Dr. Michael S. Helmick Retires from WPCC


Photo of Michael Helmick

Dr. Michael S. Helmick

Dr. Michael S. Helmick celebrated his retirement as President of Western Piedmont Community College with the College Trustees on Monday, June 29, 2020.  Helmick stated “It has been a pleasure to serve as the sixth President of Western Piedmont Community College for nearly six years. There is no finer community college system than the North Carolina Community College System and no finer college in the state than WPCC.”

Prior to stepping into the role of President, Helmick served four years as Vice President of Academic Affairs.  Helmick then served as President at Rockingham Community College before returning to Western Piedmont in 2014.  During Helmick’s tenure as President, the college built facilities for new programs in mechatronics and cosmetology; renovated facilities for Burke Middle College, the library and café in Phifer Hall, and the seminar room in Moore Hall; grew Career and College Promise (CCP) programs for high school students; deepened collaborative relationships with Burke County Public Schools, Catawba Valley Community College, the North Carolina School of Science and Math, and Burke Development Incorporated’s Work in Burke Initiative; and always focused on doing what was best for students.

Helmick shared that “It has been a challenging six years as the college has recovered from the downturn in the economy and fought successfully to stabilize enrollment while providing outstanding programming. Now, with the Covid-19 crisis overshadowing all the good work the college does, and causing more uncertainty about the future, we continue to adapt to an ever-changing world. My wish for the future of WPCC is for continued growth and the ability to serve the community.”

In appreciation for his service to the college and to the community, the Trustees announced to Helmick on Monday that they will be naming the recently renovated seminar room in Moore Hall to the Michael S. Helmick Seminar Room.  Scott Mulwee, Trustee Chair, stated that it has been an honor and a privilege to work with Dr. Helmick.  “Dr. Helmick is an excellent communicator who kept the Trustees informed of matters arising in community colleges, built strong relationships with numerous community partners, and maintained a student-centered focus” said Mulwee.

Helmick stated “I want to thank the Trustees, the faculty, the staff and the students for all of their hard work and for their support of me as President. I look forward to seeing the college grow as it continues to serve our region with outstanding educational programming.”

Bill Lennon, Trustee, concluded by saying “Previously, another Trustee noted that Dr. Helmick was the right person at the right time to lead Western Piedmont to the next level.  I couldn’t agree more.  He was always accessible, led with humility, and positioned the college to continue advancing in the coming years.”

For more on Dr. Helmick’s reflections on his 30 year career in education and his thoughts on the future of Western Piedmont Community College view  his exit interview with Awake 58.

Photo of the WPCC Trustees with Dr. Michael Helmick at his retirement ceremony on June 29, 2020.

Western Piedmont Community College Trustees celebrate Dr. Michael S. Helmick’s retirement.  From left:  Dr. Dan W. Dehart, Tea Yang, Kimberly B. Kling, Rod Harrelson, Dr. Michael S. Helmick, R. Scott Mulwee, Malone McNeely, and William E. Lennon. Not pictured are Trustees Jonathan M. Mercer, Amy J. Kincaid, O. Lamar Smitherman, Bruce A. Hawkins, Sr., and Ronald M. Thompson