Scholarship Spotlight: Traquavis Harris

Rob Goldberg | July 31st, 2023

Traquavis Harris

Traquavis Harris, a 2020 PCC Associate in Arts graduate, has returned to the college to pursue training needed for a career in the field of information technology.

At just 21 years old, Harris is working part- and full-time jobs to pay his bills and educational expenses. Thanks to the PCC Foundation and the philanthropic nature of its supporters, he also has the Thomas E. Minges Memorial/Pepsi Scholarship to help pay for his schooling during the 2023-24 academic year.

“This scholarship is such an amazing blessing that I cried when I saw the email,” Harris said, adding that his “GPA and dedication” will ultimately prove he was the right choice for the award.

With fall classes set to begin Aug. 17, Harris, a Data Programming and Analytics major, answered a few questions about himself, staying up-to-date on technology, his PCC experience and future.

Q: Along with affordable tuition, what made you choose to return to PCC after graduating from the college in 2020 with an Associate in Arts degree?

A: PCC was a great institution to me (in 2020), and now more than ever. I wanted to go back, because I had taken plenty of (Computer Information Systems) courses, but I never finished my original plan of becoming certified. Now, I am able to complete that dream.

Q. What are your educational/career goals?

A: My educational and career goals include becoming certified through PCC in data programming and analytics and Java script programming. I want to become an information technologist and gain experience and transition my knowledge into a bigger corporation to become a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) …. From there, I want to create my own business and create apps that will help my home community become more efficient with up-to-date technology.

Q: What influenced your area of study?

A: I have always had a huge heart for technology and its concepts. I had taken multiple computer courses, program development courses and primarily courses that gave me basic essentials into the tech world/information technology. I want to obtain a master’s in Technology Management, with a concentration in Six Sigma. This ultimately influenced my desire to push through and enroll back into PCC, because I knew that the courses would be more effective, to me, than enrolling at my previous four-year university. Another reason is because I use my computer skills and knowledge in my current career and I thought that it would be great to pursue this full time, since it is something that I actually enjoy.

Q: What is your superpower?

A: Knowledge and creativity.

Q: What does receiving this scholarship mean to you?

A: It is an honor to have been chosen for the Thomas E. Minges Memorial/Pepsi Scholarship at Pitt Community College for the Fall 2023 semester. Thank you so much, Minges Bottling Group. Thank you for giving me a chance to be free of financial burden as I continue my education at PCC over the next two semesters. I am so grateful that I was chosen for such an amazing scholarship opportunity, and that I was chosen because you all made this scholarship possible.

Categories: News Tags: , , , ,

Kick Off the Holiday Shopping Season with the PCC Foundation

Rob Goldberg | July 31st, 2023

The 2023 Down East Holiday Show will take place Nov. 2-5 at the Greenville Convention Center.

The 22nd Annual Down East Holiday Show will take place Nov. 2-5 at the Greenville Convention Center (GCC).

“The Down East Holiday Show is always a great place to purchase gifts for friends and family while supporting Pitt Community College students,” PCC Special Events Coordinator Jennifer Vogt said.

The show, which is the PCC Foundation’s largest fundraiser each year, kicks off with an Adults-Only Shopping Night, meaning no children, strollers, wagons and carts will be permitted inside GCC. Tickets are $15 per person for this special opening event, which will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This year’s show will continue Friday (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and run Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Tickets are $10 per person each day (children 10 and under receive free admission when accompanied by a paying adult) and will be available for purchase online and at the door.

Show organizers say 182 vendors have committed to participating in this year’s event — 27 for the very first time. Santa Claus will also be on hand to pose for photos with children and listen to their Christmas wishlists at the following times:

  • Friday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Check out and/or the Down East Holiday Show Facebook page for the latest information.

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , ,

Q&A with TowneBank Greenville President Greg Steele

Rob Goldberg | May 26th, 2023

TowneBank sponsored the patio area of the new Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College officially dedicated its new Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement on April 6.

A little more than a week later, the PCC Foundation held its first fundraiser in the new building, and much of the event took place outside, in the patio area sponsored by TowneBank.

PCC Development Officer John Bacon recently spoke with TowneBank Greenville President Greg Steele about the bank and its support for PCC. The interview went as follows:


Q: Tell us about TowneBank and what makes you different from other banks …

A: We are a 23-year-old financial services organization that is deeply focused on each community that we serve. We are committed to providing exquisite service to our members and serving in a leadership role in promoting the social, cultural and economic well-being of our community.


