Dr. Jim Ross, Pamlico Community College President, Discusses Commencement and the Nonprofit Celebration
Pamlico News: I am hearing so many good things about Pamlico Community College. It seems like our local college is moving forward full speed ahead in a lot of ways. Have you been pleased at how your first year here has gone?
Dr. Jim Ross: Throughout my first year as PCC President, I have been blessed to be part of a college and community that shows it cares so much about becoming even better.
Deep appreciation is given for the overall vision that has been established at the college to make lives better. That sets the tone for everything else.
This is our chance to make our community better by making lives better!
In addition, the teamwork that has been exhibited by our dedicated employees as well as by our supportive community members, and our shared willingness to think big have created a strong foundation of success to move our college forward and thus make our community better.
The year ended appropriately in extremely positive ways.
Last month we hosted our two largest on-campus events of the year: Commencement on May 12 and the first-ever Non-Profit Leadership Breakfast on May 23.
All of us who participated were filled with joy, pride, and a sense of optimism. These events, hosted in the college’s beautiful Delamar Center, once again showed me how fortunate my family and I are to live in what I believe is one of the best communities in America.
Commencement at Pamlico Community College
First up was Commencement, my first as President at Pamlico Community College, but I was fortunate to have a strong team of staffers that knew how to help make the evening a memorable one for all of us.
PCC had its largest graduating class in recent history. The Delamar Center was filled to the rafters with hundreds of happy family members, friends, and supporters.
More than 70 graduates took part in the ceremony. In all, 119 men and women qualified to graduate from PCC this year.
Those students earned a combined 177 academic credentials, including 64 associate’s degrees, 16 diplomas, 92 certificates and 5 Continuing Education credentials.
State Senator Norman Sanderson of Pamlico County gave the commencement address, sharing extremely valuable advice and observations with the graduates and their families.
My wife Pam and I had the chance to have dinner with his wife Linda and him before the ceremony, and I was impressed when he revealed he had devoted so much thought and prayer to providing the best possible message of hope and responsibility to the graduates.
Many participants after told me they were inspired and moved by his message.
The event was joyous. I could not be more proud of how hard our graduates worked to achieve their academic goals so they can improve their lives and our community.
I also am very proud of how our faculty and staff prepared them so very well and how the graduates’ families supported their efforts in many ways throughout.
Nonprofit Leadership Breakfast
Less than two weeks later, we hosted the first-ever Nonprofit Leadership Breakfast. The mood inside the Delamar Center was friendly, uplifting, and exciting.
When planning this historic event, we had originally thought that if 50 participants would come it would be an outstanding success for our first year having it. We were amazed when more than 170 Pamlico County nonprofit leaders, some of our community’s most caring and involved citizens, attended.
Nearly 70 organizations were represented at the historic event. They included churches, food banks, service organizations, health clinics, emergency responders, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and many others.
They are the foundation of this community, helping citizens in need in every imaginable way, never asking for recognition.
Rarely, if ever, do nonprofit organizations hear how important they are to a community, so we wanted to invite all nonprofit groups in Pamlico County, serve them a delicious complimentary breakfast, and sincerely thank them for everything they do to make lives better.
What a day it was! As our guests enjoyed a great meal catered by Brantley’s Village Restaurant, they got to rekindle friendships with some and get to know others, and learn about the important work being done in Pamlico County.
After we ate, representatives of each nonprofit group in attendance individually came to the podium, shared information about their organizations’ work, and introduced their Board members attending.
Many of our guests later said that after living here all their lives they were completely unaware of so many organizations performing so many life-changing and even life-saving works in our community.
They said this made them even prouder of our community.
In the spirit of helping these charitable groups that do so much to make our community better, the college now waives the Delamar Center’s rental fees for nonprofit groups and causes.
The initial suggestion to enable more of our community to use this facility came earlier this year from Linda Sanderson. Permanently waiving these fees for all Pamlico County nonprofit organizations and causes was one of the best decisions I have ever been part of making.
We learned at the May 23 breakfast celebration that it made a real difference in the life of one brave little boy.
At the May 23 breakfast, Gloria Cowell, whose 4-year-old wonderful grandson, Colt Cowell, has been undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, spoke courageously about this.
She told us her family and Bethany Christian Church raised $12,000 for Colt’s care at a March 18 fundraiser, and it was only possible because they could use the Delamar Center with no rental fees.
That is the kind of positive, life-changing impact that is humbling to think about that we can all bring about when we work together as partners.
The future of Pamlico Community College
Next year at PCC is being planned to be again a whirlwind of activity, with goals of extraordinary teamwork bringing about extraordinary accomplishments to make Pamlico County lives better.
This past year will always be among the high points of my career, remembering however that we should always strive to do more to make things better.
It is an honor to serve as your community college President. It is an honor for Pam and me to be your neighbors.
The Pamlico News provides an opportunity for Dr. Jim Ross, Pamlico Community College’s President, to write a monthly column. He welcomes the opportunity to meet you and hear your suggestions or questions.
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