Wake Tech Celebrates 50 Years of Service to Community
“Main Event” Wraps Up Golden Anniversary Year of Celebration
RALEIGH, N.C. (October 16, 2013) - It was a celebration of the past and a look toward the future at Wake Tech’s Main Campus today. The college held the culmination of its year-long 50th anniversary commemoration with “The Main Event – Party with a Purpose.” Special guests included North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker.
The event on Main Campus, where the institution opened its doors for classes 50 years ago today, kicked off in the morning with Secretary Decker speaking about the future of jobs in North Carolina. Decker spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the Student Services Building. She told the crowd of mostly students, “You need to study something that you can get up every day and be excited about.”
An outdoor celebration followed at the construction site for a new administration/classroom building. Governor McCrory recognized Wake Tech for providing vital workforce training that helps attracts businesses to the region. “When executives want to know if the area has skilled workers for their companies,” the Governor said, “I tell them ‘yes, we’ve got Wake Tech’.”
The event included a groundbreaking ceremony for the building, which Wake Tech Board of Trustees Chair Jim Perry announced would be named Montague Hall in honor of Harvey L. Montague, the longest-serving Wake Tech trustee. The building will open next spring. Dignitaries also helped cut a special birthday cake, prepared by students and instructors in the college’s Baking and Pastry Arts program.
Special guests included former Wake Tech President Dr. Bruce Howell and three of the institution’s first graduates: Dixie Kennedy, Laurance Farmer and Bryan Thornton, all members of the Class of 1964. Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen Scott placed several historical items into a time capsule to be buried at the site of the new building. Student Government Association President Katie Layton also placed items in the time capsule, including a flashdrive with photos of current students. She and other members of the SGA made a pledge to return in 50 years when the capsule is opened.
The ceremony included a special presentation from Wake Tech Fine Arts student Marlene Proteau, who had created pen and ink drawings of several Wake Tech buildings. Representatives of Balfour Beatty, general contractor for the Montague Hall construction project, presented Dr. Scott with a pen crafted from the wood of an oak tree that previously stood on the building site. Entertainment was provided by the Wake Tech Inspirational Choir, under the direction of Rev. Ken Williams. After the event, students were treated to a Fall Festival in the parking lot behind Holding Hall.
In October of 1963, Wake Tech opened the doors of Holding Hall to 34 students enrolled in Automobile Mechanics, TV and Radio Repair, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, and Drafting. Another 270 students were in training programs at community sites, including Practical Nursing at Memorial Hospital (now WakeMed). Originally dedicated as the W.W. Holding Industrial Education Center, Wake Tech is now North Carolina’s largest community college.