Gaston College president Patricia Skinner wins state of North Carolina's top community college award

Gaston Gazette March 31, 2011
Patricia Skinner’s parents never had access to the education they would have liked in their home country of Yugoslavia.

But after immigrating to the United States, they knew enough to teach their children what was most important.

“Neither my mom or dad had more than an eighth grade education,” said Skinner, a first-generation American and the president of Gaston College in Dallas for almost 17 years. “They came here and started a business, but my mom in particular was always encouraging my brothers and I that getting an education was the key to the American dream in this country. It was her passion.”

Skinner has spent the better part of her life trying to help others fulfill that goal, especially here in Gaston County. For her efforts, she has been named the winner of the N.C. Community College System’s Wells Fargo President of the Year Award.

It’s the highest honor a college president can receive from the state’s 58-member community college system. Skinner will be recognized during an April 14 ceremony in Raleigh, as well as during a drop-in reception from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the local college.
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