Randolph Industrial Education Center: 1957-1965

Spring 1957

Local business, educational, industrial and civic leaders, including Charles W. McCrary Sr. made a bid to the N.C. Legislature for funds to locate a vocational-technical school in Randolph County. This was the first formal bid to be made in Raleigh. McCrary was elected to the State Board of Education in 1956.

April 3, 1958

Randolph County receives tentative approval from the State Board of Education for its vocational-technical school which will open in 1962.

Spring 1959

Randolph was selected as one of 11 sites for industrial education centers in the state.

Spring 1960

Bond issue provided $350,000 to construct a center.

Summer 1960

A joint city-county committee is formed to oversee the establishment and operation of the RIEC. This committee's initial members were Lynn Albright, Ernest C. Routh, Wade H. Harris, W.J. Boger Jr., W. Frank Redding Jr., Guy B. Teachey, Robert L. Reese, and T. Henry Redding.

December 1960

A 25-acre tract in the Industrial Park on U.S. 220 South was chosen as a building site.

December 1960

Al G. Farkas, a native of Vienna, Austria, and a professor of Civil Technology at NC State College since 1955, is hired as the first director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center. His office is located in the basement of Fayetteville Street School. His time is spent with J.J. Croft, architect, and S.E. Trogdon, contractor, in developing the building plans for the new school. He is also responsible for setting up the curriculum/programs for the new school.

October 1961

Farkas resigns and Robert E. Carey of Pennsylvania is named the new director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center.

November 1961

Eugenia Gardner is hired as the first secretary of the RIEC and she and Director Carey work out of the Fayetteville Street School office as the new building takes shape.

January 1962

The County Board of Commissioners appropriated $51,880 to complete the center and the City Board of Education approved an operating budget of $28,000, $15-20,000 of which was derived from state funds.

January 1962

Erman S. Cox is hired as the school's first maintenance supervisor. At this point, the only staff members were Carey, Gardner, and Cox.

March 1962

The first out-of-school industrial training program to be organized by the RIEC began with four students. The purpose of the program was to train potential employees for the Asheboro-area Needle Trades Industries. This first class consisted of four women and was taught by Helen A. Prevatte from Thomasville, N.C. The students were issued a certificate signed by the State Supervisor of Trade and Industrial Education upon completing the course.

June 1962

Asheboro School Board named Merton H. Branson associate director of the new Randolph Industrial Education Center. On June 11, 1962, the entire staff--Director, Associate Director, Maintenance Man, and Secretary move in. Final inspection of the 33,000-square-foot, one-story, L-shaped building took place on June 30, 1962. Two wings with classrooms and laboratories in one and shops in the other, were connected.

July 1962

The first five instructors were hired. These were Malcolm H. Ritchie, Mathematics; Shelby V. Morgan Jr., Chemistry/Physics; Jack E. Steele Jr., Electronics; Bryant N. Barden, Welding/Sheet Metal; and John L. Roberson, Electricity. The curriculum offerings are established for the opening of the school and these were Automotive Mechanics (2 years); Drafting (2 years); Electricity (2 years); Electronics (2 years); Machine Shop (2 years); and Welding (1 year).

Sept. 4, 1962

RIEC opened its doors for classes with an enrollment of 115 full-time students who ranged in age from 16 to 45 years, eight faculty members and four staff members. Three new faculty members were on board by the end of August. These were: Lowell M. Whatley, Auto Mechanics; Clarence M. Frazier, Machine Shop; and Frances F. Taylor; English/Speed Reading/Communicative Skills. When the school opened, its original service area included Anson, Montgomery, Stanly, and Randolph counties.

September 1962

The first extension courses (Continuing Education) classes are offered.

September 1962

Two new faculiy members are added: Joe H. Anderson, Drafting and Calvin Brower, Drafting. Both men worked at General Electric. Iris Ragland, bookkeeper/librarian, also joined the staff.

November 1962

The Randolph Industrial Education Center's first student placements came in November of 1962, two months after the school opened, from a Drafting class taught by Joe H. Anderson, superintendent of the General Electric plant drafting room. The students were Alvin Williamson of Asheboro and C.B. Grimes of Ramseur. Both men were employed at Moore-Gardner & Associates, Engineers.

February 11, 1963

The school's first satellite center, a Knitters' Apprenticeship Training School, began in Troy, NC at the old Page Street School. This program was operated in conjunction with the Montgomery County Knitter's Association. Clarence Boylen served as coordinator with a group of 7 instructors. The satellite center operated until 1967, when Montgomery Community College was established.

April 1963

The official dedication of the Randolph Industrial Education Center took place with a welcome at the Masonic Lodge. Dallas Herring, Chairman of the State Board of Education and one of the founding fathers of the NC Community College System spoke at the event. An open house was held at the school to showcase the facilities.

July 1963

Future RCC President Larry K. Linker was hired as agricultural technology coordinator.

September 1963

City and county school boards appointed four members and the county commissioners appointed four members to serve as the eight trustees for the school. The first trustees were J.W. Plummer, chairman; Cleveland H. Thayer, vice chairman; Richard B. Sweeney; Lynn Albright; Ernest Routh; T.A. Johnson; David S. Underwood; E.S. Millsaps; and John N. Ogburn Jr., board attorney.

October 1963

The newly formed Board of Trustees of the Randolph Industrial Education Center hold their first meeting. J. W. "Willie" Plummer is elected chairman. He will go on to serve on the board until 1996.

November 1963

Diplomas were presented to the first full-length course graduates. These six students completed a one-year program in Welding, attending three-hour classes five days a week. Welding instructors were Bryant N. Barden and Paul H. Newby.

December 1963

Director Robert E. Carey resigned and Merton H. Branson was elected director of the RIEC on January 1, 1964. By that time, Larry Linker had joined the staff as agricultural technology coordinator and was appointed assistant director of instruction in 1964.

January 1964

Randolph Industrial Education Center becomes the first IEC in the state to establish a Learning Lab. The primary purpose for which the learning lab was set up was to provide all necessary materials and facilities for adults to obtain their high school equivalency diplomas.

April 1964

The first class of adult basic education began.

August 1964

The first formal graduation exercises are held Sunday, August 16, 1964. Thirty-six students received diplomas and graduated from the two-year Automotive Mechanics, Drafting, Machine Shop, and Welding Programs. The wives of the first two-year graduates in 1964 received "GoodWife" diplomas presented by Larry Linker and John L. Roberson. Linker, who was assistant director of the RIEC at this time, introduced the wives and spoke of the recognition to which they were entitled for helping their husbands with the difficulties of combining work, home life and study.

Fall 1965

The Center had grown to 11 staff members, 13 full-time and 27 part-time faculty members and had served approximately 2,700 people.

October 20, 1965

The Board of Trustees adopted Randolph Technical Institute as the new name and were authorized to award Associate in Applied Science degrees.