President Rouse Announces He Will Retire from PCC this Summer

Portrait of PCC President Lawrence Rouse

WINTERVILLE—Having spent more than 42 years working in higher education, including the past six as Pitt Community College president, Dr. Lawrence L. Rouse has announced that he will be retiring this summer.

Rouse informed the PCC Board of Trustees of his decision during their regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday and said his final day with Pitt would be June 30. He said he wants to spend more time with his wife, Janie, three children and granddaughter.

“I will cherish the memories and relationships that were formed here at PCC, and I look forward to witnessing the college’s continued growth and success,” Rouse said. “As I step into this new chapter of my life, I am confident that PCC is poised for a bright future, with great accomplishments ahead.”

PCC Trustees Chairman Charles Ellis congratulated Rouse on his upcoming retirement and thanked him for his many contributions to Pitt. He noted that Rouse would long be remembered for the “calm and steady leadership he provided the college throughout a period of unprecedented turmoil” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether it was experience, intuition or a combination of the two, Dr. Rouse began laying the foundation for Pitt Community College to successfully navigate the pandemic the moment he became our president,” Ellis said. “He pledged from the start that PCC would be an ‘agile institution,’ capable of responding to the community’s needs rapidly, adequately and innovatively, and he more than delivered on that promise.”

Throughout his presidency, Rouse has focused on educational equity and seeing students attain academic credentials. He has also been dedicated to workforce development and serving students with excellence.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Dr. Rouse and witnessing firsthand his dedication to helping people better their life’s circumstances through higher education,” PCC Trustee Gary Evans said. “He has worked tirelessly to make PCC a premier provider of education and training for business, industry and governmental agencies, and when he retires this summer, he will leave the college in position to continue serving as a hub for developing and deploying talent needed for the workforce of tomorrow.”

With Rouse at the helm, PCC earned reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges last summer, with no recommendations from the accrediting institution. Pitt opened the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement in the spring of 2023 and also purchased a pair of buildings and land on the former Alliance One property in Farmville last year to use as its PCC Farmville Center for Applied Technology.

Rouse became the fifth president in PCC’s nearly 63-year history in the summer of 2018, when he replaced the retiring G. Dennis Massey. Prior to joining Pitt, he’d been president and CEO of James Sprunt Community College for 13 years and was named the N.C. Community College System’s President of the Year in 2016.

Rouse’s higher educational career includes work as Dean of Students at Johnston Community College in Smithfield and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management/Dean of Students at South Carolina’s Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC). He had also been Director of Cooperative Education and Placement Services with CCTC and an admissions specialist.

A native of Sumter, S.C., Rouse earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Voorhees College in 1978, a Master of Education from the University of South Carolina in 1992, and a Doctorate of Education from N.C. State University—where he received the prestigious Kellogg ACCLAIM Fellowship—in 1998. He was inducted into the Voorhees College Hall of Fame in 2020 for outstanding contributions and service to the community.

According to Ellis, PCC will begin a nationwide search to find its sixth-ever president once trustees have a plan for effective transition in leadership firmly in place.