State community college legend will be honored today

portrait unveiling at Isothermal Community College
Mar. 06, 2013 @ 05:41 AM

Isothermal Community College, along with the rest of the North Carolina Community College System, will celebrate the legacy of Dr. W. Dallas Herring today.

Grady Frankin, chairman of the Isothermal Board of Trustees, will unveil a portrait of Herring in the main corridor of the Administration Building in a brief ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

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,” said Dr. Scott Ralls, president of the N.C. Community College System.  “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 are holding events to honor Herring.  Many, including Isothermal, are unveiling 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.