Durren, Kirby receive state community college recognitions
Piedmont Community College (PCC) instructor and an outstanding PCC student
received awards during the North Carolina Community College System’s 2011
annual Excellence Event, “The Great Within the 58,” on April 19 at the Raleigh
Convention Center. Instructor Randy Durren was named the BioNetwork Instructor
of the Year for 2011, and PCC student Amaris Kirby was named the recipient of
Academic Excellence Award.
a Roxboro resident, is pursuing an Associate in Science degree and has a 4.0
grade point average. “PCC has been the perfect place for me to start my college
career because it is financially affordable, has the same classes that the
universities require, and is close to home,” she said. “I enjoy being able to
talk to my teachers and have a close relationship with them. Many of the
teachers and staff have helped me greatly in deciding what I want to do in the
is a 2010 graduate of Roxboro Community School and plans to transfer to a four-year
college upon completing her Associate degree. She has been active at PCC as a
member of the Student Activities Council and the Creative Minds Club. She is a
caregiver for her grandparents and is active in her church. “I want to be able
to do whatever God has called me to do to the best of my ability for others and
for Him,” said Amaris, in responding to her award selection.
was recognized individually onstage at the Excellence Event and was presented a
medal along with the Academic Excellence Award winners from each of the other
57 NC community colleges.
was presented the BioNetwork Instructor of the Year in recognition of his
contributions to the BioNetwork mission. BioNetwork
supports the mission of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS)
aligning world class workforce training and education to the Biotechnology,
pharmaceutical and life science industries. BioNetwork trains at all levels of
this industry, upgrading the skills of incumbent workers, from entry level to management.
who has been employed at PCC since 2004, is curriculum coordinator and
instructor for the Laboratory Technology, Biotechnology, and Biology programs
at PCC. He has been a proponent of the NC Community College mobile learning
program, first known as the BioNetwork Biotechnology bus and now called the “Mobile
Launch Pad for Critical Careers.” He has scheduled the bus to visit PCC on a
regular basis to use its resources to train PCC students. He also requested
that the bus be open to the public for parts of this visit to help introduce
others at the college and in the public to the biotechnology opportunities
available at PCC and across the state.
vision for his students went beyond individual county lines. Instead, he
proudly promoted industry needs across North Carolina and how his students
could fill those needs,” said Lisa Richman, Director, Mobile Lab Operations
“Mobile Launch Pad for Critical Careers.
also promotes biofuels, biotechnology, innovations in chemistry and green
programs, both for PCC and the NC Community College System. He provides
training on the use of the College’s biodiesel reactor on PCC’s Person County
Campus for his classes as well for a Continuing Education class taught through
PCC’s Business Development and Entrepreneurship Center. He has been successful
in getting grants to fund state-of-the-art equipment and to provide training
for the programs he teaches. He is currently on the steering committee for the
NC Greenforce Initiative, part of the National Wildlife Federation Campus
Ecology Program. Since 2004, he has led a successful summer biotechnology camp
at PCC for middle and high school students. As BioNetwork Instructor of the
Year, Durren received a $1,000 award.
Sherry Stewart, Dean, Business Studies and Emerging Technologies, describes
Durren as a “comfortable, well-seasoned educator who “always has his students’
best interests at heart and is willing to provide them the quality time—his
time—to provide the guidance, mentoring, and educational opportunities they
need to reach their potential.”
More than 600 people attended the
third annual NC Community College Excellence Event, “The Great Within the 58,”
an awards luncheon celebrating excellence among North Carolina community
college students, faculty, staff, presidents and business partners. The event
was part of a weeklong celebration of excellence in community college education
as proclaimed by Governor Bev Perdue.
Also honored at the event was the recipient of the I.
E. Ready Award, the highest honor bestowed by the State Board of Community
Colleges, Dr. Phail Wynn, former president of Durham Technical Community
College. The I.E. Ready Award was created in 1983 to recognize individuals who
have made significant, statewide contributions to the establishment,
development or enhancement of the N.C. Community College System. The award is
named for the late Isaac Epps Ready, the first state director of the System.
addition to Dr. Wynn, the State Board honored the recipients of the President
of the Year, the Excellence in Teaching, the Staff of the Year and Distinguished
Partners in Excellence awards: Dr. Mary
Rittling, President of Davidson County Community College in Lexington, was
named Wells Fargo President of the Year. Stephanie Tolliver Osborne, English Instructor and Writing Center Director at Gaston
College in Dallas, was the recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in
Teaching Award. Dr. Donald Herring,
Division Chair for Student Services at Coastal Carolina Community College in
Jacksonville, received the Wells Fargo Staff of the Year Award. Kevin Tyburski,
PCC webmaster/graphic designer, was one of five finalists for the staff award. Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, with Gaston College and Randolph Community College, were
honored as Distinguished Partners in Excellence. Rachel Okun, a graduate of Brunswick Community College, was the
recipient of the Dallas Herring Achievement Award, and Brian Mansfield, a graduate of Cape Fear Community College,
received the Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award.
More information and photos of all the
winners are posted on the NC Community Colleges website at the following link: