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CCC&TI Begins Year of Celebration Commemorating 60th Anniversary

Published: 3/08/2024

CCC&TI has officially kicked off a year of celebration to commemorate it’s 60th Anniversary. CCC&I held an event on the Caldwell Campus for employees, retirees and board members on Thursday, March 7, 2024 to celebrate the college’s birthday and its many years of service to the community.

CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch opened the event, by welcoming employees and guests, including college trustees, CCC&TI Foundation board members and retirees. “CCC&TI was officially approved on April 2, 1964. Our first building opening in 1967 and that year we served 1,765 students. Today we have five sites, two campuses, 190 acres of property, more than 30 buildings comprising over 560,000 square feet and we serve nearly 10,000 students annually. How about that? We’ve come a long way, baby” exclaimed Poarch. “Thank you to all of you for the role you’ve played in the history of this institution. We can all be proud of the small part we’ve played in making life better for our students and the communities we have the privilege of serving. I can’t wait to watch the next 60 years unfold!”

Mr. Larry Taylor, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees also offered brief remarks at the celebration. Taylor, who has served for more than 30 years, explained that “CCC&TI has touched nearly every family in Caldwell County at one time or another over these last six decades. Over our 60-year history, CCC&TI has awarded nearly 700,000 credentials and served more than 298,000 individual students across all programs.”

Dr. Mark Poarch

Pictured, CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch welcomes employees and guests to the birthday celebration.

Retiree Sheila Burns also spoke at the event and shared her lifelong connection to the College. Burns earned an associate degree in 1968 as part of the college’s first graduating class. As a student, she was crowned the first Miss Caldwell Tech in 1967. After earning her degree, Burns joined the college staff and, after 30 years of service, retired as Director of College Stores in 1998. “I am truly honored to be here. I was the first one in my family to go to college. I came in the summer of 1966,” said Burns. “I worked as a student employee and then in the fall, I enrolled in the Library Technology program and began working in the college library, which at the time was just a small little room at Dulatown Elementary School in the Gamewell area. We moved to this campus in 1968,” she said. Burns shared about the college’s yearbook, the ADVOCAT (an acronym for Adult Vocational and Technical) and the college newspaper, The Communicator. “There were so many here that year who were the first in their families to be able to go to college and it provided us with that opportunity. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is the best thing that’s ever happened to this county! It provides so many opportunities for students to find a path to a worthwhile career. Support this college and keep it going!”

Following the welcome, attendees enjoyed lunch prepared by the J.E. Broyhill Catering Group and a slide show of photos and highlights from the past six decades.

Sheila Burns

Pictured, CCC&TI alumna and retired Director of College Stores, Mrs. Sheila Burns, speaks to those in attendance at the college’s 60th Anniversary celebration

Several events are planned throughout the year, including community events on CCC&TI’s campuses in Caldwell and Watauga counties. A birthday bash for students in the spring and fall are also in the works.

The establishment of Caldwell Technical Institute was tentatively approved by the State Board of Education in January 1964. The people of Caldwell County approved the college on March 28, 1964, through a bond vote of $600,000. The monies funded purchase of a site, construction of facilities, and up to five cents tax authorization for college operations. Final approval by the State Board of Education followed on April 2, 1964. The first president, Dr. H. Edwin Beam, was selected that fall and began work in November 1964.

Over the years, the college has experienced tremendous growth in all areas including program offerings, partnership agreements with universities across the state, resources for students and much more.

Today, CCC&TI offers hundreds of programs to meet the area’s higher education and workforce development needs. These programs include college transfer and applied science degrees, short term career training, professional development, customized training, high school equivalency and personal enrichment courses, just to name a few.

Happy Birthday, CCC&TI!

Registration for summer and fall classes begins April 10. For more information, visit www.cccti.edu or call at 828-726-2200 (Caldwell) or 828-297-3811 (Watauga.)

Kay Crouch and Justin Butler

Pictured, CCC&TI’s retired Director of Fine Arts, Music Program Director Kay Crouch and current Director, Justin Butler, lead the crowd in an upbeat rendition of Happy Birthday in honor of the college’s 60th Anniversary.

Student Services Staff

Pictured are members of CCC&TI’s Student Services staff. From left to right are Counselor Blair Johnston; Career Services Coordinator Asia Hunt; Director, Counseling and Disability Services, Tuesday Sigmon; Counselor, Ashelyn Thomason; Counselor Brittney Lewis; and Administrative Assistant, Alexis Shook.