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2020 PCC Year-in-Review: Part III (September-December)

PCC President Lawrence Rouse smiles as he records a video message to 2020 graduates that goes live in December as part of the college's first-ever fall commencement ceremony. The event takes place virtually due to health concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

WINTERVILLE—For Pitt Community College, the final four months of 2020 were highlighted by awards and honors, community support, new educational opportunities, and displays of resilience in spite of the ongoing pandemic.

After months of social distancing, facial masks and hand sanitization, PCC President Lawrence Rouse praised students and employees for prioritizing health safety. In a December message to campus, he encouraged them to finish the semester strong and take precautions over Christmas break to be ready for spring classes.

“PCC has been fortunate to have seen relatively few COVID-19 cases on campus,” Rouse said. “… Now is not the time to let our guard down — even with the recent announcement of vaccines that will soon be available to the public. I strongly encourage you to remain vigilant of the danger presented by the coronavirus.”

As a new year begins, the following is the final of three installments recapping events that took place at North Carolina’s seventh-largest community college in 2020. 

SEPTEMBER

  • The Cannon Foundation awards PCC a $62,675-grant to upgrade remotely-accessible CISCO networking equipment utilized by its IT: Network Management and IT: Cyber Security degree programs.
  • The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development honors five employees—Charles Newkirk, Kenneth Pearce, Ken Peel, Pauline Simonowich and Rusty Sugg—for outstanding achievement.
  • PCC partners with Walk West to provide online courses on social media, diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, sales, entrepreneurship and leadership development.
  • Southern Bank presents a $25,000-check to the PCC Foundation for the college’s VISIONS program. The funding is part of the bank’s overall $100,000-commitment to the foundation’s VISIONS Matching Campaign.
  • PCC joins the N.C. Community & Technical Colleges Jobs Consortium to give North Carolina employers a free and effective means of notifying Pitt students and alumni about job openings.
  • The PCC Foundation holds a press conference to announce that, due to health risks posed by COVID-19, the 2020 Down East Holiday Show will take place virtually in November, instead of in person at the Greenville Convention Center.

OCTOBER

  • PCC receives $279,300 through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund as part of an overall effort to help the state recover from the economic turmoil COVID-19 created. The college uses it to provide $750-scholarships to North Carolina residents pursuing high-demand workforce training through continuing education.
  • Y. Life Insurance Company awards the PCC Foundation a $15,000-Community Impact Grant in support of VISIONS.
  • The PCC First-Gen Fellows Mentoring Program holds a virtual meet-and-greet for participants as part of Pitt’s effort to improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation college students.
  • PCC becomes North Carolina’s first community college to create training specifically designed for individuals who work with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • A $4,000-grant from International Paper’s Grifton mill and the International Paper Foundation allows Pitt to purchase equipment Transitional Studies students need to access online learning.
  • The PCC Foundation concludes its employee fundraiser after faculty and staff pledge/contribute $91,635 for student scholarships and educational activities.

NOVEMBER

  • PCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Institute helps prepare a pipeline of talented and qualified workers for the region.
  • The PCC Foundation holds its largest annual fundraiser, the Down East Holiday Show, online due to COVID-19.
  • A home built by students from several Construction and Industrial Technology curricula is sold by public auction to fund future training.
  • Thanks to its unique partnership with East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design, PCC announces it will begin offering ceramics courses at the DeVisconti Art & Event Center in Farmville this spring.
  • During a virtual ceremony organized by his alma mater, PCC President Lawrence Rouse is inducted into the Voorhees College Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions and service to the community.
  • The Pitt County American Legion Agricultural Fair supports its PCC Foundation endowed scholarship with a $25,000-donation. The organization also presents a $1,000-donation to the Horticulture Technology program.
  • Pitt holds its first-ever virtual open house to introduce prospective students to programs and services.
  • PCC’s Financial Aid Office announces the return of “FAFSA Mondays” to assist students with filing Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms for the 2021-22 academic year.
  • The NJCAA’s Region 10 Conference announces PCC Athletics has received a “Sportsmanship Award” for the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Trustee Randy Walters is named Farmville’s “Distinguished Citizen of the Year.”
  • PCC welcomes Farmville Central High School counselors for a tour of its Computer Integrated Machining program – one of four options available to high school students participating in the PCC-PCS Technical Academy.
  • PCC and N.C. Wesleyan College reauthorize a partnership that’s been enhancing educational opportunities for Pitt students for nearly a decade.
  • Nursing students create 500 greeting cards and present them to Ayden’s NCPacks4Patriots to send to American troops in care packages. The students also provide a financial contribution to help cover the cost of overseas shipping.

DECEMBER

  • C. Finish Line Grant funding is made available to help students overcome unforeseen financial emergencies and maintain PCC enrollment.
  • PCC announces it will begin offering in January a selection of virtual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics camps to children 8-14 years old.
  • John Carrere, Victoria Davis-Gibbs, Nicole Jones-Phelps, Susan Marsh and Ken Peel receive Staff Excellence Awards. From the group, Peel is named the 2020 Joan and Ed Warren Staff Employee of the Year.
  • The PCC Foundation begins accepting 2021-22 Student Ambassador applications.
  • PCC Global reports that its efforts to provide opportunities for international learning continued unabated in 2020, despite travel limitations and restrictions on in-person gatherings due to the coronavirus.
  • For the first time in its history, PCC holds a fall commencement ceremony, albeit virtually.
  • Transitional Studies celebrates students who have completed their studies in PCC’s English Language Acquisition, Career Academy, High School Equivalency and Adult High School programs.

01/04/2021