TRUSTEES NAME CAMPUS BUILDING IN HONOR OF LONGTIME GTCC ADVOCATE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 21, 2016
JAMESTOWN, N.C. — The Guilford Technical Community College Board of Trustees today named one of its High Point Campus buildings in honor of Charles A. Greene, a longtime supporter and advocate of GTCC. The H5 building, which houses classrooms and computer labs, will now be called the Charles A. Greene Building. GTCC Board Chair Jarvis Harris made the announcement during today’s trustees meeting.
“Almost 30 years ago, GTCC captured Charlie’s heart, but he also captured ours. As a respected leader in the community and a beloved friend of the college, we thank him for all he’s done to make this institution great,” Harris said. “Charlie’s involvement and dedication to GTCC has made a huge difference in the lives of our students and the future of this institution. We value his countless contributions, his generous time and dedication, and his steadfast passion for education.
“He has been a role model to me as a board chair, and I am sure to other board members as well. Being a part of this naming opportunity for Charlie is one of the highlights of my time with GTCC.”
Overcome with emotion, Greene addressed a roomful of close friends, family and colleagues, who gathered to celebrate Greene’s recognition.
“I did not expect this,” said Greene, pausing to regain his composure. “I am very humbled, beyond humbled. … The property that we stand on did not belong to GTCC when I started. The building we’re in was not thought of when I started. The idea of a community college campus in High Point was a dream when I started.”
Chuck Greene, one of Charlie Greene’s three children, said that growing up, his father emphasized the importance of receiving as much education as possible. Getting involved with GTCC gave his father an opportunity to expand his passion for education and work for greater educational outcomes for thousands of people in the community.
“It is flattering to see our father recognized in this way by an institution that has been such a big part of his life,” Chuck Greene said. “Given his personal journey and its relationship to education, coupled with his passion for giving young people opportunities beyond their own expectations, the naming of this facility in honor of Charlie Greene will hopefully inspire future generations to work towards their personal success, and that of the college.”
Greene, a long-standing GTCC trustee, served the college for 25 years (1987-2012), including two terms as board chair (1992-1995 and 1998-2001). During that time, Greene served 17 years on the board’s Facilities Committee, including nine years as committee chair. He is the second-longest-serving board member in the history of the college. (Percy H. Sears has served the longest at 32 years.) Today, Greene continues to serve as a member of the GTCC Foundation Board of Directors, which he has been a part of for more than 20 years, including two terms as vice president.
During Greene’s tenure, he committed countless hours to approving institutional policies, programs, bond referendums and new facilities during a time of significant change and growth at the college. While serving on the board, Greene was involved in major construction projects including the Greensboro Campus (2005) and the Larry Gatlin School of Entertainment Technology (2004). At the Larry Gatlin School’s grand opening celebration, Greene spoke of the college’s vision, which captured his heart for a quarter of a century:
“Don’t look at the buildings. Look at what comes out of the buildings. Look at the students, whether they are 60 or whether they are 20. They come here because they want to. They come here for a second chance. The facility is great, and we hope it entices them through the doors, but what comes out, that is the future.”
A native of Orange, N.J., Greene is one of seven children in an Irish immigrant family. He left high school to join the Air Force and obtained a GED in the service as well as training in electronics and computers. Fate and the Air Force assigned him to work on a new electronics program in North Carolina, which became his forever home for his wife, Christine, and their three children. By 1972, he had started Classic Gallery, a high-end upholstered furniture manufacturing business, and went on to have a thriving career in the industry.
When Greene joined the GTCC Board in 1987, he was an acclaimed civic leader in High Point and Guilford County. A year later, he would be summoned to chair the United Way of Greater High Point’s campaign. By that time, GTCC had grown from 50 students in 1958 to 34,864 (1988-89). The facilities had expanded from a store front in High Point and a campus in Jamestown, to three locations in Greensboro and one in High Point with instruction available at more than 200 locations throughout Guilford County.
“My father has always been interested in helping young people reach their potential, both because achievement helps those who experience it, and because success breeds self-confidence and productivity that is good for the economy and the community,” Chuck Greene said. “GTCC offered an ideal opportunity to put this passion into action.”
Greene’s passion and service to the community was recognized in 1990 when the High Point Enterprise named Greene High Point’s Citizen of the Year. The article quoted Dr. Thomas Haggai, 1983 Citizen of the year, saying “The hope of the city is people like Charlie Greene,” and James H. Millis, 1967 Citizen of the Year, remarked: “He is one of the most unselfish citizens in High Point I’ve ever known, unselfish with his time and his leadership and generous with his gifts.”
Coy O. Williard, Jr., past chair and current member of the GTCC Board of Trustees, grew to know Greene well during their time together on the board and is thankful for Greene’s knowledge and friendship.
“I joined the GTCC board in 2003 and was assigned a seat next to Charlie Greene – luck was on my side,” Williard said. “Charlie was a great influence in my understanding the workings of GTCC and how the board interacted to make GTCC a superior community college. I will always be grateful for my time with GTCC and the knowledge imparted to me by Charlie – a mentor and a friend.”
In 2005, on behalf of Governor Mike Easley, State Senator Kay Hagan presented the Order of The Longleaf Pine to Greene in 2005. This is the highest honor the state awards to a citizen for public service.
Guilford Technical Community College is the fourth largest of 58 institutions in the NC Community College System. GTCC serves more than 40,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at www.gtcc.edu.