Isothermal's 50th anniversary begins with reception

Familiar faces return to campus
Oct. 15, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Familiar faces were on the campus of Isothermal Community College (ICC) Saturday night for the kick-off of the 50th anniversary year of Isothermal.Next October the college will be 50 years old and the upcoming year will include several festivities.

At the Performing Arts Center where a reception was held before The Hit Men,two charter members of the board of trustees greeted one another. 

Clyde Tomblin and Jimmy Tanner shook hands and reflected on the beginning of Isothermal.

The reception kicked off at 6 p.m. without electricity due to a widespread Duke Energy outage. (See related story).

When college president, Walter Dalton welcomed the reception guests he said, "It was absoutely appropriate for Duke Power to turn out the lights because it was in 1963 that this community needed more lights." 

Dalton said the college became a reality because of the energy of folks like Ivy Cowan, Jimmy Tanner and others. 

"They knew we needed a community college and it would bring a ray of hope to this area as students could receive a college education at about 30 percent of the cost at other places," Dalton said.

"Isothermal Community College is still ranked 17th among 1,200 community colleges in the nation, according to Washingtton Monthly. This is a great place to be,"Dalton said. 

Dalton thanked partners the Forest City Data Center, Facebook, Rutherford Regional Medical Center and The Stonecutter Foundation, for hosting the event and being continued supporters of the college.

"We have had 50 years and we look forward to the next 50 more years," Dalton said.

Board of Trustee Chairman Grady Franklin said,"this place is full of people who have come here, learned here and those who have developed skills for working. Isothermal Community College will continue to be a shinning star of opportunity for citizens of Rutherford County."

Jim Cowan talked about how his father, the late Ivy Cowan, would have enjoyed Saturday night's reception and the half-century milestone.

"His age group was really interested in education," Cowan said. He said his mother only went to the grade school level because the public educational system didn't go into the upper grade levels.

Jim Cowan said his father later attended Round Hill Academy in Union Mills where he was able to further his education.

Dr. Lena Mayberry Engstrom was among the first professors at Isothermal. She arrived from Tennessee and spent the evening with family  members who are attending Isothermal.

"I helped raise money for this place," she said.

Other charter professors were Ed Barrier, Gary Shipley and Dillard Morrow.

Mayors Jimmy Dancy from Rutherfordton, Mickey Bland of Spindale and Bob Keith of Lake Lure and North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker also attended.