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Bolstering Belk

Community college leadership center gets a $25 million commitment from the John M. Belk Endowment.

Illustration by Laurie Allen ’17.

NC State’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research has received a $25 million commitment from the John M. Belk Endowment. The commitment will help the Belk Center continue to support the state’s 58 community colleges’ efforts in bolstering leadership, advancing equity and strengthening student success for the next decade.

“As the community colleges are the places of promise in so many communities, the gift lifts up the great 58 in the state,” says Audrey Jaeger, executive director of the Belk Center and W. Dallas Herring Professor of Community College Education.

Jaeger says the gift will help expand programming the Belk Center has established, such as leadership training for aspiring community college leaders of color. The Belk Center hopes to use the grant to continue to grow the work of four Teaching and Learning Hubs it established across the state the last two years. The hubs, which support professional development programs for instructors at community colleges, have held 2,400 courses highlighting best practices by community college instructors, Jaeger says. And the support will enable the Belk Center to enhance recruitment efforts directed at adults who attended community college but left and have not returned.

The John M. Belk Endowment was established in 2012 with the goal to provide underrepresented students funding for higher education opportunities. “It is beyond amazing,” says Jaeger. “To have an endowment committed and solely focused to college, through college, and beyond college to the workforce is unimaginable.”

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