Wilson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System. Established in 1958 as Wilson Industrial Education Center, it is one of the system’s oldest institutions. From its inception, it has offered quality education to those who have enrolled in its programs. The first classes began September 29, 1958 in the Coon High School Annex. Construction began on the first building on the current site in 1958. In 1964, the State Board of Education granted authority to award the Associate in Applied Science Degree and the school name was changed to Wilson County Technical Institute.
As enrollment increased, alterations were made and an automotive shop and a welding classroom-laboratory building were completed. In 1969, both enrollment and staff increased as the Institute responded to the demand for technical education. During the same year, the Institute was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Grants totaling $1 million were received and Buildings J and D were occupied in 1970. In 1971, following the death of the Institute’s first president, Salvatore DelMastro, Dr. Ernest B. Parry was appointed president. He served until his retirement in July 1982 when Dr. Frank L. Eagles was appointed president. Dr. Eagles served as president until his retirement in September 2003 when Dr. Rusty Stephens became the fourth president of the College.
From 1971 to the present, Wilson Community College has received federal and state grants enabling it to provide additional services such as a program for counseling and tutoring disadvantaged and academically deprived students, a program for the “hardcore” unemployed, classroom training in Adult Basic Education, and a method of upgrading the Heavy Equipment program.
During the period 1977-1978, Buildings G and L were built. Building G made possible significant improvements in both student life and the educational program. Included in the structure are a student lounge complex, bookstore, classrooms, labs and faculty offices. Building L provides an environment for instruction in the repair of diesel powered vehicles. An administrative and classroom building, Building B, connecting existing Buildings A and C, was built in the spring of 1986. Building K, which contains sewing and crafts and facilities for the pottery/ceramics classes, was opened in 1989. In 1997, the Salvatore DelMastro auditorium was completed (Building E) allowing the old auditorium to be converted to additional library facilities. Building M, completed in 2000, is a welding facility, and in 2003 the new Frank L. Eagles Community Business Center addition to Building G was completed, adding much needed meeting rooms and classrooms to the College facilities.
The name was officially changed to Wilson Technical Community College in 1989. In 1993, the Department of Community Colleges granted the College the authority to award the Associate in Arts degree. The courses required for this degree parallel the first two years of those offered by four-year colleges and universities. In 1997, the College converted from the quarter system to the semester system. This change was made in the entire North Carolina Community College System to enhance the transferability of students to four-year institutions.
Since 1997, the College has experienced extraordinary student growth and continues to serve as a major source of education and training for the workforce in Wilson County. In 2007, the official name of the College was changed to Wilson Community College. In 2008, the College celebrated its 50th year of serving the Wilson community, and opened a new student center. This new building has set the pace for a new direction for the College as it strives to be a leader in the use of environmentally friendly technologies and sustainable programs.
In 2015, Dr. Tim Wright became the fifth president of Wilson Community College. The College continues to expand programs, facilities, and services, to meet the needs of the community.
In 2018, the College celebrated its 60th year, and in March 2019, the community was welcomed to the newly-renovated Lee Technology Center Open House. The Lee Technology Center campus hosts the Applied Engineering and Automotive Systems Technologies programs. Future renovations are currently being planned on both the Herring Avenue and Lee Technology Center campuses, as well as new programs to meet the needs of the Wilson community.