3 former CCCC presidents honored

Mar. 06, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

Three former presidents of Central Carolina Community College have been inducted into The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, a prestigious award given by the governor of North Carolina.

Past presidents Dr. J.F. “Jeff” Hockaday, Dr. Marvin R. Joyner and Dr. Matthew S. Garrett were honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine at a March 4 reception at the college’s Lee County Campus.

The Order is presented to citizens of the state who have given outstanding service and contributed toward creating a better North Carolina, according to the Order’s website, www.longleafpinesociety.org. Since its inception in 1963, only about 15,000 have been awarded.

Following remarks by Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System, Bud Marchant, CCCC president, and former N.C. Sen. Bob Atwater, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine certificates and pins were presented to the honorees by Atwater, Marchant and Julian Philpott, chair of CCCC’s board of trustees.

“We all follow in someone’s footsteps; we stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Ralls, who was guest speaker for the event. “Today we celebrate three giants in the history of this campus and the community college system.”

Jeff Hockaday

Hockaday served as president of the fledgling Central Carolina Technical Institute, the forerunner of CCCC, from 1969 to 1983. Under his leadership, the college experienced a tenfold growth in curriculum enrollment, established 24 new curriculum programs and constructed five new buildings, among other achievements. In 2007, the Administration Building was renamed J.F. Hockaday Hall in recognition of his years of service, commitment and accomplishments at the college. During his presidency, CCTI became the first institution in the N.C. Community College System to be accredited by the N.C. Community College System and the State Board of Education.

Hockaday went on to become chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, then chancellor of Pima Community College District in Arizona.

“Dr. Jeff Hockaday was one of the pioneers who created the community college system,” Ralls said. “There are now [more than] 1,200 community colleges in the United States, and very few places don’t know of Jeff Hockaday. [In 1995] he was selected as the Community College President of the Year in the United States.”

Hockaday now resides in Sanford. Now in his 80s, he is semi-retired and still serves as a consultant to community college boards. He was out of town and unable to attend the event, but his son, Jon Hockaday, represented him.

“Dad is very pleased at receiving this award,” he said. “Many times he has spoken about his time at CCCC and the contributions of Dr. Joyner and Dr. Garrett and the people he worked with.”

Marvin R. Joyner

Joyner led Central Carolina Community College for 21 of its 52 years, from 1983 to 2004. After a 20-year career at Wilson Technical Community College, he accepted the position of president at CCCC, which was then Central Carolina Technical College. The institution had one campus, but by the time he retired, it had become a regional institution with campuses and centers in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties.

During his presidency, the college expanded and strengthened both its programs and physical facilities. In 2005, in honor of his distinguished leadership, the Vocational Building on the Lee County Campus was renamed Marvin R. Joyner Hall. The first community college Small Business Assistance Center in North Carolina, as well as the college’s distance education program, were started.

After retiring from CCCC, Dr. Joyner served for a time as the interim president of Nash Community College. He has continued to serve the Community College System in various capacities and is also active in his community.

“I remember that Dr. Joyner was always the voice for vocational education in the community college system,” Ralls said. “He would say, don’t ever forget vocational education. I learned so much from him.”

In receiving the recognition, Joyner said that it felt “a little dishonest to receive an award earned by the energy of other people. If I had one gift God gave me, it was choosing good people. I came today for the opportunity to say thank you to all those who shared the dream of a three-county college, distance education and other goals. Your energy made it work.”

Matthew S. Garrett

Matthew S. Garrett spent his professional career serving the students of the North Carolina Community College System, first at Martin Community College, then Coastal Carolina, and lastly, starting in 1987, at Central Carolina Community College.

For 21 years, serving in various positions, he helped CCCC grow with new programs and facilities. He became president of the college in 2004 and served until his retirement in 2008. The Lee County Campus was land-locked on 48 acres, but, as president, he was instrumental in pursuing the acquisition of an adjoining 56 acres of land. That was accomplished in 2006 and more than doubled the size of the campus, providing ample space for growth far into the future.

While serving the college and since his retirement, Garrett has served his community. He just completed 18 years as the pastor of Moncure Baptist Church and continues to volunteer in schools and community service agencies.

“Matt Garrett brought the voice of the student to discussions of education at our community colleges,” Ralls said. “He never let us forget where our students come from.”

He compared him to Dallas Herring, known as the father of North Carolina’s community college system, in taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go in education.

“This is truly an honor,” Garrett said. “I’m riding on many coattails. This college is in my blood. I love this college, I love the students we have. There are so many folks here who deserve this much more than I do. Thank you for making this opportunity possible for me.”

As inductees into The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, Hockaday, Joyner and Garrett have the privilege of giving the official toast of North Carolina.

“My favorite part of the toast is, ‘Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine … Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,’” Ralls said. “That’s what we are in the community college system: a place where people come who may be beaten down. Here, they get built up and walk out those doors to make our communities great.”

Former N.C. Sen. Bob Atwater nominated the three past presidents for The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. As a local and state elected official, he said he was impressed by the ability of Joyner and Garrett to coordinate the academic mission of the college with area economic development efforts. He also knew of the foundational work done at the college by Hockaday. Atwater introduced them at the induction.

“Central Carolina Community College has had exceptional leadership,” he said. “They impregnated the whole organization with their values and expectations for high achievement. We see that so clearly in the college today, and it is continuing.”

Marchant has been president of the college since 2008.

“We are here to celebrate a legacy of excellence,” he said. “There are very few events that mean as much to me as this one because I follow in the footsteps of these leaders. I have been the beneficiary of all they accomplished.”

For more information about Central Carolina Community College, visit www.cccc.edu.