11/21/04 — Wayne college president wins state recognition

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Wayne college president wins state recognition

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 21, 2004 2:05 AM

RALEIGH -- Wayne Community College President Ed Wilson has been nominated for the N.C. Community College System President of the Year award each year since the honor was introduced in 2001.

The fourth time's the charm.

Surrounded by a contingent of his staff, college trustees, community leaders, and his family and friends on Friday, he accepted the award during the Day of Recognition luncheon hosted by the State Board of Community Colleges.

Also recognized were those who contributed to the community college system and the state. In addition to acknowledging those who retired in the past year, awards were given to the instructor, staff person and outstanding student of the year.

Wilson, 60, became president of Wayne Community in 1992, although that was not his first introduction to the area.

"It was really funny how I got here," he said.

He recalled a time after graduate school when he was working as an intern in the college system office. He learned about a consultant's job at James Sprunt Community College and traveled there for an interview.

On the drive back, he decided to visit one of his former instructors, Dr. Clyde Erwin, who had become president of Wayne Community. They discussed the consultant's job, then Erwin asked Wilson to come work for him, beginning immediately.

That was 1973. Wilson worked as educational development officer until 1978, then became associate vice president for instructional services until 1980.

He moved on to Ahoskie, where he was president of Chowan Community College until 1983 and then worked for a time with the community college system and as adjunct professor with N.C. State University until Wayne Community again beckoned.

"I came back here on purpose," he says now. "There were only a couple of counties that I wanted to go to."

He said he knew Wayne Community was a strong institution, with an equally strong faculty and staff.

"I wanted to go to a place where there was a strong faculty and was in proximity to Raleigh, where a lot of meetings would be held and where the General Assembly met," he said.

After accepting the prestigious award on Friday, he acknowledged those who had accompanied him on his journey.

"You don't win these awards without a lot of support and a lot of help," he said. "You have got to have a great board of trustees, faculty and staff, which we do."

He also thanked his wife, Sue, and the couple's children, Stephen and Sherri, as well as other family and friends.

"It's a very special day for me, and I thank you for sharing it with me," he said.

Other honorees during the ceremonies included Thomas W. Lambeth, former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, and the late J. William Disher, former president of the N.C. Association of Community College Trustees and former chair of the Central Piedmont Community College board of trustees. They received the I.E. Ready award for exemplary service, the highest honor bestowed on an individual.

Wilson is also a recipient of the Ready award, receiving it in 1994.

Gerald Ittenbach, a chemistry, physics and forensic chemistry professor at Fayetteville Technical Community College, was given the excellence in teaching award. Staff person of the year was Si Seymour, Craven Community College's interim vice president of instruction.

The president's leadership award went to Carole Davis, a recent graduate of Central Carolina Community College.

Martin Lancaster, president of the state college system, expressed appreciation for the honorees as well as all those "who work every day to keep the trains running on time" and contributed to the successes in the community colleges.

"We appreciate the work, the leadership, the creativity that they have brought to us through all their years of service," he said.