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How a 2-year degree led to 30-year career

When Ivy Albertson of La Grange enrolled at Lenoir Community College in 1968, minimum wage was $1.60. Thankfully, her tuition was not that expensive.

“Tuition was less than $40,” Albertson said. “I headed to LCC soon after graduating from North Lenoir High School. There were only two buildings on the LCC campus at that time. Being a college student was my first taste of freedom. Even driving to school was a new thing for me, because I never did that in high school. My years at LCC were the first steps towards independence and adulthood.”

Albertson initially signed up for the college transfer program but changed her mind after her first year.

“I decided the court reporting/stenography program was a better fit for me,” Albertson said. “At that time there was a high demand for court reporters and stenographers. It was monetarily advantageous occupation. There were probably 16 or 17 of us that enrolled in that 2-year program.”

Albertson was not only a student in the court reporting/stenography program, a photo of her was featured on the official pamphlet distributed by LCC to promote the program.

One week after graduating from LCC, Albertson began working for the Division of Veterans Affairs in 1971 and continued to do so for the next 30 years.

“Other than putting in tobacco, my first real job was the one I started straight out of LCC at the Division of Veterans Affairs,” Albertson said. “Once graduation was in sight, our stenography teacher Vivian Brock arranged for representatives from the Employment Security Commission speak to us, so when I graduated I had a job waiting for me.”

Albertson started her career at the Division of Veterans Affairs in Kinston when the Vietnam War was still ongoing. She said during that time anywhere from 50 to 70 veterans per day would come to their office seeking assistance.

“Ours was a district office that covered seven counties,” Albertson said. “We received computers for the first time four years before I retired in 2001. To this day, there are veterans and dependents of veterans that still call me for advice. It’s rewarding and humbling to know I had a part in helping those who served our country receive their benefits.”

When Albertson retired, she was with awarded The Order of The Long Leaf Pine by Governor Michael F. Easley. In 1999 Albertson received the NC Department of Administration Award For Excellence.

“I loved my job and I’m very proud and appreciative of the education I received at Lenoir Community College,” Albertson said.

Albertson believes any high school student seeking higher education should consider LCC.

“Depending on your level of maturity and financial situation, LCC could be the greatest option there is,” Albertson said. “I had a great experience out there. The teachers and administration were fantastic and it did not cost an arm and a leg. I was able to sustain a 30-year career with my 2-year degree from LCC, so it’s definitely worth investigating.”

Editor’s note: This perspective was first published on the Lenoir Community College website. It has been posted with the author’s permission.

Jon Dawson

Neuse News writer/columnist Jon Dawson has been a media fixture in Eastern North Carolina for over a decade. Winner of 11 North Carolina Press Association Awards, Jon’s humor and music columns have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. He has written two books and is a member of the band Third Of Never, which also features Who keyboardist John Bundrick. Jon lives in his hometown of La Grange, NC with his wife, two daughters and one dog.