‘North Carolina’s community colleges celebrated the legacy of Dr. W. Dallas Herring on March 6. Dr. Herring, a Duplin County native, is considered the philosophical godfather of the state’s Community College System. As the chair of the State Board of Education in 1963, Herring was instrumental in the creation of the community college system. He may be best known for his belief that education should be available to all and that community colleges should “….take people from where they are, as far as they can go.”
Dr. Herring was appointed by Governor Luther Hodges to chair the State Board of Education, serving from 1955-77. In May of 1963, the General Assembly established the North Carolina Community College System. Under the leadership of Herring, the Community College Advisory Council was established to advise the State Board of Education. Herring was a life-long advocate for the state’s community colleges and the System’s “Open Door” philosophy – a result of Herring’s leadership during the System’s early years.
“Dallas Herring was a visionary who understood that education could be a defining factor in a person’s life,” says Dr. Scott Ralls, NC Community College System president. “His legacy has brought us to where we are today – one of the most comprehensive community college systems in the nation, educating people of all ages, training the state’s workforce and providing college transfer opportunities.”
In honor of the event, all 58 community colleges and the Community College System office held events to honor Herring. Many unveiled portraits of Herring that were commissioned as part of the System’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The portraits were sponsored by Duplin Winery and by the North Carolina Community Colleges Foundation. At its last meeting, the State Board of Community Colleges also passed a resolution, naming its regular meeting room the Dr. W. Dallas Herring State Board Room.
Sampson Community College faculty and staff gathered in the Warren Student Center board room for a ceremony to unveil Dr. Herring’s portrait and celebrate his impact on the North Carolina Community College System.