Originally from Duplin County, Dr. Herring is considered the philosophical godfather of the state’s Community College System. As the chair of the State Board of Education in 1963, Herring was instrumental in the creation of the community college system. He may be best known for his belief that education should be available to all and that community colleges should “….take people from where they are, as far as they can go.”
To commemorate the event, CFCC will unveil a portrait of Dr. Herring that was commissioned as part of the System’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The unveiling ceremony will be held on March 6 at 11:00 a.m. in the CFCC library in the Health Sciences Building in downtown Wilmington. The portraits were sponsored by Duplin Winery and by the North Carolina Community Colleges Foundation.
“Dallas Herring was a visionary who understood that education could be a defining factor in a person’s life,” said CFCC President Dr. Ted Spring.
“His legacy has brought us to where we are today – one of the most comprehensive community college systems in the nation, educating people of all ages, training the state’s workforce and providing college transfer opportunities,” Dr. Spring said.
Dr. Herring was appointed by Governor Luther Hodges to chair the State Board of Education, serving from 1955-77. In May of 1963, the General Assembly established the North Carolina Community College System. Under the leadership of Herring, the Community College Advisory Council was established to advise the State Board of Education. Herring was a life-long advocate for the state’s community colleges and the System’s “Open Door” philosophy – a result of Herring’s leadership during the System’s early years.
In honor of the event, all 58 community colleges and the Community College System office are holding events to honor Herring. At its last meeting, the State Board of Community Colleges also passed a resolution, naming its regular meeting room the Dr. W. Dallas Herring State Board Room.
Facts About Dr. William Dallas Herring
· William Dallas Herring was born in Rose Hill in 1916. He began his public service career at 23 when the people of Rose Hill named him the youngest mayor in the country.
· From 1951 to 1955, Dr. Herring served as Chair of the Duplin County Board of Education.
· Gov. Luther Hodges appointed Dr. Herring as chairman of the State Board of Education (1957-1977). That same year, 1957, the N.C. General Assembly adopted the first Community College Act, which established North Carolina’s junior colleges.
· Also in 1957, at the urging of Dr. Herring and Gov. Hodges, the General Assembly established a system of seven Industrial Education Centers to be administered by the State Board of Education.
· In May of 1963, the General Assembly established the North Carolina Community College System, bringing together 20 industrial education centers, six junior colleges and five extension units. In June, 1963, under the leadership of Dr. Herring, the Community College Advisory Council was established to advise the State Board of Education.
· During his 20-year tenure as Chairman of the State Board of Education, Dr. Herring led innovations and improvements in curriculum, class size, salaries, teachers’ aides programs and kindergartens.
· Dr. Herring devoted his life to opening the doors of opportunity and learning for all North Carolinians. One of his most famous quotes (included below) has served as the philosophical basis of our System for 50 years.
· Dr. Herring served as a trustee of James Sprunt Community College from 1971 to 1986. Dr. Herring received numerous awards including The North Carolina Award, the highest civilian award in North Carolina, and three honorary doctorates.
· James Sprunt Community College has a building, a lecture series and a scholarship named in Dr. Herring’s honor. NC State University has the W. Dallas Herring Distinguished Professorship and the N.C. Association of Community College Presidents established the Dr. W. Dallas Herring Student Achievement Award in 2010 which is given each year to one community college student that best exemplifies Dr. Herring’s philosophy.
· Dr. Herring died January 5, 2007, at the age of 90.