Q: TowneBank has been in the local community for several years. Why was it important for you to partner with Pitt Community College?

A: Our bank’s culture is designed around “serving others and enriching lives” and we see our culture and the mission of PCC as being perfectly matched.


Q: How do the educational services PCC provides benefit TowneBank?

A: PCC is educating and training our community’s future leaders, while also allowing older adults to re-direct their career paths. The numerous PCC graduates help to provide an ever-improving skilled labor force, which benefits our bank as we seek to establish new relationships with members and new businesses in our community that come out of PCC. The true benefit, though, is to our overall community, as PCC graduates either continue their educational path or assimilate into our community, where their skilled labor is most certainly needed by our business community.


Q: When is your new branch in Greenville expected open, and what services will it provide?

A: Construction is progressing nicely on our new office, and we hope to be open by either the end of this year or the first month of 2024. We will have our banking operations on the first floor, and Towne Insurance and Towne Benefits will be located on the 2nd floor. Our banking operation will have a drive thru, night drop and an ATM, and we look forward to welcoming our members and prospects to our new location.


Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Thank you for everything that PCC does for our community. We are honored to be able to partner with PCC on its new facility. Dr. Rouse and the PCC board and leadership should be commended for the impact that you are having on the lives of so many in our community.

Categories: Front Page, News Tags: , , , , ,

Foundation Holds First Fundraiser in New Smith Center

Rob Goldberg | May 23rd, 2023

Eddie Smith smiles during the PCC Foundation's 2023 Spring Fundraiser.


WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Foundation held its very first fundraiser in the new Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement and generated $28,578.11 for student scholarships — a $6,433.95 increase from the previous year.

The 2023 Spring Scholarship Event, titled “Building Futures in our Backyard,” took place April 14 in the Chris Smith Multipurpose Room and TowneBank Patio. In addition to raising scholarship funding, it gave the PCC Foundation a chance to celebrate the Smith Center’s opening with Pitt supporters.

Dedicated on April 6, the 28,000-square-foot building houses PCC’s Institutional Advancement Division, which includes the PCC Foundation and Pitt’s marketing and media relations departments. It’s also home to the VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program and Slocum-Bunch Veterans Center, which provides services to PCC’s student veteran population.

Approximately 150 supporters came out for the annual fundraiser and heard PCC President Lawrence Rouse share the college’s plans for future growth, which will literally take place in the Smith Center’s backyard. The program also featured remarks from PCC Foundation Board Chairman Randy Collier, PCC Trustees Chairman Gary Evans, Greenville ENC Alliance President Josh Lewis, First Citizen Wealth Management’s Hank Dunbar, and PCC VISIONS student Soniya Newsome, who spoke about the impact the career development and scholarship program has had on her life.

PCC Special Events Coordinator Jennifer Vogt said a number of PCC Foundation supporters and local businesses helped make this year’s Spring Scholarship Event a success. She gave special thanks to Seven Pines Vineyard, Country Squire Winery, Carolina Eagle Distributing and Phoenix Signs for their contributions and thanked the following sponsors for their support of PCC students:

  • Premium Sponsors — Institutional Interiors, Grady-White Boats, Ward and Smith P.A., Pitt Community College, Brown & Wood, Lautares Jewelers, and Tom Taft, Sr. and family.
  • Table Sponsors — Meridian Park, Carolina Hardscapes & Mulch, Emily Monk Davidson, Farmville Furniture Co., First Citizens Bank, Alliance One/Pyxus, TowneBank, First Bank, Greenville ENC Alliance, Barnhill Contracting Company, Mosquito Authority, and Mike & Page Aman.
  • Friend of PCC Sponsors — Sam Jones BBQ, Visit Greenville NC, Smith Funeral Service & Crematory, Jefferson’s, Igoe Creative, Randy & Dwight Collier, Cassius Williams, Sylvia Craft, and Ann Land.

Categories: Front Page, News Tags: , , , , ,

Winterville Couple’s Planned Gift Still Helping Educate Pitt County Students

Rob Goldberg | May 23rd, 2023

Vannie and Linwood RouseWINTERVILLE—More than seven years after the Linwood and Vannie Rouse Estate made a sizeable contribution to the Pitt Community College Foundation, the endowed scholarship it created is helping Pitt County high school graduates achieve their college goals.

As longtime supporters of the Winterville community, Linwood and Vannie Rouse were very active in church and civic affairs. They also recognized the value of education and made a $400,000-planned gift with the PCC Foundation to support Pitt County students who attend PCC.

