December 19, 2023 – Many folks may look back on the 1960s as an era filled with fashion and fads coupled with historic moments like the moon landing. While trends were fleeting, the decade was also marked with unprecedented growth of higher learning nationwide – and that included the opening of Davidson-Davie Community College, formerly the Davidson County Industrial Education Center, in 1963
This year, the college is celebrating 60 years of success by honoring the many accomplishments and successes of its students, as well as remarkable growth over six decades.
“It’s evident our leaders put a great deal of thought into what our community needed at the time. We were agriculture- and manufacturing-based, with many jobs dependent on furniture and textiles,” says Jenny Varner, president of Davidson-Davie Community College who was recently chosen to lead the school in November. “Our community and our economy have evolved over the decades, but the college has continued to stay in tune to what educational opportunities are needed to support Davidson and Davie counties.”
In fact, the college has grown exponentially – both in physical property and course offerings – since its beginning. The William E. Sinclair Building opened in 1963 on a 22-acre site, hosting 125 students in vocational and technical programs, and 51 students in adult education and service programs. Two years later in 1965, the institution was chartered as Davidson County Community College. Soon after, it added associate in arts and associate in science degrees to the existing associate in applied science degree, diploma and certificate offerings.
Beyond its early beginnings, Davidson-Davie has added numerous campus sites under the leadership of five presidents while serving in partnership with more than 100 trustees, 200 foundation board members and thousands of community supporters. Together, leadership, trustees, board and community members have worked in concert to make these additions a reality.
These additions include the Uptown Lexington Education Center, which opened in 2004; the Thomasville Education Center, which opened in 2005; and the Davie Education Center in Bermuda Run, which opened in 2008. On the Davidson Campus, the Conference Center opened in 2009, the Transportation Technology Building opened in 2010, the East Carolina University dental clinic opened in 2014, and the Sarah and Edward Smith Health Sciences Center opened in 2018. On the Davie Campus, which originally opened in 1994, expansion and renovation took place in 2008. In 2012, an addition to the Gantt Building completed the Davie Early College building project. In 2021, DCCC became Davidson-Davie Community College to better reflect both counties that the school has served for decades.
Today, the college offers over 40 educational programs that span two counties, including some unique paths such as the Zoo and Aquarium Science programs that were introduced in 2013. The school was the second in the nation to offer such a program. Davidson-Davie offers fields in advanced manufacturing, allied health and dental assisting, as well as successful Early College high school programs. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in an international education program, which gives learners the chance to travel abroad and meet international visitors who come to campus.
“Our commitment and vision has always been the same – to put students first while supporting the economic development of Davidson and Davie counties,” Varner notes. “Even before I came to work at Davidson-Davie, I’ve spent a lifetime watching this college and its incredible growth. It continues to impact the lives of students, and it’s tremendous seeing their success stories firsthand.”
Davidson-Davie serves more than 11,000 students yearly and has over half a million proud Storm alumni. Plans for the college’s future are in the works, as it continues to evolve to meet the needs of future students and the future economy.
Davidson-Davie Community College (www.DavidsonDavie.edu), which incorporated Davie County into its name in 2021, is a fully accredited, multi-campus college where students of all ages and backgrounds pursue academic and career-focused education in order to build successful futures. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, Davidson-Davie offers more than 40 degree and professional certificate programs, as well as affordable college-credit coursework to students who plan to transfer to four-year schools. With a mission to serve the changing needs of students competing in a global environment, Davidson-Davie is committed to quality education, innovative and equitable learning experiences, training, and support across a wide range of 21st-century career fields.
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