Rowan-Cabarrus Welding Program Creates Special 50th Anniversary Gift For College


SALISBURY, N.C. — In honor of the last 50 years of service that Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has provided to the community, welding students presented the Board of Trustees and President Carol Spalding with a large scale replica of the compass featured in the College’s new brand.

Earlier this year, the College unveiled a new logo and branding strategy that better reflects the College’s role and significance to the region. Similarly, welding at Rowan-Cabarrus is not what it used to be. New robots and a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) plasma cutter allow students to engage with and train on industry-recognized equipment.

“Industry-recognized, high-tech equipment is critical to the success of our program and our graduates,” said Robert Simpson, program chair of welding. “If students can’t leave here knowing how to use the equipment that an employer uses, they won’t be as successful as the job requires. We are currently in need of Orbital TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) Welders and an additional welding robot.”

The orbital TIG is an automated pipe welder that is capable of making perfect welds on piping used in the power and nuclear industry. This equipment is being used extensively worldwide and there are few places where training is available. The welding robot is used in fabrication and welding of assemblies that require repeated parts to be assembled and welded together. The College currently has one robot, but to be productive in training and reduce downtime, there should be more than one robot for students to program.

Unfortunately, the College’s funding does not include an abundance of resources for equipment investments.

“Our resources from the state have continued to decline year after year. Like many public organizations, we are looking at other options and developing a case for support to seek private and philanthropic donations.”

Strengthening the “fundraising muscle” of the College’s foundation is not only important for the immediate future, but also for the long term vitality of the College, and the tens of thousands of students it serves each year.

In January, the College unveiled its new logo, which includes a compass designed by an in-house 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.

“When we saw the new compass and heard about the features that made it unique to Rowan-Cabarrus, we knew we had to use the design as the centerpiece of a 50th anniversary gift for the College,” said Simpson.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has spent the last 50 years serving citizens, business, and industry in Rowan and Cabarrus counties. Welding was actually among the very first classes to be offered at the College 50 years ago. 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.

“We are truly thrilled with this thoughtful anniversary present! What a wonderful example of the work that our welding program does,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “I love the replica of our new brand – I believe it demonstrates our commitment and promise to be the community college Rowan and Cabarrus counties need and deserve, both now and in the future.”

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 50-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 fifteen 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.”

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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