TARBORO – There are more than 1,200 community colleges throughout the United States with 58 located in North Carolina. But the national spotlight is turning to one college in eastern North Carolina, ranking its president among the best of the best.
Dr. Deborah Lamm, president of Edgecombe Community College, has received the 2017 Southern Regional Chief Executive Officer Award from the Association of Community College Trustees. Lamm is the eighth North Carolinian to win the honor in the association’s long-standing history; however, she is the only North Carolina president from a small- to medium-size community college.
“I am deeply humbled by this recognition. To be recognized by those who govern community colleges is a privilege and honor that I never imagined. I am equally grateful that this award allows Edgecombe Community College and the work of community colleges in North Carolina to be showcased at the national level,” said Lamm.
The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern more than 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.
Based in Washington, DC, the ACCT annually recognizes outstanding leaders in each of ACCT’s five regions. The Southern Region, for which Lamm was recognized, consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The CEO Award is based on the nominee’s impact on innovative programming at the institution, service to two-year postsecondary education, recognition of leadership, commitment to a collegial learning environment, and published professional articles.
“Edgecombe Community College has grown in the local, state, and national spotlight for its commitment to strengthening the workforce, providing a strong academic foundation, establishing state-of-the-art programs, and effectively collaborating with communities and corporations in North Carolina,” said Lamm.
Lamm, a 38-year veteran of the North Carolina Community College System, began her current post as president of Edgecombe Community College in 2004 after serving in administrative positions at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville and Lenoir Community College in Kinston.
A leader among North Carolina educators, she served as president of the N.C. Association of Community College Presidents for the 2016-2017 term. During her tenure, she created Community College Day in the North Carolina General Assembly, which recognized the vital role the institutions play in the success of the State.
“All 58 community colleges in North Carolina contribute to the economic development of the communities they serve. We are vital partners in recruiting and training industries, in preparing nurses and technicians for healthcare fields, and in creating skilled workers in a variety of other fields,” said Lamm.
At Edgecombe, Lamm provided leadership in the development of approaches to healthcare education, student success, historic preservation, and technological innovation – noteworthy for community colleges in the State of North Carolina.
Last year, Edgecombe opened the Biotechnology and Medical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art building dedicated to providing students in the health profession with a simulated hospital experience, complete with mannequins, to provide life-like training. In addition, the college partnered with Vidant Edgecombe Hospital to provide the first Mobile Medical Simulation Lab, a trailer designed to provide students with emergency simulated scenarios.
“Dr. Lamm is unmatched in her drive to improve the lives of Edgecombe residents. She is an innovative and effective leader as well as a thoughtful and sincere individual,” Wick Baker, president of Vidant Edgecombe Hospital. “She is the ideal college president and no other president is more deserving of this honor.”
Other programs at Edgecombe, which began under Lamm’s leadership, include the establishments of Student Success Centers on the college’s Tarboro and Rocky Mount campuses; the Edge Scholarship Program, which fully funds the education of qualified students; the Center for Innovation, an advanced manufacturing facility which will break ground in October; and the Historic Preservation Technology program, a curriculum designed to help with the preservation of historic North Carolina homes, graveyards, buildings and sites.
“Community colleges are designed to meet the needs of the communities in which they serve. I’m proud that Edgecombe Community College has served our residents by providing carefully crafted healthcare training opportunities, affordable means by which to attend college, a place where innovation can thrive, and a way to help preserve the cultural heritage that is unique to Eastern North Carolina,” said Lamm.
“Dr. Lamm has always been a pioneer and innovative force within our 58-college System; while we are not surprised that she won, we congratulate her on receiving the 2017 ACCT Southern Regional Chief Executive Officer Award. The System is proud to have Dr. Lamm as part of our team,” said Jennifer Haygood, chief of staff for the N.C. Community College System.
The last North Carolina recipient of the ACCT CEO Award was in 2008, when Patricia Skinner, president of Gaston College, was honored.
In 2007, Lamm was named one of 100 Incredible Women by East Carolina University. In 2011, she received the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leader Award from NC State University’s College of Education; and in 2015, she received the Eastern Council’s Boy Scouts of America’s Distinguished Citizen Award.
The CEO Award will be presented during the ACCT conference set for September 25-28. As the regional award recipient, Lamm is a nominee for the prestigious Marie Y. Martin CEO Award, with a national winner being selected from among the five regional winners.