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New PCC president promises to empower students for success

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Lawrence Rouse, new President at Pitt Community College, speaks to faculty members and staff inside of the Warren Building, Tuesday morning.


By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WINTERVILLE — Empowering students for success was the theme as Pitt Community College’s leader ushered in a new school year on Tuesday morning.

PCC’s faculty and staff gathered for a Convocation ceremony led by first-year president Lawrence Rouse, who delivered his address at the Warren Building’s Charles Coburn Center on the Winterville campus.

Rouse opened his remarks with a nod to his predecessor.

“I'm delighted to be here,” Rouse said. “However, I must give kudos to Dr. Dennis Massey who led this college for the past 15 years through expansive growth of students, and facilities. He did a great job at Pitt Community College.”

Rouse, 61, was selected to replace Massey, who retired after 15 years at the school. Rouse is the fifth president in the college’s 57-year history. A native of South Carolina, he comes to PCC after serving more than 13 years as president of James Sprunt Community College in Duplin County. 

Rouse said he has spent the last few weeks preparing for his new role.

“Over the last two weeks, I've taken my time to learn a little bit more time about the college and to learn more about the community,” he said. “I have learned a lot and I am thankful to be your president.”

More than a motto

Rouse emphasized the college’s tradition of service to its students.

“I find the PCC motto of educating and empowering people for success appropriate for what occurs on our campus every day,” Rouse said. “That we serve our students. And this has been occurring for the past 57 years. Community colleges empower individuals for success in life. Countless students and graduates' lives are better because of education and training by professional administrators, faculty and staff.

“Community colleges transform our students from dependent to independent,” he said. “From unskilled to skilled. From disenfranchised to empowered. Many of the graduates have gone on to colleges and universities to earn baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees.”

Rouse has been involved with community colleges for more than three decades. He said that what has kept him going is his belief in the colleges’ mission.

“My vision for PCC is to remain student-centered,” he said. “That means that we're going to tailor everything around the student experience. And certainly, this must be a priority of this community college.

“We must focus on the students who entrust us with their future, with their aspirations and ultimately, their success,” Rouse said.

The goal is to help students be the best they can be, he said.

“The college will provide innovative services and programs and assistance that aid all students to reach their full potential,” Rouse said. “There will be an effort to promote a seamless education system where Pitt Community College will serve as the linkage between secondary education and university students.

“PCC will provide innovative courses, classes, programs, certificates and degrees that are relevant to the needs of the local workforce,” Rouse said.

Creating a future 

Rouse also urged PCC’s faculty and staff to look ahead.

“I'd like for us to think of Pitt Community College remaining a vital part of the community,” he said. “The vision for this institution is that we should go beyond what we are currently seeking and go into a future that we create. Here at Pitt Community College, we're creating the future every day.”

Rouse ended his speech with a promise to make sure Pitt Community College continues to be an asset to its students and community.

“Pitt Community College is the greatest community college in the world,” he said. “I am certainly honored to be here as president. I know that we will continue being the world's greatest community college because we have the world's best board of trustees, the world's greatest foundation board, the world's greatest staff and the world's greatest students.

“As president, I promise we will continue to be the world's greatest college as we move along,” Rouse said.