SANFORD - Central Carolina Community College's Innovation Center at the Lee County Industrial Park is being named in honor of Dr. Paul O. Howard and his wife, Dr. Barbara E. James.
Dr. Howard and Dr. James established the CCCC Howard/James Scholarship in Career Technical Education programs, which is for students who are Lee County Boys and Girls Club alumni and/or residents of Lee and Harnett counties.
Dr. Howard and Dr. James previously donated real properties in Sanford to CCCC. At its April 27 meeting, the CCCC Board of Trustees officially approved exchanging those properties with Lee County for the property at 5825 Clyde Rhyne Drive in the Lee County Industrial Park that has been used for the CCCC Innovation Center.
"The training that will occur in this building can be a conduit for an individual achieving economic and social success, i.e., the American Dream," said Dr. James.
Dr. Howard, who noted that the naming is among his greatest surprises and greatest honors, said that he would be pleased if the building can be used for the education and training of students who then can become productive citizens in our society.
CCCC President Dr. T. Eston Marchant said the building is dynamic in providing skill for workers. "This is a building that I think is true to Dr. Howard's and Dr. James's mission," he said, adding that this and future generations will be able to come to this facility to learn marketable skills. "We are grateful to Dr. Howard and Dr. James for their contributions to the college and to the community."
Dr. Howard, who first came to Sanford in 1957 from his native Virginia to be a partner with Dr. J.F. Foster, later began Sanford Medical Group that included his partners Dr. Lawrence Alexander and Dr. Robert Cline. Sanford Medical Group is now a part of the Pinehurst Medical Clinic.
Dr. Howard's first wife, the late Nan Howard, was a member of the local school board. The couple had three children.
Dr. Howard later met Dr. Barbara James, who is now a retired professor from the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Practice in the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. They have been married since 1977.
Both Dr. Howard and Dr. James have been involved in a number of activities -- in the local community, and national and internationally. For example, Dr. Howard worked with Indian Health Services, which is a federal health program for American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Dr. James worked with the government of Kuwait during and after the Gulf Wars developing programs for families who had lost husbands and fathers as a result of the war.
Dr. Howard was among the founders of the Boys and Girls Club of Sanford/Lee County and has been an active supporter of the organization. Camp Howard, a summer program of the club, has been held on a tree farm that he is restoring in long leaf pines and cypress in order that future young people can experience and appreciate how this area of North Carolina once appeared.
"The CCCC Board of Trustees is extremely grateful for the outstanding support that Dr. Barbara James and Dr. Paul Howard have given to Central Carolina Community College," said Julian Philpott, Chairman of the CCCC Board of Trustees. "The board considered it appropriate in light of all they have done for the College over the years to name the Innovation Center in their honor."
Central Carolina Community College's Innovation Center at the Lee County Industrial Park is being named in honor of Dr. Paul O. Howard and his wife, Dr. Barbara E. James.