As published in the July 26, 2018 edition of The Duplin Times.
In November of 2004, I along with my wife Janie, traveled to Kenansville after accepting the position as president of James Sprunt Community College. We were looking for a place to rent as we were moving to Duplin County. We met with our future landlords at their home and the first thing they did was offer us dinner. That kind gesture was my first personal interaction with Duplinites. They offered us a meal, but more importantly, they offered us their hospitality and friendship.
Little did we know that this experience was one of many more to come throughout my tenure as president of the only higher education institution in Duplin County.
I could not have predicted what I would experience as CEO of a small community college where our motto is that we are your Bridge to Success. As I look back on thirteen and a half years as a leader, I could not predict all the successes that James Sprunt Community College would experience. However based on those successes, I feel that not only is JSCC the bridge to success, it is experiencing success as a community resource.
The future of James Sprunt Community College is full of possibilities and holds the greatest potential. At this moment in time, James Sprunt is at a turning point and great things are happening.
“…JSCC will continue to be a bright beacon in Duplin County, North Carolina, and the region.”
James Sprunt will continue to develop academic and continuing education programs, courses and services which serve the needs of the local and regional workforce. An example of what the future holds for JSCC is the renovating of existing buildings and building new facilities to better serve our students.
With the new $2 million dollar grant that was recently awarded to the college by the US Department of Commerce, James Sprunt and Duplin County will continue to thrive for years to come. This grant will help to establish a medical presence like we have never seen before and will be the start of an amazing new beginning for our area. Students from all around will come to James Sprunt seeking training for medical and healthcare professions, making us an anchor for workforce development for hospitals, doctors offices and beyond. We cannot even really begin to imagine how this grant will help to restructure the economy and landscape of Duplin County. As they said in the movie Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come,” and I know that this will be true for this initiative for years to come.
In the future, JSCC will continue to expand the number of students who choose the College as their first education and training provider.
Our summer enrollment at James Sprunt was the best ever in the history of the college. With enrollment continuing to grow, the college will be eligible to receive more funding, which will in turn result in better facilities and more economic development potential for Duplin County. We encourage everyone in Duplin County to help us in our recruiting efforts – we need you to help spread the word about our college, so that we can grow and expand. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so we hope that you as citizens of Duplin County will do all you can to promote all the good that we do here at James Sprunt. We exist to educate students and train the workforce of tomorrow. Our success is your success, because the greater the community college, the better resources that will be available for you, the county and the greater the economic development potential for our area.
James Sprunt will continue to collaborate with Duplin County Schools to help students begin choosing and preparing for careers and college through the expansion of Duplin Early College High School and Career Academies. Students will graduate high school with college credit as well, along with a well defined career plan, enabling them to get a jumpstart on the next chapter of their life whether that is starting in the workforce or furthering their education at the university level.
I believe that James Sprunt will become a cultural arts center to expose citizens to various artists and performer. James Sprunt was recently the host site for a Smithsonian Museum Exhibit. The College will continue to expand its cultural offering, making Kenansville the place to be on this side of I-95.
James Sprunt continues to seek new and innovative ways to reach students and help individuals in their quest for an education. With your continued support, James Sprunt can become even greater, serving more students, offering more community programs, and becoming a hub of activity for Duplin County.
As I depart James Sprunt Community College with fond memories of the faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, members of the Foundation Board, and most of all our students, I am positive that JSCC will continue to be a bright beacon in Duplin County, North Carolina, and the region.
-Dr. Lawrence Rouse