Program Report: Durham Tech – Bill Ingram and Constanza Gomez-Joines

Durham Tech’s Center for the Global Learner

DurTechwebWith lunch imports straight from “Q-Shack,” the smoked goodies were as local as it gets.  But our featured speaker dished out food for thought with international flavor during our club’s off-site meeting Monday hosted by Durham Technical Community College.

Constanza (Connie) Gomez-Joines shared an exciting international growth story now underway at the Center for the Global Learner, which she heads as its executive director.   Her leadership position at the center seems entirely appropriate for a hard-charging Peruvian-born native of Argentina who called multiple nations home before joining Durham Tech in the 1990’s as a language instructor.

In short, the center wants students to up their games.  It wants graduates to be “engaged global citizens.” And it is offering multiple programs and activities to build their ability to compete in a 21st-Century global marketplace populated by international peers.

Students have to understand “the global aspects of what they do,” explained Dr. Bill Ingram, president of Durham Tech, president-elect of our club, and luncheon host at the Phail Wynn Center.  Ingram said the school is combining the traditional mission of community colleges with the realities of globalization and technology linking the community and the workplace.

As part of that mission, the Center for the Global Learner is recruiting foreign students to participate side-by-side with local students for mutual benefit.  Gomez-Joines said more than 500 international students from Kenya, Nigeria, India, China, Mexico, Liberia, Ethiopia, Philippines, El Salvador, Ghana, Brazil, Myanmar and other nations are involved.

The forward agenda is gigantic:  Recruiting international students. Building strategic partnerships with business, industry, non-profits, governments and other institutional partners. Harvesting grants. And refining the school’s central administration of programming and activities to provide an efficient focal point for Durham Tech’s global side.

So far, so good:

The center’s program to teach English as a second language served more than 1,700 students from 78 nations in 2012-2013.  Its program to prepare students for careers in translations nearly doubled from 13 in 2012 to 24 in 2013.  It received one of only 10 grants nationally from the National Center for Family Literacy and the Metlife Foundation for its “Parent Academy” to foster better parenting.  It is partnering with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke.  It recently hosted 32 Japanese students for English immersion studies.

Looking ahead, the center is competing to sustain growth with, yes, a distinctively international flavor.

BillIngramwebAnd we’ll look forward to an update in the future, even with distinctively local cuisine.  Many thanks to President-elect Bill for hosting.

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)

Nicholas B. Fagan Award – Lois Cranford

Below is a copy of the proclamation that was awarded to Lois Cranford with the Nicholas B. Fagan Award.




Durham, North Carolina

District 7710


WHEREAS, LOIS RIBELIN CRANFORD and her late husband H.C. CRANFORD JR. were longtime and devoted members of the Durham Rotary Club, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD began her involvement with the club more than 60 years ago as an involved and dedicated Rotary partner during her husband’s many years as a member,  committee chairman, president, and district governor of Rotary, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD was made an honorary member of the Durham Rotary Club by unanimous election by the Board in1989, and has been a Paul Harris Fellow for decades, and

WHEREAS, LOIS AND H.C. CRANFORD enjoyed participating in Rotary activities beyond the Club level, attending District Conferences and meetings, participating in Friendship Exchanges, and traveling to many Rotary International conventions with friends from District 7710 on trips they organized and directed, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD over the years became the unofficial new member historian and trainer of Durham Rotary, welcoming hundreds of new members to this club and encouraging them to discover the joy of active Rotary membership as she and H.C. had, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD began and independently ran an annual Poinsettia Sale as a fundraiser for the Club’s scholarship program, raising significant funds over the past 15 years for deserving young people, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD was always enthusiastic about joining other Durham Rotarians in projects over the years, particularly hosting Group Study Exchange visitors, packing meals at Stop Hunger Now events, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, serving as a classroom volunteer for Y.E. Smith Elementary School, and providing wonderful fried chicken and pimento cheese sandwiches for Rotary construction crews building homes through Habitat for Humanity, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD provided visionary leadership to many other nonprofits in the area, including the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Family Counseling Service, the Watts Hospital/Durham Regional Hospital Auxiliary, the Volunteer Center of Durham, the Pines of Carolina Girl Scout Council, Durham United Way, the Coalition for Battered Women, and many other causes benefitting the citizens of this area, and

WHEREAS, LOIS CRANFORD’s favorite activities were always the personal ones that largely went unnoticed, such as simply providing the ride that enabled a child to attend her Girl Scout meetings, buying a bike for a youngster at Christmas, taking frozen turkeys to area shelters at Thanksgiving, convincing her friends to join her in sponsoring a Share Your Christmas family for the holidays, or taking a new Habitat homeowner a trunk full of items after the house was dedicated, all while being a devoted grandmother to her own nine grandchildren, and

WHEREAS, LOIS AND H.C. CRANFORD always tried to live and raise their daughters, Durham Rotary Past-President Susan Ross and Kathryn Raby of Charlotte, by the ideals of Rotary’s Four Way Test — truth, fairness, good will, better friendships, and benefit to all — as well as a commitment to “Service Above Self,”

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT LOIS RIBELIN CRANFORD is awarded the Nichols B. Fagan Award for outstanding service to the Durham Rotary Club.

SIGNED, this, the ____ day of May, 2013.






Upcoming Rotary Program Schedule

JUNE 03, 2013            DR. BILL INGRAM, PRESIDENT

Durham Technical Community College

NOTE! OffSite Meeting @ Durham Technical Community College

1637 East Lawson Street

                        Durham, North Carolina 27703



Introduction: Carver Weaver

Additional Information Re: 6/3/13 Meeting at Durham Tech Is Forthcoming In Separate Email

JUNE 10, 2013            DON STANGER, PRESIDENT

Rotary Club of Durham

Classification and Club Centennial Workshop

Introduction: Don Stanger


JUNE 17, 2013            JEFF POLISH

The Monti at Rotary

Introduction: Rob Everett


JUNE 24, 2013            DR. MITCH HEFLIN


Introduction: Ted Corvette


JULY 01, 2013            NO MEETING!!!

In Observance of the Fourth of July Holiday


Sharon Lassiter

Executive Secretary

Durham Rotary Club

Program Report: David Beischer – Croasdaile

GeorgeB2Boy, you know you’re getting old when you find yourself listening to presentations about the history of something and you knew some of the people involved.

Rob Everett introduced David Beischer, the genial 4th generation developer of the upscale Croasdaile neighborhood just north of I-85 and Hillsborough Road. Mr. Beischer brought with him a slide show of pictures, plats and maps illustrating the history of the development.

Croasdaile was originally a dairy farm owned by John Sprunt Hill who was not only a benefactor to UNC but also the founder of Central Carolina Bank. When I came to Durham in 1984, his son George Watts Hill was still the Chairman of the Bank. He was active primarily with locating and building branches. As the marketing director, I got to ride along with him as he scouted locations in his old black Cadillac. I’m not a good passenger anyway, but this duty provided some of the most terrifying moments of my life as we rumbled along with only occasional attention to other traffic. Ron Perkins who now works with Seth Jernigan at Real Estate Associates was often cowering in the back seat while I was in the front gripping the dashboard. Mr. Hill’s sister, Frances Fox, the original developer of Croasdaile and David’s grandmother, was also on the bank board at the time along with his brother-in-law Peter DeBose. Many of the bank events where held at Croasdaile Country Club, not surprisingly.

Two things struck me about this presentation that I thought were as revealing as the presentation itself. The first was the fact that sometimes we forget that Durham was a pretty decent place to live even before Bill Kalkhof and Reyn Bowman got the revitalization of Downtown in gear and dragged the town’s image into reality. While David was discussing the next phase of the development he joked about how this was possible because things like DPAC had made it more difficult for Raleigh real estate agents to grab the physicians and faculty coming to Duke and steer them away from Durham. We can laugh about it now but it was a real problem just a few years ago. I recognized this as a local real estate agent myself and began a blog on Durham luxury real estate in an attempt to both promote Durham and break into that market. I was not successful at the latter and stopped posting a couple of years ago when the upscale market here died altogether with the recession. But there is still a pretty good recap of the history of Croasdaile that I wrote for the site with many of the details that David shared at this link:

The second impression came unsolicited from the audience in the form of an endorsement for the quality of life in Croasdaile from Ellen Reckhow, a long time resident and a request from Hutch Johnson for David to talk some about the Fox Family Foundation, which David now manages as well as the development company. Sherry DeVries chimed in with gratitude for their support of the Arts Council. Somewhat sheepishly, David shared that 80% of the Foundation’s grants, which he said were purposefully not focused, go to Durham institutions. All this underscores in a different way the impact his family continues to have on Durham.

My most memorable Croasdaile moment had nothing to do with real estate, David’s family, CCB or the Croasdaile Country Club. Back during my public relations career, an associate, who had been invited, dragged me along to the 70th birthday party of Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder at his home in Croasdaile. My associate told me later that Jimmy had cornered him and asked him who the hell I was and what the hell I was doing there. I don’t know what kind of story he told about me but both Jimmy and his family were as cordial as they could be and, I’ve got to tell you, they sure knew how to throw a party.

Upcoming Rotary Program Schedule


Cows To Condos: The History of Croasdaile Farm

Introduction: Rob Everett

MAY 27, 2013 NO MEETING!!!

In Observance of The Memorial Day Holiday

JUNE 03, 2013            DR. BILL INGRAM, PRESIDENT

Durham Technical Community College

NOTE! OffSite Meeting @ Durham Technical Community College

1637 East Lawson Street

                        Durham, North Carolina 27703



Introduction: TBD

Program Report: County Manager Mike Ruffin

MikeRuffinWebLong time County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow introduced County Manager, Mike Ruffin who is now in his 13th year on the job. The program was advertised to be about the newly opened Durham County Courthouse Building but Mike instead conducted a little seminar in county budget economics, apparently in preparation for a property tax increase that he will be requesting for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. As he put it, he’s going to have a lot of explaining to do.

After the meeting Mike was kind enough to give me his notes so I wouldn’t have to trust my not-so-good ears with the numbers that he shared. But the most impressive number that he shared then had nothing to do with his presentation. If, like me, you hadn’t seen Mike for a while until recently, you might have gotten that feeling that he looked familiar but you weren’t sure why. Like his approach to governing, this is a man who took the bull by the horns and lost well over 100 lbs to get to fighting weight for this budget session.

The General Fund Budget is expected to be over $348.4 M with a projected $203.4 M coming from the property tax, almost $58 M coming from the sales tax and $15.3 M coming from various service charges. Among the points Mike made is that tax revenues are growing much more slowly then they did just a few years ago while the demand for services had continued to grow at a steady pace because of the sluggish economy.  In fact, he made it clear that he has yet to see much evidence of an economic boom that he sees Brian Williams report on the evening news every night. Nevertheless, he noted, the County is in the best financial position in its history.

A good part of the presentation was about what he sees as the budget stressors: school funding, human services funding, and debt managemen
t. The debt management is largely the result of over a billion dollars of capital improvements completed over the last ten year period, including the new courthouse complex at $119M and the soon to be completed Human Services Building, which will come in at over $90M.

Perhaps the most interesting observation that he shared had to do with school funding. In a ten county comparison of “peer” counties in North Carolina, Durham is substantially higher at $3165 per student than any other county. He noted that if we could reduce that cost to the weighted average of those other counties we would need almost $40M less in tax revenues. Obviously that argues for careful planning and tight controls in the school system. But there is another factor too.

Mike may have been being kind when he noted that our education and social services costs were high because as a community we valued those things. Another hypothesis comes from the advertising advice for septic tank owners “pay me now or pay me later.” We’re now living in “later.” As we as a club get more involved in literacy programs it is clear that not only do we have a lot of poor people in Durham but some of the shortcuts of the past are now coming back to haunt us. Recall the story of Chris Williams from the Durham Literacy Center being “socially” promoted grade to grade without learning to read. We know that over 40% of our students struggle with literacy and there is only so much the schools can do without money, and strong community support. It is unlikely that anyone who has been tutoring over at YE Smith believes that the efforts there to create an elementary school model for Durham isn’t money well spent.

There was a question too about the need for the new courthouse complex. That too, may be part of the price for these same shortcuts. Let’s hope that this handsome building will facilitate more positive change.  We’ll also continue to need great leadership from Commissioners such as Ellen and managers such as Mike. Let’s hope the rumors of Mike’s retirement are just that…rumors.