programs, the rate at which we retain and graduate students, and the performance of our graduates in their jobs or in their university studies.
“The proof is in the pudding. Our measures of effectiveness, such as training kids to go on to the university to succeed, are exceptional.”
Dempsey said the college is continuing to look toward the future. A new Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program began this fall. The course of study will prepare individuals to “perform ophthalmic procedures under the supervision of a licensed physician specializing in Ophthalmology” according to the school website.
“Equipment for the program was donated by Carolina Eye Associates, and we appreciate their contributions,” Dempsey said.
While officials plan to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary in December 2013, Dempsey said a number of activities will take place prior to that.
“Beginning in December of this year, we will have a series of articles in The Pilot called ‘50 at 50,’ which will consist of profiles of people who have had important roles in the history of the college,” he said. “We are planning a fall block party at The Ice Cream Parlor, the college’s first home, and we will also have some special speakers and a dinner during the year. We have a lot of stuff going on.”
College enrollment for this semester is at 4,300 students.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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