In 1970, when 32-year old Jim Halstead was considering a position at Sandhills Community College, he really didn’t think it was for him. “But then I drove onto the campus and I knew this was a special place,” he recalls. “The beautiful physical appearance of the campus didn’t hurt either.”
Mr. Halstead accepted the position of Dean of Students, serving under President Raymond Stone and then under Dr. John R. Dempsey, who made Mr. Halstead the Vice President of Instruction in 1989.
“From the time I arrived, I have seen how this college makes a difference in people’s lives,” Mr. Halstead states. “So many people are given opportunities to put themselves on a new path, including recent high school grads who perhaps are struggling with what they want to do.
“Sandhills also serves middle age and older people who want to – or need to – change careers,” he continues. “Just recently I was talking with a mother, the wife of a military person. She’s in Sandhills’ nursing program. Think of how a nursing degree will change her life!”
In his illustrious career, Mr. Halstead has served at four schools of higher education. “But I’m the proudest of my years at Sandhills,” he says unhesitatingly. “I am proud of what this college has always been and of what it has become.”
When he retired, the college established the Jim Halstead Encouragement Award, awarded to a non-teaching staff member who has provided encouragement to others.
“I never wasted an opportunity to encourage students,” he says. “Many students come from less than privileged backgrounds. You never know what has brought the student to our campus but each person working to make their dream happen needs encouragement.”
Mr. Halstead was the Commencement Speaker in 1998, the year he retired. Does he remember what he told the students in his address? “No, and neither do the students,” he says with his usual humor.
-Original Source “50/50” 2012