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JCC welcomes new president

Vern Lindquist, right,had a busy first week on campus. Above, he greets employees during a reception in his honor. He also had lunch with community leaders. JCC photo

SMITHFIELD — Johnston Community College welcomed its new president to campus with a luncheon on Jan. 12.

Vern Lindquist comes to JCC from Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, where he had been vice president of academics for the past five years.

“I am thrilled to be here in North Carolina and on JCC’s campus,” Lindquist told an audience of faculty, staff and community leaders. “The college is on a positive trajectory, and I am excited to help move this institution along that path.”

The JCC Board of Trustees hired Lindquist after on-campus interviews with five candidates.

“The Board of Trustees would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Lindquist,” said Lyn Austin, the board’s chair. “We expect great things and know he will make you proud.”

The luncheon gave Lindquist the chance to meet community leaders. Among them was County Commissioner Ted Godwin.

“My granddaughter graduated here with an associate’s degree and moved into a four-year college ahead of the curve,” Godwin told Linquist.

Tom Williams is chief executive of UNC Health Johnston, whose Clayton and Smithfield hospitals have employed many graduates of JCC’s medical programs. “I think you know our need, of course, is a workforce,” he told Lindquist. “I don’t know what we would do without the scholars from here.”

Williams added, “These students are qualified and serious, and we know they are getting a great education here.”

Dwight Morris, head of the Johnston County Partnership for Children, said the county’s daycares rely on graduates from JCC’s early childhood program. “We know those early years are very critical, and we have lots of families and children with great needs these days,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure these kids are ready for kindergarten, and we have to do that in conjunction with the school system and the community colleges, and we appreciate the partnership we have with JCC.” 

JCC will hold a series of events to introduce Lindquist to the community.

Lindquist said good things were in store for JCC. “We had a great spring enrollment period and have plans to expand both programs and locations,” he said. “We are going to be very busy.”

Community members enjoy lunch catered by White Swan. Debbie Herrera | Johnstonian News