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Lamm to retire from ECC post

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Deborah Lamm


Monday, January 8, 2018

After overseeing a period of unparalleled growth for the past 14 years, Edgecombe Community College President Deborah Lamm has announced her pending retirement.

Lamm will retire in May after 39 years in the N.C. Community College system and 14 years as the top administrator at ECC. College officials said a national search is under way for her replacement.

“My tenure as president of Edgecombe is the hallmark of my 39 years of service in the North Carolina Community College System,” she said. “From the moment of my appointment and first day on the job in November 2004, I have considered the position a ‘calling.’”

The college has expanded exponentially with Lamm at the helm, said Dr. Jerry Price, chairman of the ECC Board of Trustees.

“For the past 14 years under the leadership of Lamm, Edgecombe Community College has experienced unparalleled growth in programs and facilities on both our Tarboro and Rocky Mount campuses,” Prince said. “Since her arrival, our college has constructed three new buildings and recently broke ground for a fourth, the Center for Innovation, on our Tarboro campus.”

Lamm established pioneering programs and unique partnerships at ECC, improving the standard and level of effectiveness of higher education in Edgecombe County. She designed and developed the EDGE Scholarship Program, a three-year pilot program that fully funds the education of qualified students. Students are tracked to study successful retention and completion strategies.

Lamm spearheaded the college's career preparedness initiatives, creating opportunities for all students to obtain Certificates of Career Readiness, thereby demonstrating workforce preparedness. Because of her efforts, ECC received the N.C. ACT Career Preparedness Award and the National ACT Career Preparedness Award in 2013.

Lamm also led the design and construction of the Biotechnology and Medical Simulation Center, which opened in January 2016 on the Rocky Mount campus. The facility’s innovative approach to health care education through the use of patient simulators in a simulated hospital environment is unique among community colleges in Eastern North Carolina, said Mary Tom Bass, the college's director of public information.

In 2007, Lamm secured a $100,000 gift to the ECC Foundation from Keihin Carolina System Technology to endow a faculty chair. Named the Keihin Endowed Faculty Chair, it rewards excellence in teaching. At the time it was established, the Keihin Chair was one of just several endowed faculty chairs at community colleges in the state.

Under her watch the college also implemented a Global Education Program, including study abroad, internationalization of the curricula, and partnerships with international schools in China and Finland; created a wetlands study area on the Tarboro campus; established Student Success Centers on each campus; and expanded the college’s Distance Learning Program.

A national leader in higher education, Lamm received the 2017 Southern Regional Chief Executive Officer Award from the Association of Community College Trustees.

On the state level, she served as president of the N.C. Association of Community College Presidents for the 2016-17 term. Additional state offices she held include past president of the Eastern Presidents’ Association and past chairwoman of the Legislative Committee of the Presidents’ Association.

Prior to joining ECC, Lamm served as vice president of curriculum instruction at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, a position she had held since 2001. For 21 years before that, she worked at Lenoir Community College in Kinston.

Lamm has a doctorate degree in higher education administration from N.C. State University, a master’s degree in English education from East Carolina University and a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from UNC-Greensboro. She earned both of her graduate degrees while working full time, attending evening and weekend classes.

In 2007, Lamm was named one of 100 Incredible Women by East Carolina University. In 2011, she received the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leader Award from N.C. State University’s College of Education and in 2015, she received the Eastern Council’s Boy Scouts of America’s Distinguished Citizen Award.

Lamm serves on the board of directors of the Tarboro Edgecombe Chamber of Commerce and on the executive committee of the board of directors of Carolinas Gateway Partnership. She is a member of the Edgecombe County Chapter of the N.C. Symphony, the Finance Committee of Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church and the Tarboro Women’s Club. She is past president and current member of the Rotary Club of Tarboro.


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