Employees Meet for Convocation Ahead of Fall Term

New PCC Student Government Association President Tahira Gatson shakes hands with PCC President Lawrence Rouse prior to the start of Tuesday's Convocation. Gatson will be sworn in as an ex officio member of the PCC Board of Trustees during their Aug. 23 meeting.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College kicked off a new academic year this week with a renewed commitment to its core principles.

During Convocation Tuesday, PCC President Lawrence Rouse told faculty and staff he was proud of the way they’ve handled the difficulties presented by COVID-19 and their ability to evolve in order to meet the community’s educational needs. Though PCC has seen many changes in its 61-year history, he said it would never stray from what he called the “four pillars of success” — a title that references the college’s logo and architecture.

Rouse, who is entering his fifth year as Pitt’s president, told employees that students must remain the college’s priority, saying, “We must put them first in everything we do and build strong relationships with them.” He said the remaining three “pillars of success” were engaging with community stakeholders, recruiting new students while retaining those already enrolled, and removing barriers for students by every means possible to help them complete programs of study.

“PCC is not just the sixth-largest among North Carolina’s 58 community colleges, it’s one of the best,” Rouse said. “Throughout our history, we have adapted and innovated to meet the needs of those we serve, and we’ve become an economic driver for our communities.”

Earlier in the program, Andy Herdman, vice president of group human resources at Mayne Pharma, reminded PCC employees that their profession has meaning and purpose. Recounting his days as a student, Herdman said he didn’t recall having favorite classes but he most certainly had favorite teachers, individuals who woke his imagination and changed how he views the world.

“What an amazing vocation, to leave your fingerprints on the lives of people endeavoring to make themselves better through education,” he said. “Teaching done well is a breathtaking demonstration of leadership. You affect change, causing people to be better than they were when you found them.”

A former East Carolina University professor, Herdman urged faculty and staff to help students learn how to win, flesh out their goals, discover who they want to be, and ultimately become better people.

“Be the planters of hope; it is the highest purpose a teacher or instructor can have,” he said. “Lock arms and commit to your purpose, and it will be amazing the change you can bring.”

Fall classes at PCC began Thursday.