On Wednesday, Aug. 9, Sandhills Community College celebrated a new era with the official inauguration of Dr. Alexander (“Sandy”) Stewart as the college’s third president.
Though President Stewart previously assumed the mantle as president on July 1, this event served as one of his first formal functions on campus.
Stewart outlined the importance of blazing a trail forward and growing enrollment opportunities in his inaugural address. He declared that there has never been a more important time for community colleges to “lead the way,” as he believes they are the gateway to higher education for many who may not have envisioned themselves as college graduates.
“Our students come from all walks of life,” said Stewart. “Community Colleges are a complex model with a multitude of moving parts. We raise up the community. I have all the confidence that the future is bright.”
Dr. Stewart is only the third president in the college’s sixty-year history, preceded by Dr. Dempsey and Dr. Stone.
Sandhills Community College has been close to Stewart’s heart most of his life. Stewart’s family has owned a farm in the area for well over two centuries, and Stewart has seldom strayed far from home, having graduated from high school at Union Pines and NC State University with his doctorate.
Ceremonial processional with Bill Caudill performing on bagpipes.
The new era was ushered in with a full processional, including renowned local musician Bill Caudill performing on bagpipes. The ceremony hosted a myriad of influential speakers, including Sen. Tom McInnis, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Chief Justice Paul Newby, and N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Sen. Tom McInnis (left) and Dr. Sandy Stewart.
“Sandhills Community College is in good hands,” noted N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. “President Stewart’s dedication to service at this institution — and to the state of North Carolina — reflect the philosophy that service is the very purpose of life. This kind of dedication, expertise, leadership, and crucial thinking ability positions Sandhills Community College to be a force as it charters its pathway forward to the future.”
N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.
Feature photo: Dr. Sandy Stewart delivers a speech at his inauguration as the third president of Sandhills Community College on Aug. 9.
~Article, photos, and video by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Abegail Murphy.