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Hockaday left imprint on CCCC

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Dr. Jeff Hockaday served as president of the institution that became Central Carolina Community College ... (more)

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Central Carolina Technical Institute President Jeff Hockaday (center) congratulates a student while ... (more)

Click to enlarge Hockaday left imprint on CCCC

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J.F. Hockaday Hall, on Central Carolina Community College's Lee Main Campus, opened as the Administration ... (more)

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Dr. Jeff Hockaday stands at the construction site of Central Carolina Technical Institute's Administration ... (more)

01.03.2012Admin, Faculty & StaffCollege General

SANFORD - "I believe a college is like an airline," said Dr. Jeff Hockaday, president of Central Carolina Community College from 1969 to 1983. "Every airline has the same airplanes. The difference in good and bad airlines is the people who work there. A college is the same. Everybody has buildings - they're important, but the difference is the people who work there. You need to hire good people."

CCCC is celebrating 50 years of educational service to its communities during the 2011-2012 academic year. It offered its first classes in 1961 as the Lee County Industrial Education Center, headed by Director (later President) William A. Martin. In 1965, the name was changed to Central Carolina Technical Institute and it began to award two-year associate in applied science degrees.

Hockaday was serving as superintendent of Sanford City Schools when he was hired as the college's second president in 1969. When he first came to CCTI, curriculum enrollment was 330. Stacy Budd, the board of trustees' chairman, gave him a directive: Grow the college.

"I accepted the position because I liked Stacy Budd and I felt I could do what he wanted," Hockaday said. "We grew the enrollment considerably and we did it by having good programs and good people who believed in the college's mission and in the students."

That mission was - and is - to offer programs that would give upward mobility to people in the community, both to transfer to a university and to prepare for entry into the marketplace, he said. It was - and is - also to provide avocational courses for the interests of the general community.

With the increased income from higher student enrollment, Hockaday said there was money to do things such as expand the offerings in Chatham and Harnett counties and be creative. In 1970, CCTI became the first institution in the North Carolina Community College System to be accredited by the NCCCS and the State Board of Education.

That same year, it signed an agreement with Campbell College, now Campbell University, for Campbell to offer college transfer courses at the Institute. This was the first such agreement in the state between a technical institute and a private college. The courses continued until 1996, when the college instituted its own university transfer programs.

In 1979, the institute's name was changed to Central Carolina Technical College and, in 1988, to Central Carolina Community College.

The 1970s were difficult economic times in the area with a lot of unemployment, Hockaday said.

"The college took the leadership role in economic development over those years," he said. "In the 1970s, the industrial mix of Lee County changed a great deal: it diversified, industries came in by the dozens, and the population grew."

As CCTI president, he worked hard to help make it happen, serving as chairman of the Economic Development Committee in Lee County. For his work, the state Economic Development Division selected him as the "1978 Industrial Volunteer of the Year." In 1981, The Sanford Herald chose him as its "Citizen of the Year."

CCTI expanded its presence in Chatham and Harnett counties under Hockaday. Some classes had been offered in Chatham since 1964 at several locations. In 1977, the Institute began offering a range of literacy, avocational, vocational and academic courses at the Paul Braxton School facility in Siler City.

The Institute had been providing adult education and vocational classes at various locations in Harnett since 1965. In 1982, the Harnett County Board of Commissioners purchased land in Lillington for an industrial education center to be run by CCTC. Hockaday accepted the bids for the new facility in 1983, but it was not completed and opened for classes until 1985.

When Hockaday left CCTC in 1983, he had a long list of achievements. Among them:

  • Curriculum enrollment had grown more than 10-fold, from 330 to 3,623. Enrollment in extension (continuing education) classes had more than tripled, from 4,486 to 14,718.
  • Twenty-four new curriculum programs had been added to the college's offerings, including unique programs such as banking and finance, industrial management, teacher associate: reading, vocational instructor, paralegal, radio broadcasting, telephone technician, and motorcycle mechanics.
  • Five new buildings had been constructed on the Lee Main Campus, including the Administration Building. In 2007, that building was renamed J.F. Hockaday Hall in recognition of his years of service, commitment, and accomplishments at the college.

"What impressed me most about Dr. Hockaday was what an exceptional leader he was as president," said Dennis A. Wicker, former member and chairman of the CCTC Board of Trustees. "He was not only highly regarded by the staff, faculty and board, but also recognized around the state as one of the best community college presidents in America. He possessed all the qualities that make a great president: great people skills, academic background, and the ability to garner consensus to get things done. I believe that's why he was able to go on and have a great career after he left CCTC."

Hockaday grew up in Johnston County and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1946-48. He received his bachelor's degree in 1951 from Barton College and his master's degree from East Carolina University in 1958.

He was principal of a high school in Warrenton and then served as principal of Sanford Central High School from 1961-64. In 1964, he became superintendent of Sanford City Schools and served until 1969, when he accepted the presidency of CCTI. He earned his Doctorate in Education from Duke University in 1978.

After serving at CCCC, Hockaday went on to become chancellor of the Virginia Community College System from 1983 to 1990. He then served as chancellor of Pima Community College District, in Arizona, from 1990 to 1995. That was the sixth largest community college district in the nation, with five colleges and 67,000 students.

In 1995, the National Association of Community College Trustees selected him as the Community College President of the Year in the United States. In 2002, the American Association of Community Colleges awarded him its coveted Leadership Award.

Hockaday retired in 1995 and returned to North Carolina. In 2005, he and his wife, Dixie, retuned to Sanford, where they still reside. At 83, he is semi-retired, serving as a consultant to community college boards in president searches.

"My best memories from Central Carolina Technical College are the graduates and their families and the people I worked with," Hockaday said. "The name of the game is good people. CCCC had and has always had good people, stayed with its mission and served its counties in magnificent ways."