Lenoir Community College will join community colleges across the state March 6 in celebrating the legacy of the late Dr. W. Dallas Herring with the unveiling of his portrait to be displayed in the Learning Resources Center (LRC). The event, which is open to the public, will be held at 11 a.m. in Heritage Place in the LRC at LCC.
Celebrations will be held throughout the state with many community colleges unveiling Herring’s portrait that were commissioned as part of the System’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Duplin Winery and the North Carolina Community Colleges Foundation sponsored the portraits. 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.
A Duplin County native, Herring’s entire life was devoted to service and leadership in education. 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.”
He 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.
The System has been credited with improving educational opportunities in the state and aiding in North Carolina’s fast industrial and commercial growth in the past five decades by providing a trained work force.
Herring received numerous awards including The North Carolina Award, the highest civilian award in North Carolina. In 1983, in recognition of the System’s 20th anniversary, the State Board of Community Colleges recognized Herring as an individual who made a significant contribution to the establishment, development and enhancement of the North Carolina Community College System. Two years later, this award became the I.E. Ready Award, the highest honor given by the State Board of Community Colleges.
In 2003, on the 40th anniversary of the community college system, system leaders held a testimonial dinner for him and gave his name to the system’s leadership development institute. He was granted four honorary doctorates in recognition of his leadership in education policy.