RCC honored for its diversity

First Posted: 8/5/2014

LUMBERTON — Robeson County Community College last week announced that it had won 2014 Southern Regional Equity Award from the Washington, D.C.,-based Association of Community of College Trustees.

According to the association’s website, “This award recognizes exemplary commitment by a community, technical or junior college governing board and its chief executive officer as a group, an individual trustee, or a trustee and chief executive officer to achieve equity in the college’s education programs and services and in the administration and delivery of those programs and services.”

The association membership counts 1,200 community, technical and junior colleges among their members.

“ACCT includes membership of most community colleges in the United States and also internationally,” said Pamela Hilbert, president of Robeson Community College. “To be chosen based on our application is a great honor for our board of trustees, employees, Foundation Board members, and students.”

The award will be officially presented to the college this fall at the Association of Community of College Trustees’ annual Community College Leadership Congress. The award was created in honor of the late Charles Kennedy, a trustee of Joliet Junior College in Illinois, who was a founder of the ACCT Minority Affairs Assembly, which became the ACCT Diversity Committee.

According to the school, Robeson Community College reflects the county’s diversity with greater than 76 percent of its students being classified as minority. The student body, averaging over the last three years, includes 44.01 percent American Indians, 29.53 percent black, 21.34 percent white, 2.67 percent Hispanic, 0.42 percent Asian, and 2.03 percent other. The vast majority are first-generation college students.

According to Dennis Watts, RCC Public Communications officer, while the designation is a great honor, he feels many in the community would not be surprised at hearing of the school’s diversity.

“I think anyone who lives in Robeson County, or people who know a lot about Robeson County, know that it is a diverse place,” Watts said. “It is a point of pride for the community. There are a lot of benefits to attending a diverse school and being exposed to many different cultures.”