SALISBURY, N.C. – During the month of April, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College joined community colleges across the country in celebrating National Community College Month – a time to acknowledge the significant role these institutions play in helping people achieve their dreams through higher education. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also proclaimed April as N.C. Community College Excellence in Education Month.

Since Rowan-Cabarrus opened its doors more than 55 years ago, the College has helped people navigate toward their goals, whether that means earning an associate degree or career certificate, or preparing to transfer to a four-year college or university.

The College serves more than 22,000 students annually, offering 32 degrees, 30 diplomas and 142 certificates. Numerous degrees are offered online, and Rowan-Cabarrus has been named a Top Ten Digital Community College by the Center for Digital Education for several years running. The College also employs more than 350 people full-time and another 600 part-time faculty and staff.

“The transformative power of community colleges is incredible. We change lives every day through our programs and services,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Close to home and community-oriented, we are a unique option for students to achieve their educational and career goals, and we are a catalyst for economic development in our region.”

With a diverse student population, Rowan-Cabarrus meets people where they are, with the same goal for all: “Navigate Forward.”

Jessica Jacobsen overcame a difficult childhood and early adult years by earning her GED at Rowan-Cabarrus, where she is now pursuing an accounting degree and is an active leader on campus. “I realized I could accomplish anything if I pushed myself, and my experience at Rowan-Cabarrus taught me that you can come from anywhere and still do anything,” she said. “You just have to make the choice and refuse to give up.”

Daniel Leonard took college classes at Rowan-Cabarrus while in high school and enrolled full-time as a college student. He plans to graduate at the age of 20 with two associate degrees, one in air, heating and refrigeration technology and another in electrical systems technology. “I will graduate with two degrees, little to no debt, and the ability to have a successful career in something I love to do,” he said.

Jason Stover is back in school at age 44, juggling school with a full-time job, being a single parent to a teenage daughter, and various community volunteer activities. He had always wanted to earn a college degree, but life situations always seemed to get in the way until he finally decided to enroll in the Rowan-Cabarrus construction management technology program. “I am proof that it’s never too late to start again,” he said. “I hope that my hard work will be an inspiration to my daughter as she pursues her own dreams.”

Rowan-Cabarrus is one of the best-kept secrets in Cabarrus and Rowan counties – a place where students can get a quality education at an affordable price, experience personal attention from instructors, take college-level courses while still in high school, earn an associate degree before transferring to a four-year institution, explore extracurricular activities and build relationships, and take continuing education or personal interest classes open to the public.

“I wish everyone could see firsthand the dedication and achievement I see every day on our campuses,” said Rowan-Cabarrus Vice President of Student Services Natasha Lipscomb. “At Rowan-Cabarrus, we call ourselves the Navigation Nation, because our leaders, faculty, staff and students work incredibly hard to navigate forward. We are proud to be in the business of changing lives for the better.”