KENANSVILLE — James Sprunt Community College executive vice president, June Davis, is set to retire after more than three decades of dedicated service.
“Ms. Davis has been a cornerstone at James Sprunt Community College for over 32 years,” said Dr. Jay Carraway, President of James Sprunt Community College. “Her experience, knowledge, and commitment to our students is unsurpassed. She has made a tremendous impact on the lives of many students, faculty, and staff. She will be missed but not forgotten.”
Davis graduated from North Carolina State University with double major in Animal Science and Agricultural Education and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education.
She began to establish roots in Duplin County as an agriculture education teacher for Wallace-Rose-Hill High School from 1983-1989.
“As a high school teacher, James Sprunt was always interacting with us,” said Davis. “The agriculture instructor at the time, Jack Alphin, would come and visit my class to tell my students about the agriculture programs offered at JSCC.”
It was through this connection that Davis discovered JSCC had hopes of beginning a swine management program. In 1989 she was offered a job at JSCC and for the next nine years she served as an Instructor/Coordinator for Swine Management Technology.
“In addition to teaching, I was responsible for coordinating the program, recruiting, and meeting with businesses and industries,” said Davis.
She collected donations for her department and developed partnerships in Duplin, Sampson, and Onslow counties which still affect the success of the Vocational Technology Program at JSCC.
“I would go out and talk wherever they would let me,” said Davis. “I wanted students to know that whether they started at community college or went straight into the four-year college experience- the result is the same.”
Davis understood that the community college experience makes the transition to a four-year school not only easier, but more successful in the long run.
Davis’ hard work and commitment to the JSCC mission allowed her to obtain the role of department head for JSCC vocational technology in the later part of 1999.
In 2003, Davis transitioned to dean of curriculum services. Though her title has changed and her responsibilities have shifted over the years, Davis would say she has managed the “curriculum side of the house” from 2003 to the present.
There have been times in Davis’ journey with JSCC that she has served more deeply than she would boast about. At one point, Davis played instrumental roles in managing both the Curriculum and Continuing Education programs. When asked when she found time to sleep, Davis laughed.
“It was a lot, but as the administration has changed and shifted over the years, continuing education has shifted into being under a separate umbrella,” she said.
Davis’s role now allows her to have oversight of both the Curriculum and Student Service departments. Davis jokes she has keys to the buildings of McGowen, Strickland, and everywhere else in between.
Davis’s career trajectory and skills made her an exceptional asset to JSCC. Her likability and ability to serve come from experience and a willingness to adapt.
For all these reasons, watching June Davis turn in all her many campus keys is bitter-sweet for the JSCC family.
“I first met June when I started JSCC in ‘94. At that time, she was our animal science instructor. Over the years, both of our roles changed, but for approximately the past 15 years, I have been blessed to work under her leadership,” said Heather Lanier, JSCC director of distance learning. “Some of the things I love most about her: she is a woman of integrity, she is honest and forthcoming in every situation, she genuinely cares about her people, and she leads by example. She would never ask her employees to do anything she isn’t willing to do herself, she provides space for her employees to work and learn, she answers every question with patience and an honest desire to teach what she knows, she is patient, what you see is what you get. There are no airs with June, and she doesn’t make snap decisions; instead, she looks at all sides helping others to do the same before a decision is made. She has taught me to be a better leader in how I make decisions and how I lead my team.”
“I was here when she started at James Sprunt,” said Ken Jones, department head for vocational education.
Jones has worked off and on with Davis for three decades and as a department head, he acknowledges that the success of the programs he currently manages, can be attributed to the foundation Davis worked so hard to build.
“I have been most impressed with the relationship June has with the Duplin County School System and local industry,” said Jones. “The partnership developed has resulted in successful career pathways for students to follow from the school system to James Sprunt Community College.”
“June has given a lot to JSCC and she will always be supportive of this college. Post retirement, I would not hesitate to give her a call if there was something JSCC needed. I believe she is ready to move on and let someone else take the lead to add new ideas to this college. However, she will always carry this college in her heart and will be willing to do whatever she can to make us successful,” said Jones. “When June is here, JSCC comes first. She has played a huge role in making JSCC successful in serving our students and community.”
As Davis prepares to enter into this new season of life, she looks forward to working with her horses and having the flexibility to spend more time with those she holds dear.
“I love all the people I have had an opportunity to work with over the years. I have enjoyed my interactions with students,” said Davis. “None of us would be here if we didn’t, at the end of the day, love the students.”
“I think the size of our school in comparison to others makes it easier to be personal with students and get to know them.” said Davis. “The people that work here are familiar with the communities that we service. That makes a difference.”