Guest Column

Help college mark 45 years

July 11, 2014 

Birthdays are a big deal at our house. Some in my family have been known to stretch a birthday celebration for as long as a week or two.

Such was the same for our recent Independence Day festivities. The holiday made for a long weekend. Many took the entire week to vacation and relax while remembering a special time in our history.

Johnston Community College has such an opportunity in the year ahead as it celebrates 45 years of service to Johnston County. And like my family, JCC intends to stretch it out over the entire year. Here’s a sneak preview of the plans to honor those 45 years.

The yearlong celebration kicks off during the week of Sept. 8-13, with festivities planned for each day. Student services staff members will use the first of the week to visit all Johnston County high schools with information about programs of study, program pathways and transfer opportunities.

Midweek, the afternoon will be filled with a carnival atmosphere for students as we enjoy Fall Fest.

On Sept. 11, the National Day of Service, JCC will schedule volunteer activities throughout the county. Friday evening will feature a community-wide movie on the lawn with a special feature of a recent release and popcorn.

Saturday will bring a daylong celebration, including a JCC Expo with a program fair and family activities such as a vintage car display; fishing, inflatables and games for kids; hands-on demonstrations; and food for sale at 1969 prices.

The JCC Foundation will hold its annual Donor Appreciation recognition and dinner, and the day will draw to a close in the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium with a tribute to the music of the era, complete with sounds of the Beatles, James Taylor, Three Dog Night, Carpenters, Aretha Franklin, Creedence Clearwater Revival and others.

The year to follow will include many more opportunities to celebrate our historic birthday. The JCC Foundation, for example, will hold its 20th Neal Lancaster Charity Golf Tournament on Oct. 3. Having raised more than $785,000 in its previous outings, the foundation’s goal this year is 20 teams in each of the two rounds and $45,000.

While 45 years is not very old in the context of history, the past 45 years have brought a great deal of change.

In 1969, the year of JCC’s founding, the United States stepped on the moon for the first time. Today, we have probes into deep space, and we are contemplating manned exploration of Mars.

Since 1969, the age of information, supported by computer development and Internet access, has brought exponential growth to the learning process.

We’ve seen medicine evolve into a discipline that can literally mend people like machines.

We have come to communicate, even conduct business, through thin air on hand-held devices as if there had never been another way.

And we have made all of this progress because of education.

JCC has a rich history in support of the many changes we have experienced, a history worthy of a yearlong big deal. See you at the party.

David Johnson is president of Johnston Community College.

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