WINTERVILLE—A nationwide search for a successor to retiring Pitt Community College President G. Dennis Massey concluded this morning with the State Board of Community Colleges approving PCC’s nomination of Dr. Lawrence Rouse.
During its regularly-scheduled meeting in Raleigh, the State Board gave the go-ahead for Rouse to step in as PCC’s next president when Massey retires this summer. A Kenansville resident, Rouse will join PCC from James Sprunt Community College, where he has served as president and CEO since 2005.
“I am honored and grateful the Board of Trustees has selected me to become the next president of Pitt Community College,” Rouse said. “The college is a great institution, with dedicated faculty and staff, which offers innovative programs that serve the needs of the community. I am looking forward to joining the Pitt Community College family in August.”
Rouse, who has more than 36 years of experience in community college administration, was named the N.C. Community College System’s (NCCCS) President of the Year in 2016. His professional background includes work as Dean of Students at Johnston Community College and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management/Dean of Students at South Carolina’s Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC). He also served as Director of Cooperative Education and Placement Services and as an admissions specialist with CCTC.
Earlier this month, Rouse was one of two presidential finalists to visit the PCC campus for meetings with faculty, staff and students and to participate in a public forum. While addressing the public, Rouse said he agreed with the late Dallas Herring – widely considered the ‘father’ of the N.C. Community College System – that the mission of community colleges is to take people from where they are to as far as they can go.
“I think that Pitt Community College can create the future for many of our students, our graduates as well as for our workforce,” he said. “My vision for PCC is to ensure that we are student-centric. That means everything we do centers around our students. Because without students, we don’t have a purpose to exist.”
Rouse said he envisioned PCC as a “premier provider of education and training for business, industry and governmental agencies.” He said the college would provide skilled employees by “engaging and collaborating with workforce partners” to develop relevant and emerging curricula and courses.
“Pitt Community College will serve as a hub for developing and deploying talent that is needed in the 21st Century workforce,” he said. “Pitt Community College, in my vision, will also be an agile institution, able to respond rapidly to the needs of the community and to the workforce with innovative solutions.”
PCC’s search for Massey’s successor began in December and ended up garnering more than 100 applications. Five months later, the search committee discovered that Massey’s replacement was just 53 miles from Winterville.
As chairman of the PCC Board of Trustees, Dr. Peter Kragel led the search process. Kragel said Rouse “clearly connected with students, faculty and staff during his onsite visit” and impressed search committee members with his demeanor and insight into community college education, operation and leadership.
“Dr. Rouse has a strong commitment to student success and a collaborative style,” Kragel said. “The trustees board was unanimous in supporting him as the next president of Pitt Community College and moving forward to consummate the appointment through the action of the State Board.
“I, personally, am delighted and look forward to working with him as he assumes his new role.”
A native of Sumter, S.C., Rouse earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Voorhees College in 1978, a Master of Education from the University of South Carolina in 1992, and a Doctorate of Education from N.C. State University in 1998.
In addition to receiving a National Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness Fellowship as a graduate student, Rouse received the prestigious Kellogg ACCLAIM Fellowship to attend N.C. State.
When he takes office Aug. 1, Rouse will be the fifth person to serve as PCC president in the college’s 57-year history, joining Lloyd Spaulding, William Fulford, Charles Russell and Massey. PCC is currently North Carolina’s sixth-largest community college in terms of student credit hours. The college serves more than 23,000 students in credit and non-credit programs annually.
Rouse and his wife, Janie, have two children: Lee and Whitney.