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Why I'm Giving: Former Community College President Randy Parker '11EDD Supports Next Generation of Community College Leaders

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Editor’s Note: This is “The Reason I Give” A series where North Carolina State University of Education alumni, students, and faculty share why they stand by their college.

When Randy Parker ’11EDD graduated from Lenoir Community College in 1972 with an associate’s degree in mechanical drafting, it was the first step toward success in higher education.

He later earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Technology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University. Soon after, he returned to Lenoir Community College, working first as a drafting instructor and then in a variety of leadership roles.

After more than 20 years at Lenoir Community College, Parker decided it was time to take the next step: becoming president of the community college.

In 2004, he became president of Vance Granville Community College and furthered his knowledge by earning a PhD in Education from the North Carolina State University of Education. community college leadership program.

“North Carolina State University has been recognized as one of the best community college programs,” says Parker. “Students came from all over the country.”

Not only did Parker complete his PhD in 2011, but he also became the president of Guildford Technical Community College that same year. Eight years later he retired, but not before he received the IE Ready Distinguished Leader Award. 2017 Higher Education Distinguished Alumni Award from North Carolina State University of Education.

Today, he gives back to the College of Education’s Community College Leadership Program through donations to help future community college leaders acquire the knowledge and tools they need to make a difference.

The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Why donate to North Carolina State University of Education?

I owe North Carolina a lot and wanted to give back. I am very blessed. I have had two presidential positions and an exciting career in the North Carolina Community College System for over 40 years. It’s just a small contribution that I feel I can give back to the State of North Carolina for everything they’ve done to support my career.

What do you expect to happen as a result of your gift?

It’s all about leadership. When you start thinking about small rural community colleges, they are just as important, and perhaps more important, than the big ones. This is because rural community colleges are usually the center of cultural training and education for the community. high school education.

We need great leaders who can advance the needs of our communities and continuously innovate for workforce development, student services and student needs.

We need to give these leaders access to the tools, knowledge and opportunities to build their confidence.

Why do you think giving back is important?

It’s all about helping people and giving back. My goal is to help someone support our community college. It’s all about making our state better, making our communities better, and making our community colleges better. Community colleges gave me an education and allowed me to earn more degrees. Three were in engineering and one in higher education and leadership. It all started at Lenoir Community College. Community colleges need great leaders to survive and thrive for their communities.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Many of the students who come to our university are devastated and lack self-confidence. And seeing them thrive, happy, cheerful, with high self-esteem, and getting good grades while in college has always been a motivating factor for me.