The surprise announcement provided a more formal name for the building that was erected under Rittling’s leadership in 2009. Wednesday’s festivities were among the many poignant events that have taken place this year to mark DCCC’s 50th Anniversary.
“It’s my greatest honor to announce that our Conference Center, a building that has become a hallmark of DCCC’s community spirit, shall from this day forward reflect the tireless dedication of the person who has declared ‘community’ to be the most important word in the college’s name,” said Beth Parrott, chair of the DCCC Board of Trustees, as a rendering of the newly named Dr. Mary E. Rittling Conference Center was unveiled.
Prior to the building naming ceremony, a resolution of appreciation was presented in Rittling’s honor, noting her dedication and leadership, two remarkable traits that have resulted in extraordinary growth in enrollment, new programs, community partnerships and more since she became the college’s president in 2003.
“Our Board of Trustees declared in a resolution of appreciation that Dr. Mary Rittling’s service has forever changed the future trajectory of this college,” said Parrott. “The trustees paid tribute to her multitude of accomplishments over the past 10 years, which have opened doors for DCCC and moved us into a leadership position among community colleges.”
“I must honestly say … I never thought in my life something like this would ever happen to me,” said Rittling, who has played key roles in the growth of the college. The Lexington, Thomasville and Davie Education Centers have all opened under her leadership. In 2012, she was named North Carolina Community College President of the Year, and in 2013, she was named to the Board of American Association of Community College, providing leadership for thousands across the country.
The newly named Rittling Conference Center has been in near-constant use since college and community leaders opened it to the public four years ago. College groups, as well as groups in the community, often rely on its event space for meetings, performances and formal gatherings.
Many major announcements significant to DCCC’s future have also taken place there, including the announcements of the Link Campus gift and Christine Harris bequest, in addition to a celebratory joint announcement with East Carolina University regarding the dental clinic now under construction on the Davidson Campus.
“Dr. Rittling reminds everyone daily that students are at the centerpiece of all we do at DCCC, and the success of our students is what motivates her each and every day; it’s fitting to honor a leader with such passion and commitment,” said Parrott.
The announcement was followed by the annual Student Government Association’s “Welcome Back Bash,” a day of festivities to welcome students back to campus. Trustees, foundation board members, elected officials and other special guests who have played key roles in helping the college become what it is today, joined faculty, staff and students in the celebration.