After 28 years at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, including the last five as president, Dennis King retired in January 2020. Prior to retiring, he was named President of the Year by the State Board of Community Colleges. EdNC sat down with him in January to reflect on his career.
King was most proud of A-B Tech’s RISE program, which stands for Respect, Integrity, and Support for Everyone. RISE focuses on creating a welcoming culture for both the students and staff members.
“Like so many schools,” King said, “we weren’t paying as much attention as we should to those first semester freshmen who come in here not knowing anything about what they want to do … We want to make sure that everybody gets the education they want.”
King also shared his thoughts about the future of the community college system in North Carolina.
“There has been talk for years about consolidation. I hope we don’t do that. I hope we leave the colleges where they are and let them serve their people. If you force somebody to go from some rural community to drive 50 to 70 miles to get an education at an A-B Tech, will that person do it? I’m afraid that the answer is no.”
King said the future at A-B Tech is bright, however.
“A community college is just that. Its dependence is on the vibrance of the community. We’re in a very fortunate situation here being in Asheville, North Carolina, which is a place where many, many people, many, many industries want to relocate. So our future is very bright here.”