WINTERVILLE — For Pitt Community College, 2020 was off to a smooth and productive start before the coronavirus pandemic forced the school to make significant changes to practically every program and service in order to continue fulfilling its educational mission.
A new partnership with the Achieving the Dream National Network was underway to increase educational equity and ensure students achieve their academic, personal and economic goals. There was fundraising success, awards, new programming and the completion of an important renovation project.
But everything changed in March, due to COVID-19 — an invisible foe that claimed lives, damaged economies, and increased isolation and anxiety worldwide.
“Despite the adversity, when I reflect upon 2020, one word comes to mind: resilience,” PCC President Lawrence Rouse said. “PCC never closed due to the coronavirus; we just moved classes and student support services online — and did so swiftly and effectively.”
As a new year approaches, the following is the first of three installments recapping events that took place at North Carolina’s seventh-largest community college in 2020.
- The PCC Foundation announces it has raised more than $1 million for the VISIONS Career Development & Scholarship Program, fully matching the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation’s pledge of up to $2 million for the program.
- John Carrere receives East Carolina University’s 40 Under Forty Leadership Award. A 2005 PCC graduate, he earned a bachelor’s from ECU in 2008. He began working at Pitt in 2013 and is now Director of Recruitment.
- PCC details its new BioWork certificate, which will prepare individuals for careers as process technicians in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing companies.
- PCC partners with the Pitt County Detention Center to provide general education, adult high school proficiency, life skills, resume writing and job readiness training to detainees.
- Pitt celebrates civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr. with an event featuring remarks from N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and scholarships awarded to students Sharon Moore and Jennifer Santos in memory of longtime educator and community leader Lucille W. Gorham.
- Golden LEAF Foundation presents a $200,000-check to the PCC-Pitt County Schools (PCS) Technical Academy. The funding is used to hire a director to oversee the academy, which offers Pitt County high school students an opportunity to earn college credits and high-demand workforce credentials.
- PCC hosts child care providers as part of a training series developed to increase appropriate literacy activities and opportunities for young children.
- Gov. Roy Cooper visits campus to discuss North Carolina’s Finish Line Grants program, which provides financial assistance to community college students facing unforeseen emergencies, helping them remain in school and finish their programs of study.
- PCC’s focus on workplace wellness results in a new on-campus clinic for employees. It is offered through Vidant Health and staffed by a registered nurse.
- After winning Xploration Station’s 2019 #StudentExplorer competition, student Ivanya Johnson swims with sharks in Hawaii while participating in filming for an upcoming television show.
- Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly tells College Council members about Pitt’s “integral” role in helping determine the region’s economic success.
- The 2nd Annual Student Career Conference features Public Services & Fine Arts students learning about careers from current professionals.
- VIQTORY, an organization dedicated to serving the nation’s military community, lists PCC as one of the country’s best post-secondary institutions for veterans and their spouses.
- More than 130 Pitt County high school sophomores visit campus for “PCC Aspire Day” to learn more about college and career exploration.
- Following a $4.25 million-makeover, PCC re-opens the Clifton W. Everett Building, a two-story structure that houses library services.
- The PCC Symphony Orchestra celebrates Black History Month with its 5th Annual Black Composers Concert.
- PCC-PCS Technical Academy students Zachary Huggins, Mason Jackson and Blake Ross sweep the SkillsUSA North Carolina East Regional Rally’s sheet metal competition.
- PCC shares Mayne Pharma Scholars Program details with college students and Pitt County high school seniors. The program guides high-potential, STEM-focused students toward pharmaceutical careers, particularly with Mayne Pharma.
- Duke University invites instructor Scott Temple to participate in a residency during National Farmworker Awareness Week.
- ECU’s Crystal Chambers is the featured speaker for the annual PCC Women’s History Month program. The event also includes PCC Associate in Fine Arts Coordinator Charity Valentine receiving the 2020 Woman of Substance Award in recognition of leadership, dedication to education, and commitment to student success.
- PCC dedicates the Edward & Joan Warren Clock Tower.
- Spring Break is extended and campus is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most classes are moved online, and all extracurricular activities, including intercollegiate athletics, are canceled.
- In response to COVID-19, the PCC Foundation cancels the in-person portion of its spring scholarship fundraiser and moves forward, instead, with an online auction that raises $29,000.
- PCC donates personal protective equipment normally used for instructional purposes to Vidant Medical Center.
- An N.C. Respiratory Care Board decision allows eight current PCC respiratory therapy students to join the fight against the coronavirus.
- Fourteen years into her nursing career, Nelly Wheeler joins other PCC alumni serving as health care workers, firemen, police officers and EMTs on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.
- PCC moves forward with summer/fall registration after administrators determine nearly all summer classes will be offered online due to the virus.
- After abandoning plans for an on-campus celebration due to the pandemic, PCC announces its 2020 Academic Excellence Award recipients. Caroline Puerto, a University Transfer student with a 4.0 GPA, is selected to receive a State Academic Excellence Award from the N.C. Community College System.
- PCC’s Tutorial and Academic Success Center holds “Exam Jam” online to help students prepare for final exams and projects.