Craven Community College traces its beginning to the early 1960s, when the Lenoir Industrial Education Center (now Lenoir Community College) in Kinston began offering adult education classes in Craven County. The first two classes offered were blueprint reading and electronics.
By 1963, Lenoir Community College was offering continuing education classes at public schools throughout Craven County. That same year, the first nursing students began taking classes at the old St. Luke’s Hospital in downtown New Bern.
On July 1, 1965, the N.C. General Assembly officially created the Craven Industrial Education unit as an extension of Lenior Community College (LCC). The unit’s headquarters was moved to the Harvey Mansion in downtown New Bern. The temporary quarters provided space for classrooms and a learning lab, while a machine shop was set up in the former Leona Tolson School in the Croatan community.
In 1967, Craven County voters approved a $5.5 million bond referendum that included $500,000 for a new technical institute. On a date now commemorated as Craven Community College Founders’ Day, April 23, 1968, Craven County Technical Institute became an official independent institution of the North Carolina Community College System with the first meeting of the newly constituted Board of Trustees. Within a few months, the new college has purchased 100 acres off Racetrack Road for its permanent campus.
In April 1971, the college moved to its permanent campus off College Court in New Bern. Two campus buildings were in place, and the college had an enrollment of 350 curriculum students and 384 continuing education students. That December, Craven received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Today, Craven Community College has campuses in New Bern and Havelock-Cherry Point. The New Bern campus consists of nine buildings. The Havelock-Cherry Point campus, which was opened in January 2004, is located off Cunningham Boulevard. It consists of three buildings, including the Institute of Aeronautical Technology.
Dr. Thurman Brock, who saw the college through its initial development, served as Craven’s president until 1989, when he was succeeded by Dr. Steve Redd.
Redd was succeeded by Dr. Scott Ralls in 2002. He served as Craven’s president until 2007, when he was selected to lead the 58-institution N.C. Community College System.
Ralls was succeeded by Dr. Catherine Chew, who began at the college Oct. 1, 2008. Chew retired in 2015.
Chew was succeeded by Dr. Ray Staats, who joined as the college’s fifth president on July 20, 2015.
Today, Craven serves approximately 3,200 curriculum students per semester and around 10,000 continuing education students each year. Our mascot is the panther, and our colors are blue and green.