Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Celebration, Launches New Brand


“We are the navigators of our own future. We are the navigators of our own path. We determine what navigating forward means to us.”

SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has unveiled a new logo and branding strategy that officials say better reflects the college’s role and significance to the region.

The transition to the new brand coincides with the college’s 50th anniversary kickoff celebration. The debut of the new logo marks the launch of the college’s plans to celebrate five decades of service to Rowan and Cabarrus counties. Anniversary events began Monday with a large aerial photo in the shape of a “50.” A series of activities and celebrations will be scheduled throughout the college and in the community during 2013.

“I believe our new brand demonstrates our commitment and promise to be the community college Rowan and Cabarrus counties need and deserve, both now and in the future,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

To help shape the new brand, Rowan-Cabarrus worked with current students, faculty, staff, prospective students, parents of high school students, and community members to test perceptions of the college against those of competitor schools. Focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and a peer-analysis were included in the process.

The market research revealed that Rowan-Cabarrus is distinguished by its ability to help students find their way forward.

“Wherever you want to go, Rowan-Cabarrus can help get you there. Our dedicated and passionate faculty and staff are here to lead the way, and all those who embark on such a journey lead the way for themselves, their families and many others,” said Spalding.

The new logo includes a compass which is an original image developed by an in-house design team at the college. A unique element of the design is that the compass needle is fixed at the angle between the college’s North Campus and South Campus.

In addition to the college’s traditional blue and white colors, Rowan-Cabarrus added a vibrant gold.

“The addition of gold to our school colors is fitting, given the celebration of our golden anniversary,” said Spalding. “Also, Cabarrus County’s claim of the first gold mine in the country is a significant part of our region’s history.”

The new logo is accompanied by the new tagline, “Navigate Forward.”

“Today we become the Rowan-Cabarrus Navigators,” said Spalding at the 50th anniversary kickoff celebration held on North Campus on Monday.

Ultimately, the brand’s long-term success will be defined, not by words, but by the actions of those who know Rowan-Cabarrus best – faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends.

“These individuals know the value of the education provided at Rowan-Cabarrus,” said Spalding.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has spent the last fifty years serving citizens, business, and industry in Rowan and Cabarrus counties. The college offers a wide-variety of programs to meet the needs of a diverse student population with respect to age, life-style, academic achievement, and employment background.

“As the college celebrates our 50th anniversary in 2013, we want to thank the community for its support over the last 50 years,” said Spalding. “The community events that we are hosting this year are for our students, faculty, staff and community. Join us in celebrating our history and your community college.”

In the late 1950s, the North Carolina General Assembly approved funding for a new concept in higher education: industrial education centers for the purpose of training adults in vocational and technical skills needed by emerging industries.

In 1963, Rowan Industrial Education Center became one of the first of 58 colleges in the NC Community College System, under the leadership of founding president Merrill Hamilton. Dr. Richard L. Brownell followed Hamilton as president in 1977 and served in that capacity for thirty years. In 1991, under his leadership, the college earned distinction as the first multi-campus community college in the state of North Carolina.

The college experienced four significant name changes in its fifty year history: Rowan Industrial Education Center (1961); Rowan Technical Institute (1964); Rowan Technical College (1979); and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (1987).

In 2008, Dr. Carol S. Spalding became the third president of Rowan-Cabarrus. During her tenure, the college has continued to grow and thrive. Rowan-Cabarrus demonstrates a deep commitment to teaching excellence, student support, and affordable education and training. The college has expanded to include four campuses and three off-campus sites, all conveniently and strategically located. Enrollment has grown to more than 22,000 students annually, and today, 50 years after its opening, Rowan-Cabarrus serves as a catalyst for local economic development by providing a skilled workforce for the region.

“Simply put, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is a way forward – for our students, our community, and our economy,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.

The college offers fully accredited associate degree programs in more than 50 areas of study, including business, information technology, health and public services, motorsports, engineering technologies and biotechnology. Rowan-Cabarrus also offers numerous degrees entirely online, as well as accredited diploma and certificate programs focused on career and technical training, continuing education and adult basic education.

Additionally, the college provides a strong general education foundation and transferable credits for students advancing to four-year colleges and universities while helping many adults secure the additional training they need to start or change careers.

“Rowan-Cabarrus is the area’s largest workforce training resource and one of our largest employers. Most of our graduates continue to live and work in our local communities and provide essential and critical services in healthcare, public safety, manufacturing, government, business, and human services,” said Short. “Since its inception in 1963, Rowan-Cabarrus has changed the lives of many individuals in our region and is committed to building sustainable futures for our citizens through public higher education.”

Rowan-Cabarrus consulted with Robert Davies of candescence in Charlotte to help the college develop its new brand strategy. The final design of the new logo was developed internally by Allison Robinson, director of graphics, and Angela VandenBroek, web designer. In cooperation with key college leaders, Natasha Lipscomb, director of student life and leadership, was instrumental in creating the new brand by ensuring that student input was included throughout the process.

Rowan-Cabarrus will use the new brand in all advertising, marketing, and institutional publications online and in print. In conjunction with the college’s Student Government Association, the college will continue to develop its brand by creating a college song and designing its new Navigator mascot. Celebratory and commemorative events slated for the remainder of 2013 include:


50th anniversary signature events

April 26, 2013-Vintage Prom

  • Location: Salisbury Train Depot

May 16, 2013- Legislative Family Day

  • Location: Raleigh

September 3, 2013- Founders’ Day Celebration (Hail and Farewell)

  • Location: Country Club of Salisbury

September 30, 2013- Fire & Emergency Services Training Grand opening

  • Location: North Campus (Salisbury)

October 16, 2013- Employee Appreciation Day

  • Location: North Campus (Salisbury)


Special 2013 college events

February 15, 2013- RCCC Foundation’s Changing Lives Scholarship Luncheon

  • Location: Family Life Center, Salisbury, NC

March 16, 2013- 5K Alumni Event

  • Location: North Campus, Salisbury

April 7-11, 2013- Annual Literary and Fine Arts Festival

  • Location: North Campus, South Campus, NCRC

April 12, 2013- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Open House

  • Location: RCCC @NCRC, Kannapolis

April 20, 2013- SGA Spring Fling (Birthday Party)

  • Location: North Campus, Salisbury

May 11, 2013- Graduation

  • Location: Cabarrus Arena & Event Center, Concord

July 31, 2013- Commemoration of 10th Anniversary of Pillowtex Closing

  • Location: A.L. Brown High School Auditorium, Kannapolis

August 23, 2013- Rowan-Cabarrus Night at the Intimidators

  • Location: CMC-NorthEast Stadium, Kannapolis

September 21, 2013- 5K Alumni Event

  • Location: South Campus, Concord

October 14, 2013- Foundation Annual Golf Tournament

  • Location: Club at Irish Creek, Kannapolis


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