Several months after Vannie’s passing in April 2015 at age 93 – Linwood passed away 22 years earlier at 78 – the Linwood and Vannie Rouse Endowed Scholarship was officially established. This year, 23 members of the Class of 2023, representing seven different Pitt County public and private high schools, received $1,000-scholarships from the endowment to help them pay for PCC tuition and fees during the 2023 Fall Semester. The recipients were:

  • Ayden-Grifton – Daniel Styron, Camila Torres and Noah Williams
  • D.H. Conley – Gabriel Addison, Ryan Gillikin, Collin Grant, Emily-Rose Haddock Connor Smith, Sarah Swing, Jay Vazquez-Soto and Hailey Wright
  • Greenville Christian Academy – Gavin Jublou
  • J.H. Rose – Aubry Wahlen
  • North Pitt – Natalie Casanova, Kaitlyn Dunn and Saria Tripp
  • Pitt County Early College – Nazmya Awadallah and Payton Moore
  • South Central – Landon Amos, Sydney Anglen, Samantha Bryant, Evan Duke and Jenna Khalil

Per scholarship guidelines, all of this year’s recipients are Pitt County residents who qualify for in-state tuition. They had at least a 2.5 high school GPA and must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA at Pitt.

A Winterville native, Linwood Rouse graduated from high school in 1931 and would serve as a Seabee in the U.S. Navy during WWII. While stationed off Guadalcanal, his father sent him books on construction, which would form the foundation for a career in the field. After returning home from the war and obtaining his licensing, Linwood established Rouse Construction Company and would go on to build numerous homes, commercial buildings and churches in the Pitt County area for years to come.

A leader in the Winterville Kiwanis and Ruritan clubs, Rouse was a superb cook—the “down east fish fry” was his specialty—who used his culinary talents to host large-scale fundraisers for civic clubs and churches. He served a term on the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Board in the 1970s and was an active member of Winterville Christian Church before passing away in 1993.

Vannie Rouse, who grew up in Sanford, was a child of The Great Depression. Though she left school early to take care of her invalid mother and help raise her five siblings, Vannie’s lack of formal education left a void in her life but never dimmed her desire to learn and succeed. It actually ended up helping her develop an acute appreciation for the value of learning.

Linwood and Vannie married in 1969 and resided in Winterville. They enjoyed traveling and were known to pull off the interstate at various locations and spend several hours making new friends with those they encountered.

Unable to have kids of her own, Vannie became a second mother/grandmother to the children and grandchildren of her many friends. She always stressed to them the importance of a good education and the value of a strong work ethic.

Vannie’s ardent support of education led her to arrange the creation of several perpetual scholarships across the state. As a result, she and her husband have positively impacted the lives of many North Carolinians – and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Categories: Front Page, News Tags: , , , , ,

PCC Foundation Seeking Alumni Award Nominations

Rob Goldberg | April 24th, 2023

WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Alumni Association is seeking nominations for awards it will present to five outstanding graduates prior to the start of 2023-24 classes.

PCC Development Officer John Bacon says the association is trying something new with its awards program this year and will distribute the honors during Convocation on Aug. 15, rather than the spring. He said the organization is seeking nominations in the following categories: Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Alumni, Young Alumni, Employee Alumni and Honorary Alumni.

“The purpose of our Alumni Awards Ceremony is to shine a spotlight on the outstanding work being done by our graduates — professionally and in their communities,” Bacon said. “Convocation gives us a chance to celebrate those accomplishments in front of the instructors and support staff who, in many cases, trained and assisted those amazing Bulldogs when they were students.”

Bacon says the Distinguished Alumnus Award is Pitt’s most prestigious. He said it is presented in recognition of outstanding and uncommon achievement in a profession and/or service to the community, college and/or PCC Alumni Association.

“PCC has produced more than 300,000 alumni since 1965, and we’re proud of what they’ve done to strengthen their communities and the workforce,” Bacon said. “We love hearing about their achievements, celebrating their successes, and sharing their inspirational stories with others.”

Bacon said nomination forms are available on the PCC Foundation website and would be accepted through June 30 at 1 p.m. Descriptions of each award and eligibility requirements are also available on the site.

