PDCCC alum comes full circle to promote alma mater

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

By Wendy Harrison/Guest Columnist

Paul D. Camp Community College soon will be celebrating its 40th anniversary and the inauguration of its seventh president.

Four decades? Really?

After grappling with the concept that I am actually older than the college, I began drifting back to the ‘80s. Those were the days of donning a gingham scarf while serving fried chicken at my first job at Golden Skillet. My full-time job was earning a liberal arts degree at PDCCC. My plan was to transfer to Old Dominion University as a junior.

It would be much later until I would realize the hardships of life and come to appreciate the individual attention I received at my community college.

I loved the fact that I took classes with some of my high school pals and met new friends. I have such fond memories of

PDCCC’s Carol Ballard, Ben Foust, Clayton Harpold, Bruce Baker, Joseph Payez, Gerald Pyle and many more, including “karate buddy” Jerry Standahl.

Sure, there have been changes at the college since my days, but one thing remains constant. Students still enroll here as an affordable way to get a head start on their higher education.

I never dreamed that I would make a full circle and land at PDCCC to work some 25 years later. How ironic that I have this opportunity to promote my alma mater — without the gingham scarf — and I am proud to do so.

The college kicks off its 40th celebration with a movie night series throughout the fall semester. Jack Sparrow fans can catch one of two shows of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” for free on Friday, Sept. 23, at 4 and 7:30 p.m. in the Technology Theater at the PDCCC Regional Workforce Development Center. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the admissions offices on the Franklin and Suffolk campuses or at the Regional Workforce Development Center Sept. 14-16 and Sept. 19-22 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Other movie nights will feature “Who Killed the Electric Car?” on Thursday, Oct. 20; “Turtles Can Fly” on Thursday, Nov. 3; and “Twelve Angry Men” on Friday, Nov. 18.

The 40th/7th picnic will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, with pork barbecue and hot dogs provided by Smithfield Packing. The free event will be held at the Workforce Center. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the music of The Janitors.

In addition, the college will celebrate the inauguration of its seventh president, Dr. Paul Wm. Conco, at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at the Workforce Center. He succeeds Dr. Douglas W. Boyce, who retired in June 2010.

In the PDCCC spirit, we have started a special 40/7 Society to recognize the two celebrations — 40 years and the seventh president. For a one-time donation of $407, we are endowing a student scholarship.

Every year, we will award funds to help one student attend PDCCC. Those who join will receive name recognition on a plaque. For more information, contact Laura Clark at 569-6780 or lclark@pdc.edu

We appreciate the community’s support of the college since its opening in 1971. Help us celebrate 40 years of providing quality, affordable education to our students.

WENDY HARRISON is public relations specialist at Paul D. Camp Community College. Her email address is wharrison@pdc.edu.