Broward College’s Gregory Haile Delivers Powerful Lecture on the Power of Proximity

The Dallas Herring Lecture brings together leaders in community college education from across the country.

On November 16th, NC State’s and Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research hosted the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture, which was presented by Gregory Haile, J.D., president of Broward College. Haile’s lecture, titled Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity, was delivered in-person and virtually to dozens of community college leaders across the state and nation. 

Haile’s lecture addressed the importance of removing geographic and economic barriers while providing educational service to the entire community. Through the power of proximity, breaking the confines of current access models, there’s opportunity to realize the basis for their existence, Haile proposed.

In his presentation, Haile addressed these topics and more as he reimagines higher education access through a collaborative, replicable and disruptive model. 

“Plainly, the work we do daily, and frankly, how well we do it, is measurably impactful to the people we serve – perhaps especially during our most dire times. Just as important, those whom we do not serve are impacted by our absence,” Haile said.

“Facing these truths, community colleges are obligated to develop innovative approaches to being proximate with the communities we are designed to serve, to ensure equitable access to higher education.”

Watch the lecture here.

Engage with the lecture discussion guide here.

The annual lecture honors W. Dallas Herring, who oversaw the development of a statewide system of technical education institutes that eventually became the North Carolina Community College System.

The lecture includes community college leaders from around the country to speak on urgent and emerging topics, framing how to address the issues and proposing a path forward. 

In her introduction of Haile, Audrey Jaeger, Ph.D., W. Dallas Herring Professor with the NC State College of Education and executive director of the Belk Center shared a quote from the late Herring:

“At an event in 1979, he [Herring] said, ‘If I may use a Duplin County expression, we have to put the sawmill where the timber is or we are not going to saw very much lumber. We have to take educational opportunities to the people, where they are, in the variety they need, at a time that is convenient to them and at a cost they can afford,” she said before concluding that Herring’s message lends itself to Haile’s timely message.

After the lecture, Jaeger moderated a live panel discussion with thought leaders from some of the nation’s top community colleges, including Dr. Pamela Senegal, president of Piedmont Community College (N.C.), Lee D. Lambert, J.D., chancellor of Pima Community College (Ariz.), and Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, superintendent and president of MiraCosta Community College District (Calif.).

For more information about the Dallas Herring Lecture and to see past lectures, visit the Belk Center website.

About the Dallas Herring Lecture

A Rose Hill, N.C. native, W. Dallas Herring made it his life’s work to build a system that would serve all of North Carolina’s residents by preparing them for productive work and active citizenship. Beginning in 1955, he served on the North Carolina State Board of Education for almost 25 years, during which he oversaw the development of a statewide system of technical education institutes that eventually became the North Carolina Community College System. Since 2015, the annual Dallas Herring Lecture has focused on national issues contextualized to North Carolina, inviting top community college leaders to speak on urgent and emerging topics, framing how to address the issues and proposing a path forward. The impact of the event has grown exponentially over the past several years, and has helped to elevate issues related to community colleges and led to action to address such issues in North Carolina.

About Gregory Haile, J.D. 

Gregory Adam Haile is the seventh president of Broward College. He assumed the role on July 1, 2018.  He has served in more than 40 board or committee capacities and in more than 20 chair or vice-chair capacities. He is currently the chair of the board of Leadership Florida, and currently serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, BBX Capital, the Florida Chamber, Pace Center for Girls, the Broward Workshop, the United Way of Broward County, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and he is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee. He has also twice received appointments by Governor Ron DeSantis: first, to the Department of Education Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee, and second, to the Re-Open Florida Task Force. He has received dozens of recognitions for his leadership, service, and excellence in his profession. He routinely serves as a keynote speaker, primarily speaking on the transformational power of higher education. Haile was educated at the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and served as the editor-in-chief of the National Black Law Journal and as an editor of the Journal on Gender and Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University, where he graduated magna cum laude and received the Most Outstanding Graduate award in his college. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Nova Southeastern University, and is also a fellow of the Vanderbilt University Higher Education Management Institute.

About the Belk Center

The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, at North Carolina State University, develops and sustains exceptional community college leaders who are committed to advancing equitable college access and student success, the social and economic mobility of their colleges’ students, and the economic competitiveness of their regions. The Center provides professional development and research related to current and emerging student success opportunities and challenges facing community college leaders and policymakers in North Carolina and the nation. For more information, please visit

About Broward College

Serving approximately 60,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit

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