LUMBERTON — Robeson Community College President Kimberly Gold knew exactly what to say Thursday to make the Robeson County commissioners feel welcome and at ease on the college campus.
“We are not going to ask you for anything,” she told them. “We are just going to tell you about the great things we are doing here at the college.”
And feed them.
Gold was the only speaker to make any formal remarks Thursday during a joint gathering of the county commissioners and the college’s board of trustees. The two boards traditionally meet at least once a year for an informal dinner meeting to discuss what is being done at the college to provide academic and technical training to county residents.
Thursday’s meeting was catered by students enrolled in RCC’s Culinary Arts program.
Trustee board Chairman Sammy Cox did say before the beginning of the meeting that it is important the commissioners, who contribute annually to RCC’s budget, be informed about the college’s programs and activities. He noted the importance of the partnership that exists between the two boards.
“We have to go to them each year at budget time,” he said. “They need to know what we are doing.”
Gold, who has been RCC president only since January, said that during her short time as president she has “seen the benefits of partnership” between the two boards.
“Over the years you have increased our budget and we thank you for that,” Gold told the commissioners. “Your support for putting new roofs on our buildings helped us get through the storm (Hurricane Matthew).”
Gold spoke for about 10 minutes, ticking off items that showed RCC’s impact on Robeson County and its successes in preparing students for jobs in the present and future workforce.
Enrollment at RCC is doing well, but most of the students are part-time, Gold said.
The number of high school students taking advantage of the college’s course offerings is up, and a new scholarship program that provides eligible students a chance to work with local industries for pay for up to 500 hours is proving to be a success, she said.
Gold emphasized that the commissioners have over the years supported work necessary to keep RCC facilities in good condition. She said an architectural study is now underway of all college facilities, with some buildings being as old as 50 years.
“A list of needed renovations is being put together,” she said.
Gold closed by telling the commissioners that RCC will be coming before the board in April with its budget request for the coming year.
“I would be amiss if I did not say we will be coming to you to help us address some of our needs,” she said.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.