BURGAW, NC (WECT) - James Sprunt Community College is one of the 58 community colleges in North Carolina, a system that is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year.
In the mid 50s, Governor Luther Hodges asked Duplin County native Dallas Herring to develop a plan for industrial education. The plan Herring submitted was approved by the General Assembly, thus starting the community college system in the state.
"There are over eight hundred thousand North Carolina residents enrolled in the community college system today, and he is called the 'father of the community college system.'" said Mike Taylor, Director of the Pender County Library.
Herring devoted his home in Rose Hill to the preservation of historical and cultural resources of Duplin County and the surrounding area. But because of financial reasons, Herring's extensive historic and genealogical collections were moved from Duplin County earlier this year and are now part of the Pender County Library, as the Dallas Herring Carolina Heritage Collection.
Pender County's library staff members spent weeks in Rose Hill, cataloguing Herring's extensive collection of thousands of books and papers and placing them in the newly remodeled 113 year old historic Henry-Murphy House. And at the same time, they moved the county's history collection to the new facility as well.
"We have family genealogy, we have information on many counties in North Carolina, indexes and records, all arranged by counties," said Taylor. "We also have the collection of Leslie Brown, which is the 30,000 index card collection of names, contacts, tips of those various families and individuals, and we also have the Billie McCatherine files, who was a well known genealogy and graveyard expert."
Since it opened in September, the collection has served researchers from five states, as well as North Carolina. And it has allowed Pender County to have one of the most complete genealogical research collections in North Carolina.