Completed nomination forms may be submitted to the PCC Alumni Office, which is located in Room 211A of the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement on PCC’s main campus. They can also be returned via mail (PCC Alumni Association, P.O. Drawer 7007, Greenville, N.C. 27835) and email to

For more details, contact Bacon at (252) 493-7229 or

Categories: Front Page, News Tags: , , , , , ,

Fulford and Rhodes Families Contribute to Name PCC Student Store

Rob Goldberg | March 31st, 2023

Robbie and Jennifer Fulford, left, and Sara Beth Fulford and Donald Rhodes pose for a photo outside of the PCC Student Store that now bears their families' names.

This time last year, the families of Robbie and Jennifer Fulford and Donald and Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes made a contribution to the PCC Foundation in order to secure naming rights for the college’s student store. A plaque designating the facility to be the Fulford-Rhodes Student Store” was placed near the store’s entrance during the 2022 Fall Semester.

For this edition of “Foundation for Success,” we found out a little more about the families, their decision to name Pitt’s student store, and their many ties to PCC. Check it out …

Hometown/Residence: Robbie Fulford and his sister, Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes, grew up outside of Farmville.

Robbie’s wife, Jennifer Fulp Fulford, is from Jacksonville, N.C. They live in Winston-Salem with their daughter, Fleming, and also have a home in Farmville that Robbie uses as a base for business pursuits.

Sara Beth’s husband, Don Rhodes, is from Rocky Mount. They live near Farmville with their daughters, Lillie and Ellie.

Occupations: Robbie Fulford is an entrepreneur and tobacconist, and Jennifer is a part-time caretaker and volunteer guardian ad litem.

Sara Beth is an attorney serving as Pitt County Clerk of Superior Court, and Don is a retired educator and small business owner.

PCC Ties: Four generations of the Fulford family have worked for either Pitt Community College or the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS).

Robbie and Sara Beth’s mother, Beth Fulford, worked as an administrative assistant at PCC, and their uncle, the late William E. Fulford Jr., was the college’s second president. Dr. Fulford served in that capacity from 1964 to 1984, and the institution developed considerably under his leadership.

Robbie and Sara Beth’s grandmother, Allie Lee Fulford, taught home economic classes at Pitt’s first Farmville continuing education site, and their uncle, Donald Fulford, taught math part-time.

Sara Beth has taught Business Law part-time at PCC and was a full-time Paralegal Technology instructor. Her daughter, Lillie, is currently the legislative liaison for NCCCS.

Robbie stocked vending machines at PCC while working for Vermilion Vendings during high school.

Prior to the establishment of a statewide dual enrollment program, Robbie and Sara Beth were encouraged by their parents and uncle, William, to prepare for college by taking summer classes at Pitt while they were in high school. Lillie and Ellie Rhodes earned high school and college credit taking PCC classes.

Current PCC Service: Don Rhodes serves as vice chair of the PCC Foundation and credits his mother-in-law, Beth, with encouraging him and her children, Robbie and Sara Beth, to continue supporting PCC. As a former educator and small business owner, Don says it is important for him to support the community by giving his time and/or making donations.

Why Support PCC, in General, and Why the Student Store, in Particular? Both Robbie’s and Sara Beth’s families credit their parents with emphasizing the importance of giving back. They are doing the same with their children in the hope it continues for future generations.

Growing up, Robbie and Sara Beth often heard stories of President Fulford encouraging the entire Fulford family to support Pitt Tech, which included recruiting students. After his death in 1984, their mother, Beth, began working at PCC and became a lifelong supporter. She even started a scholarship with the PCC Foundation in her name before her passing.

As small business owners, the Fulford and Rhodes families are cognizant of PCC’s importance in cultivating a trained workforce. Their family’s involvement with PCC since its inception factored into their decision to make a capital contribution. They see the PCC Student Store as a place where everyone comes together, as students, employees and alumni all patronize the student store of any institution.

Categories: Front Page, News Tags: , , , , , ,

Scholarship Recipient Spotlight: Cedric Lee

Rob Goldberg | March 31st, 2023

Cedric Lee, wearing suit, eyeglasses and bowtie.WINTERVILLE—Earlier this year, Pitt Community College student Cedric Lee received a financial boost from the PCC Foundation that will help him achieve his goal of becoming a registered nurse and working in a nursing home or assisted living center.

Lee, who is currently taking general education courses needed for admission to the college’s Associate Degree Nursing program, received the PCC Multicultural Activities Committee (MAC) Scholarship worth $500. It’s funding that will help offset the cost of the U.S. Navy veteran’s educational expenses as he looks to give back to the community by caring for people who are at their most vulnerable point in life.

