PCC, Grady-White Are Partners in Excellence
Standing before his peers from community colleges across the Tar Heels State, Pitt Community College President G. Dennis Massey slipped on a baseball cap one fall day in 2006 and flashed a broad smile.
The occasion was the N.C. Community College System’s annual Day of Recognition at Raleigh’s RBC Center, and the PCC president was on hand with representatives from Greenville’s Grady-White Boats to accept the inaugural “Distinguished Partners for Excellence Award.”
The hat Massey donned during the event bore the Grady-White logo and was symbolic of the amazing partnership PCC and the local boat manufacturer have shared for nearly 25 years.
“At the core of any outstanding organization are people with the heart, the vision and the plan and persistence to follow through,” Massey said upon receiving the award. “The Grady-White team of CEO Eddie Smith, President Kris Carroll and Mr. Herman Simon have demonstrated this leadership.”
Pitt’s partnership with Grady-White remains strong and has produced well-trained employees at the company and programs at the college that continually propel Pitt County high school and GED students into higher education and the local workforce.
Through his Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, Grady-White owner Eddie Smith has supported numerous PCC educational activities over the years. He has provided funding to purchase state-of-the-art ultrasound equipment for the school’s Medical Sonography program and helped the college re-establish an intercollegiate basketball program.
More recently, Smith lent his financial support to the construction of a 34,000-square-foot addition to PCC’s health sciences facility. The building will bear the name of Herman Simon, Smith’s longtime friend and a Smith Foundation financial advisor.
Perhaps the crown jewel that has emerged from the PCC-Grady-White collaboration began in 2003 with the development of the VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship program. A mentoring program, VISIONS provides Pitt County teens with the direction they need to move from high school into PCC curricula.
“If we can help only one student select a career path and successfully complete college, then we are happy,” Smith has said of VISIONS. “I recognize that all of the students will not be able to graduate, but we want to help them have career choices and an opportunity to attend college."
The success of VISIONS led to the establishment of HORIZONS in 2006 to guide GED and Adult High School students into higher education.
By working together, PCC and Grady-White have undoubtedly created opportunities for success within the community.
As Massey said in 2006: "I am proud that (PCC and) Grady-White Boats are receiving the first Distinguished Partners for Excellence Award, and we will continue to work together on investments that have long-term benefit for our society.”