Randolph Community College, state honors Shackleford’s influence, passion

ASHEBORO — Outgoing Randolph Community College president Dr. Robert Shackleford Jr. is leaving with more distinctions.

Shackleford was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on April 27.

That came as part of the ribbon cutting for the Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Allied Health Center.

Members of the Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board, faculty, staff, students, state legislators, and members of the Randolph County community were on hand on the front lawn and in the lobby of the Center.

“When (Board of Trustees Chair Mac Sherrill) announced they were going to name it the Robert Shackleford Jr. Allied Health Center, that was such a shock,” Shackleford said. “This whole thing has been a dream.” 

Sherrill said it was appropriate to recognize Shackleford in many ways.

“This is such a great day of celebration,” Sherrill said. “We’re finally celebrating the opening of this beautiful new building. We’re celebrating the great career of our president and friend, Dr. Robert Shackleford. So, it only seems fitting that we add one more reason to celebrate. It is a great honor that, on behalf of the Governor, I present you the Long Leaf Pine award to Dr. Robert Shackleford for all his years of service to Randolph Community College, the citizens of Randolph County, and the state of North Carolina.” 

Darrell Frye, who’s chair of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, said Shackleford promoted the college and backed that up with pushing for initiatives that helped RCC grow.

“His legacy will live on here long after any of us,” Frye said. “Not because his name is on the building, but because of what happens inside of this building. The teachers that work here are going to produce people that come out and save lives and change lives. When you take the work ethic of the Randolph County people and you couple that with the teaching that comes out of this campus, you’ve got a workforce that’s second to none.” 

The Center houses the College’s Associate Degree Nursing, Radiography, Medical Assisting, and Emergency Medical Services programs. The building has a two-story feature wall — a digital screen created by marketing agency Union that changes depending on the time of day and combines medical themes with RCC visuals. 

“You will never find a president more committed to the mission of the North Carolina Community College System than Dr. Shackleford,” said Suzanne Rohrbaugh, RCC’s vice president for instructional services. “It is about creating opportunities and about changing lives. That means something to him. He doesn’t take that lightly. You won’t find anybody that’s more willing to serve this county, this community, the region, and the state. And that’s really evident today as we celebrate this building.” 

North Carolina Community College System President Thomas Stith III and various legislators and school officials also spoke.

Here are comments from some of the other speakers:

* State Sen. Dave Craven: “We’re here today for workforce development. That’s what this building’s about. This is what our community colleges do across the state. Any company that you talk to now is short on labor. It’s facilities like this that train our medical professionals to be future leaders in this area, our region, and our great state.” 

* State Rep. Pat Hurley: “This building should be a shining example for everybody in North Carolina. They spent our money wisely. Dr. Shackleford went out as a one-man advocate for this tax because he didn’t want the taxes to go up for the people. … Everything that goes on at RCC — it is a bridge to success.” 

* State Rep. Allen McNeill: “The last 15 years have eclipsed the other 45 years. You have done a wonderful job. You took a good community college and made it great.” 

* RCC vice president for administrative services Daffie Garris: “It truly takes an army for a project like this. We kept the goals of creating a building that reflects our college’s commitment to student success. That’s truly what we thought about all the time as we were building this building. It’s more than fitting that this building is named after Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr.” 

Shackleford’s retirement is effective July 1. He has been in the position since 2007.

By Randolph Record