Belk Center Colleagues Remember Visionary Community College Leader, Dr. George Vaughan

From left to right: Audrey Jaeger, George Vaughan, and Robert Templin

At the Belk Center, we are saddened to learn of the recent passing of Dr. George Vaughan, one of the nation’s most successful community college presidents and a professor emeritus of adult and community college education in NC State’s College of Education.

“Dr. Vaughan’s wealth of practical experience as well as scholarly insight impacted our entire college,” W. Dallas Herring Professor of Community College Education and Belk Center Executive Director Audrey Jaeger shares. 

“He was able to support students with specific, tangible guidance about their work in community colleges, and he guided faculty in doing research that mattered and encouraged them to convey their research in ways that were understandable and usable to all. He was invaluable to our community college alumni and colleagues, and his mentorship was valued by those who engaged with him.” 

Below, colleagues continue to reflect on Dr. Vaughan’s personal and professional impact over the years:

“George Vaughan was an exceptional mentor to so many, a willing colleague who helped other leaders rise in the higher education ranks, and a supporter in their pursuit of academic and scholarly achievement. George has left a legacy in community college leadership, but his impact on its many practitioners should be remembered as most significant, inspiring, and personal. Through these practitioners, his influence will continue to strengthen community colleges throughout the nation and his scholarly work will remain a shaping perspective for future generations of leaders.” -Kandi W. Deitemeyer, Ed.D., President of Central Piedmont Community College

“George Vaughn was a visionary thought leader for community colleges who saw our great potential as the ‘Ellis Island of Higher Education.’ His teaching and writing shaped the perspectives of many of the pioneering community college leaders and significantly impacted the direction and development of community colleges in North Carolina, Virginia, and throughout the United States.” -Scott Ralls, Ph.D., President of Wake Tech Community College

“On a personal level, I can tell you that Dr. Vaughan was one of the kindest, most considerate people I’ve ever known. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work with him. He was a true gentleman. I know Peggy, his family and all who knew and loved him will miss him terribly.” -Barbara Copeland, Undergraduate Students Services Associate, Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences at NC State

“Dr. George Vaughan was an asset to NC State University for his knowledge of higher education and, in particular, the community college and the presidency. During part of his tenure, he served as my dissertation chair at NC State and as my mentor when I began the presidency at Edgecombe Community College. Both in and out of the classroom, he was meticulous in his actions and attire, candid in his remarks,—and even funny, having such a dry sense of humor. He was one of my favorite people, always carrying a twinkle in his eye. Dr. Vaughan will be sorely missed.” -Deborah Lamm, Ed.D., Interim President, Roanoke-Chowan Community College

“Dr. Vaughan was a pioneer in the formation of the community college sector, and I am fortunate to have studied with him in NC State’s Community College Leadership program. He understood, firsthand, the power of community colleges to change people’s lives, and his passion for the community college mission was palpable in the classroom. Although he was a great lecturer, he insisted that his students be actively engaged in learning, so we role played and had mock debates and researched and read the weekly Chronicle of Higher Education from cover to cover and wrote seemingly endless papers. In one class, he read us his adaptation of the Statue of Liberty poem, which led to an impactful discussion about access and equity. I still have a framed copy of the poem hanging in my office. Dr. Vaughan influenced a new generation of community college leaders, and his legacy is lived through our commitment to the community college mission.” -Sharon Morrissey, Ed.D., Senior Vice Chancellor, Academic & Workforce Programs, Virginia Community College System

You can read more about Dr. Vaughan’s life and work here. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

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