“It is with deepest appreciation and gratitude I wish to express my thanks to (the PCC Foundation) for awarding me the MAC Scholarship,” Lee said. “Upon receiving the award notification, I informed my son of the recognition. We are completely overjoyed with the opportunity and express our thanks for bestowing such a great opportunity, which will allow me to further my education goals.”

Lee says his interest in becoming a nurse stems from his military service.

“I did one tour of duty as a surgeon assistant and because of my experience, was called back on active duty, (since) my reserve unit was a readiness unit,” he said. “… We had up-to-date information for medical care and training to assist in the field in case of any emergency. I enjoy the field of medicine and being able to help others survive.”

Lee is also enjoying his PCC education. He says he appreciates the diversity of the college’s employees and students, its location, and the smaller class sizes it offers.

“Ultimately, I want my children and everyone to know that you can go to college and continue your educational goal, no matter your background,” Lee said. “The education we receive here at PCC is top notch.”

Categories: Front Page, News Tags: , , , , ,

Smith Center to Host Very First Event on April 14

Rob Goldberg | March 31st, 2023

Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement

WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Foundation’s annual spring scholarship event will take place April 14 in the new Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement.

The program, titled “Building Futures in our Backyard,” will take place in the Chris Smith Multipurpose Room, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $100 and are available for purchase online.

In addition to raising money for PCC student scholarships, the event will give the PCC Foundation a chance to celebrate the Smith Center’s opening with PCC supporters. The 28,000-square-foot building is the new home of Pitt’s Institutional Advancement Division, which includes the PCC Foundation and the college’s marketing and media relations departments. It also houses the VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program and the Slocum-Bunch Veterans Center, which provides services to PCC’s student veteran population.

“We’re excited about hosting our first event in the Smith Center for Student Advancement with Pitt Community College’s most dedicated supporters,” PCC Events Coordinator Jennifer Vogt said. “It’ll be an opportunity for President Lawrence Rouse to share PCC’s plans for future growth, which will literally take place in the Smith Center’s backyard.”

Vogt said representatives from Greenville ENC Alliance will also take the stage to discuss their role in the community and explain how the educational services PCC provides benefit local business and industry, as well as regional economic development prospects. She says a current student and alumnus will share how they benefited from PCC Foundation scholarships and the impact it’s had on their lives.

“We’ll have a silent auction taking place throughout the event, with items from various places up for bidding, including Sam Jones BBQ and Lautares Jewelers and a five night stay at a 6500+ sq ft mountaintop home in Banner Elk, and proceeds will benefit PCC Foundation scholarships, which make higher education possible for individuals needing financial assistance.”

Vogt says various levels of event sponsorship are still available. Current sponsors are as follows:

  • Premium Sponsors: Institutional Interiors, Grady-White Boats, Brown & Wood, Ward and Smith, P.A., Lautares Jewelers, and Pitt Community College
  • Table Sponsors: Alliance One/Pyxus, Carolina Hardscapes & Mulch, TowneBank, Meridian Park, Greenville ENC Alliance, Barnhill Contracting Company, The Mosquito Authority, Emily Monk Davidson & Farmville Furniture Company, Mike & Page Aman, First Bank, and First Citizens Bank
  • Friends of PCC Sponsors: Visit Greenville NC, Randy and Dwight Collier, Sam Jones BBQ, Igoe Creative, Cassius Williams, Sylvia Craft, and Ann Land

For more information on “Building Futures in our Backyard,” email Vogt at, or call (252) 493-7496.

Categories: News Tags: , , , ,

Spring Fundraiser to Take Place in New Smith Center

Rob Goldberg | January 31st, 2023

Construction of the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement is nearing completion.

WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Foundation will hold its annual spring scholarship fundraiser, “Building Futures in Our Backyard,” April 14 in the brand-new Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement.

This year’s event will feature a dinner catered by Debra Dail Catering, with proceeds going toward PCC student scholarships. It is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the Chris B. Smith Multipurpose Room.

Sponsorship opportunities, including table sponsorships, are available. For more information, including ticket details, contact PCC Special Events Coordinator Jennifer Vogt at or (252) 493-7496.

Slated to open in February, the Smith Center is situated across the street from Pitt’s A.B. Whitley Building, adjacent to where Tice and Reedy Branch roads intersect with Warren Drive. The 28,000-square-foot structure is the new home of PCC’s Institutional Advancement Division, which includes the PCC Foundation and the college’s marketing and media relations departments. It also houses the Slocum-Bunch Veterans Center to serve Pitt’s student-veteran population.

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , , ,