About WCC

Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties and beyond.

Wilkes Community College enhances the quality of life through

  • quality education and workforce development, including basic skills, occupational, technical, and pre-baccalaureate programs;
  • economic development services to business and industry, both public and private; and
  • community development through a variety of services, cultural activities, and recreational opportunities.


The college’s vision is grounded in the statement of purpose and is guided by the institutional values of caring, collaboration, creativity, engagement, and responsibility.


Wilkes Community College provides programs, resources, and services that create quality educational, economic development, and cultural opportunities.

Wilkes Community College aspires to be an effective learner-centered educational institution and a dynamic learning organization.

In 1963, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Community College Act creating a system of comprehensive community colleges and technical institutes. In September 1964, the people of Wilkes County approved the establishment of a community college through a bond vote for the construction of facilities and a tax authorization for the operation of the college. Wilkes Community College was approved by the State Board of Education on October 1, 1964. 

The first board of trustees was sworn into office on January 15, 1965, and the name “Wilkes Community College” was officially adopted on that date. Dr. Howard E. Thompson, the college’s first president, served from March 5, 1965 to June 30, 1977. He was followed by Dr. David E. Daniel, July 1, 1977 to April 2, 1989; Dr. H. Edwin Beam, interim president, April 3, 1989 to July 16, 1989; Dr. James R. Randolph, July 17, 1989 to July 7, 1995; Dr. Swanson Richards, interim president, July 8, 1995 to February 29, 1996; Dr. Gordon G. Burns, Jr., March 3, 1996 to June 1, 2014; Morgan Francis, acting president, June 2, 2014 to June 30, 2014; and Dr. Jeffrey Alan Cox, the college’s current president who assumed duties on July 1, 2014. In 1990, the Board of Trustees was expanded to include two trustees from each of Alleghany (1974) and Ashe (1975) counties; making a total of 16 trustees plus the Student Government Association president, who serves in an ex-officio capacity. 

Wilkes Community College first offered apprenticeship training courses in September 1965. Part-time business technology programs began in December 1965. The first one-year diploma program, Practical Nurse Education, began on March 7, 1966. On September 15, 1966, students were admitted to full-time status in the Associate in Arts and Associate in Applied Science Degree programs. The college now offers 39+ degree programs, along with a range of continuing education and basic skills courses.  

Thompson, Hayes, and Lovette Halls, the first buildings on the Wilkes County campus on Collegiate Drive in Wilkesboro, were occupied on April 1, 1969. Since then, the college has expanded with more buildings for classrooms and offices. These include the Power Mechanics building, Randolph Hall/Bumgarner Gymnasium and Building 7 in 1978; the Industrial Classroom building in 1980; the Workforce Development and Community Education building, formerly Continuing Education building in 1981; and the John A. Walker Community Center, a convention and cultural arts complex, in 1984. Daniel Hall was added in 1989; the Doc and Merle Watson Theatre in 1990; the Beacon Building, purchased in 1994; WCC Alumni Hall, completed in 1998; the Horticulture Complex in 2005; and Lowe’s Hall, which was occupied in spring of 2007. An Automotive Technology Complex comprising two buildings, the McNeill Automotive Center and the Collision Repair Center, was dedicated in January 2014. The Tyson Foods Sustainable Animal Science Lab was dedicated in 2018. These facilities make up the current 18 buildings and 151.7 acres of the Wilkes campus. The Wilkes Early College, located in Randolph Hall, started in 2009. Herring Hall, located on Oakwoods Road, houses the health sciences programs and was dedicated in 2015. 

Mrs. Hilda Kendrick and Mrs. Nancy Church made a gift to Wilkes Community College to support the purchase and renovation of the Beacon Building. At the time of their donation, the building housed Allied Health programs, Dental Clinic, Early Childhood Education, and the WCC childcare facility. The building now houses workforce development and criminal justice programs. At the time of their donation, these ladies did not want attention, they wanted to work behind the scenes. It was after their passing that the college was able to honor them. A dedication ceremony for the Kendrick/Church Hall was held on March 12, 2019.   

The Stone Culinary Center, dedicated on August 27, 2018, includes a hot lab, cold lab, bake lab, library, office space, and a dining room that gives students restaurant-style practical experience in setup, preparation, and service of meals. 

The college also has a center in Alleghany County, which began offering continuing education courses in 1974 from its downtown Sparta location. The center began offering curriculum classes in 1983. Alleghany County remodeled the former Bassett Walker plant to co-house the Blue Ridge Business Development Center and the Alleghany Center of Wilkes Community College in 2003.  

The Blan Bottomley Welding, dedicated in June 2021, is a new 1,020 square foot, state-of-the-art facility, located adjacent to the WCC Alleghany Center.  The lab contains five welding booths, an ironworker, MIG, TIG and Stick welders, hand tools, safety equipment, worktable with vice, band saw, installed air compressor with retractable hoses, outdoor secured gas storage, a tool crib and much more. 

The Ashe Campus in Jefferson originally started offering CE classes in 1975, and curriculum courses in the late seventies through the local high schools. In 1985 a new facility was opened. The Ashe Campus was elevated to multi-campus status in 2008. The facility underwent renovations and additions in 1996 and 2005. The Ashe County Early College High School opened on the Ashe Campus in 2018. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 2019 for the expansion of the Ashe Campus which includes two additional buildings with a completion date of May 2021.

Wilkes Community College continues to provide an affordable, quality education. Serving our constituents in a variety of ways. Our priorities are to enhance lives through training and education building stronger communities for future generations. 

  • Wilkes Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Questions about the accreditation of Wilkes Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).
  • The Wilkes Community College Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Contact CAAHEP at 9355 – 113th St. N, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775, or call 727-210-2350 for questions.
  • The AAS Degree Respiratory Therapy program at Wilkes Community College located in Wilkesboro, NC,  program number 200544, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (COARC). Contact COARC at 264 Precision Blvd., Telford, TN 37690, or call 817-283-2835 for questions. Click here for programmatic outcomes data.
  • The Wilkes Community College Associate Degree Nursing program operates under the full approval of the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON). Contact NCBON at PO Box 2129, Raleigh, NC 27602-2129, or call 919-782-3211 for questions.
  • The Wilkes Community College Dental Assisting program has been granted the Accreditation Status of Approval with Reporting Requirements  by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Contact CODA at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1900, Chicago, IL 60611, or call 800-232-6108 for questions.
  • The Wilkes Community College Radiography program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Contact JRCERT at 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60606-3182; call 312-704-5300; or email mail@jrcert.org for questions.
  • The Wilkes Community College Automotive Systems Technology program is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Contact NATEF at 1503 Edwards Ferry Rd., NE Suite 401, Leesburg, VA 20176, or call 703-669-6650 for questions.
  • WCC Law Enforcement Training operates under the full approval of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Evaluations and Training Standards Commission and the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission. For questions, contact the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission at PO Box 149, Raleigh, NC 27602, or 919-661-5980; and/or the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission at PO Box 629, Raleigh, NC 27602, or 919-662-4515.
  • WCC Fire and Rescue Training programs are approved and accredited by the North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission. Contact North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission, Office of State Fire Marshall, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699, or call 800-634-7854 for questions.
  • WCC Emergency Services programs are approved and accredited by the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services. Contact the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services, 2707 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699, or call 919-855-3935 for questions.
  • The WCC Cosmetology programs operate under the full approval of the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Arts Examiners. Contact the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Arts Examiners at 1207 Front Street, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27609 for questions.
  • The WCC Paralegal Program is approved and certified by the NC State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification. Contact the NC State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification at PO Box 25908, Raleigh, NC 27611 for questions.


Title IX Information and Contacts

Equal Opportunity Institution

Wilkes Community College (WCC), in compliance with and as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations (“Title IX”) and other civil rights laws, as well as in furtherance of its own values as a higher education institution, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law in admission, treatment, or access to, or employment in, its programs and activities.

Title IX Information and Contacts