January 1, 2021 – By action of the college’s board of trustees, Davidson-Davie Community College is the new name for an institution that first opened its doors almost 60 years ago on a spacious tract of land between Lexington and Thomasville in Davidson County. The Davidson County Industrial Education Center welcomed students in 1963, and following further action by the state to create a system of community colleges, became Davidson County Community College (DCCC) in 1965. The new name, Davidson-Davie Community College, becomes effective on the first day of 2021.
“We are changing our name to reflect what has always been true – we are a college that proudly serves Davidson and Davie counties, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds,” said Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Firquin in a video released to college employees on the evening of December 31 and to the public at midnight. “Thank you for being part of this incredible journey.”
The college’s history dates back to the late 1950s, when communities around the state began exploring the possibilities of developing industrial education centers with funding provided by the North Carolina General Assembly. Local leaders, including Lexington’s Felix Gee and Thomasville’s Doak Finch, rallied their communities to raise the funds to make this undertaking possible.
“I remember when my dad was working to establish the institution that would become DCCC,” said Elizabeth Gee, a longtime Foundation Board member at the college and daughter of the late Felix Gee. “He would be amazed, and so proud, of where we are today. And I’m delighted to be part of this important moment.”
As one of North Carolina’s mid-sized community colleges, DCCC has consistently returned outstanding performance on many fronts. Notable among its accomplishments has been participation in national initiatives such as Achieving the Dream and Completion by Design, as well as being named a “top producer” of Fulbright scholars as part of its robust international education program that includes international students and opportunities for global travel. Students enjoy numerous opportunities outside the classroom and cheer on “Storm” athletes in three sports — men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s golf. Solid achievement on statewide performance measures and having one of the state’s largest community college foundations to support scholarships and strategic initiatives has rounded out its accomplishments. Even over the course of many decades, only four presidents have followed Bill Sinclair, the director of the original industrial education center.
“Today, there’s a new entry in our history book,” said Dr. Darrin Hartness, college president since January 2019. “But know this … as we proudly share our new name, we also recommit ourselves to the same core mission: an excellent education, which leads to promising careers, and supports the success of the communities we serve in Davidson and Davie counties.”
From almost the beginning, DCCC had a presence in Davie County, which did not have a separate community college. However, that presence was not formalized until the 1980s when local Davie County leaders advocated for official recognition of DCCC as the provider of community college education for that county. In 1994, the Davie Campus in Mocksville opened. Terry Bralley, now president of the Davie Economic Development Commission, received an honorary degree from the college in 2020 for his role in championing an official presence for DCCC in Davie County.
“I think I’ll be speaking for many in Davie County when I say I’m thrilled about the new name for our community college,” said Terry Renegar, chair of the Davie County Board of Commissioners and president of the college’s foundation, which now becomes Davidson-Davie Community College Foundation. “It’s true, this college has been part of our community for a long time, so the name is just a better way of describing the partnership we have in support of higher education for individuals and for the community as a whole.”
Today, the Davie Campus has grown to include four buildings, emergency services training facilities, and truck driver training grounds. The Davie County Early College High School also is housed on the Davie Campus. While some college programs are exclusive to the Davie Campus, students from Davie County often take classes on the Davidson Campus, while Davidson residents also travel to Davie. The college serves over 11,000 students a year across all its programs and locations and offers more than 40 programs of study.
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