In a letter to the edit or of The New York Times, award-winning actor Tom Hanks wrote “I Owe It All to Community College”. He recounts how he did not have the grades, the SAT scores or the money to attend a four-year college.
Even if you CAN get in and pay for a 4-year school, there are reasons that one of the 1,655 community colleges in our country might be a better choice. These schools have a huge positive impact on students, society and taxpayers. No matter what state you live, community colleges have opportunities that are worth checking out.
I recently had the tremendous pleasure of spending the day at Isothermal Community College nestled in the beautiful foothills of western North Carolina.
Only about 90 minutes from Charlotte, the serene and scenic town of Spindale is the proud home of one of the best community colleges in our country. Walter Dalton and his lovely wife Lucille have been my special friends since our days at UNC Chapel Hill together. After serving North Carolina six terms as a senator, as well as Lieutenant Governor, my friend Walter has taken his passion to help others back home to Rutherford County to serve as President of this wonderful community college. He had many offers, but there is no place like home where he and Lucille grew up.
As I drove onto the campus, the spectacular Foundation Performing Arts Center took me aback. It is so grand and gorgeous sitting by the lake in this quaint, cozy community. The same team who did the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte designed this beautiful theater. Speakers and performers from around the world love to spend time here.
At ICC, you can take your passion and turn it into a career instead of heading to a university and hoping you will figure out something to do with your life. For example, here you can turn your love of music and television into a broadcast career or turn your love of horses into a well-paying job. I am also very excited about helping to develop a culinary program at ICC and spend some time with their broadcasting classes.
Since my background is in television and radio, I was fascinated to visit the ICC radio station WNCW 88.7. They still do their own programming and you will probably be as delighted as I was to learn that comedian Steve Martin is a big fan of the station. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for one of his movies years ago. The talented Mr. Martin has participated in WNCW on-air phone interviews and a did a promo supporting their membership drive. Allison Krause and other big stars also are fans of their unique format. The beautiful setting attracts many well-known people from around the world as both fans and performers.
The possibilities are endless at ICC and other community colleges. Doing something you love means you never feel like you are going to work. And if your goal is to graduate from a four-year school, classes at community colleges transfer. Even if you are older than college age, you can enjoy learning a new skill or hobby or how to start your own business. Or maybe you have a four-year degree, but no job, or one that you don’t enjoy. Community colleges like ICC teach technical trades and skills that allow you to join the workforce doing something you do enjoy.
Just some things to think about whether you are a student, a parent or someone who wants to make some life changes.
Tell Me: Are you aware of the benefits associated with attending community college? If so, please list any that I did not mention above!
Very well stated Barbara! Barbara Harrell has served for years on the Board of Surry Community College and agrees wholly! Our community colleges are a true treasure!
What a treat for me to hear from you and Barbara! Thank you for taking the time to let me know that we share this connection to community colleges too. I appreciate your visits to my site and hope that you will send me suggestions for what you would like to see. My warmest regards to both of you!
I work as Interim Administrative Assistant to the Maintenance Department at Isothermal. I love this school! Your wonderful comments are greatly appreciated. The people here work hard to be the best they can be, and it is good to know our effort shows. Thanks for working with us on the culinary program. As an older student, what I learned here was that it is never too late to get an education, and Isothermal is a great way to get it. I graduated in May 2016, and started working here in August 2016. Thanks again!
Congratulations, Delores!! I am certain they treasure you at isothermal as much as you appreciate them. That caring, family atmosphere is yet another of many reasons Isothermal and other community colleges are so important. Thank you for your message.
Barbara, thank you so much for this beautiful tribute to Isothermal and to the wonderful job Walter and his dedicated faculty and staff are doing to improve life through learning. I am retired from 30 years of working at the college and am now serving as Board Chair for the Isothermal Community College Foundation on the Spindale campus. I echo everything you have said. I have degrees from three different universities, including a PhD from the University of SC, but I never had any desire to take my terminal degree to a four-year college or university. I was working at ICC when I earned it. I was supported by my administrators with flexibility in my schedule while I pursued it, and I wanted to stay there and give them any benefits I achieved in the process. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be affiliated with such a great school.
Nancy, I am smiling as I read YOUR wonderful tribute to Isothermal. You are such a beautiful example of the relationships created by the family like atmosphere of Isothermal and other community colleges. They are blessed to have your time, talent and energy giving back for your gratitude to them. I would really enjoy meeting you. You are clearly the kind of person our world needs. Many thanks for your very special message.
Mrs. McKay, Thank you for the kind words about ICC. I am an instructor in the Business Sciences Division for nearly 10 years. I drive an hour to work and home each day because I LOVE this college and the people. I could go on and on about the people and the great leadership, but it’s not about us, it’s about our students. Not only do we try to provide a quality education to students, but we are committed to finding jobs for students whether they are current or previous students. I actually landed my first professional job when I graduated from another community college (many years ago). I had already graduated but my advisor called me and told me about a position in a local hospital and the rest is history. My story is just one example of the thousands of students who are grateful for a community college. Again, thank you for your visit and kind words.
Thank YOU, Tiffany, for YOUR beautiful message. People like you make the important case again that community colleges create not only educational and career opportunities, but they help create amazing citizens like you. I am so honored and grateful that you took the time to write. I hope to meet you on one of my visits. Wishing you continued blessings for you and those who have the privilege of learning from you
Thank you for your very complimentary take on our beloved Isothermal Community College! Employees of the college are dedicated to making this an excellent place for learning and accommodating the community’s needs for education and training. I have worked here for 25 years, and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this hugs family of dedicated people!
That should be “huge.” ^^
Becky, I truly appreciate your wonderful message. You are the perfect example to make my points about Isothermal. Your pride and joy in being apart of all this transfers to your students. You are creating jobs as well as productive good people. Thank you!!! Best wishes for continued success! Tank you again.
Thanks so much for your kind words about ICC, WNCW, and community colleges in general. We are proud of the services that we offer to our community and are thankful for the wonderful support of folks like you. I hate that I was not here the day you toured the campus, but hope I’ll get the opportunity to meet you on a future visit.
Dir. of Radio Operations
WNCW – Isothermal Community College
Thank you for your thoughtful message, Dave! You are doing such great things and I look forward to meeting you on my next visit. Best wishes for continued success!
Thank you for putting into words how many locals feel about our beautiful Isothermal Community College and its ever expanding programs. Sometimes we take for granted all the wonderful things ICC has to offer because we are so accustomed to its beauty and comfort. It is great to read that a visitor can see what most locals already know and opens up to newcomers what our community college has to offer.
Thank you for your nice message, Dianne. It is my pleasure to share the good news about such a wonderful place. I look forward to my next visit.
Thank you for your support and interest in Isothermal Community College,
we love it too!
You’re very welcome, Mike!
My pleasure, Mike! I look forward to my next visit.
Barbara, thank you for your interest in Isothermal Community College and for your complimentary remarks and pictures. We in Rutherford County think ICC is one of our greatest assets and are pleased when others see its value. Exciting things are happening under Walter’s leadership. We are blessed to have him. Thank you again and come back anytime.
Thank you for your message, Joan. Having local support, like yours, for your beautiful community college encourages all involved.
Thank you for writing about our wonderful community college here in the North Carolina foothills. We think that it is an amazing place too. Isothermal has caring faculty and staff, the amazing Lee Powers scholarship, and excellent leadership in Walter Dalton. Isothermal is Simply The Best! We look forward to having you visit again soon.
Director of Enrollment Management
Thank you for your message, Diane. I enjoyed my visit so very much. You are yet another example of the wonderful people who make ICC such a special place. It really is Simply the Best!