50 for 50

Dr. Donny Hunter – Proving the Power of a Sandhills’ Start

Dr. Donny Hunter

In 1968, young Donny Hunter had been out of high school for a year and admits he was just “messing around,” figuring he was destined for a lifelong job at a textile mill. After a frank talk from his former high school coach about his future, Donny wandered onto the campus of Sandhills Community College but was looking for an excuse to leave.

“Can I help you?” said a friendly staff member passing by.

She took him to the Admissions office and soon Donny was enrolled. It was no surprise to him when Sandhills’ Math courses were too difficult for him. “But Sandhills got me the tutoring I needed to be able to take even remedial math to prepare me for regular math. Do you believe a kid like that ended up getting a Ph.D., with most of the courses being in math!”

Sandhills did indeed set the young man on a path to success. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Campbell University, a master’s degree and Educational Specialist Degree from East Carolina University and a doctorate in Educational Research and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Hunter’s public career includes service as a teacher, principal, superintendent and consultant. He is now president and CEO of the North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees and president of National Search & Education Consulting.

In addition to being Sandhills’ Alumni of the Year (2002), Dr. Hunter was named the North Carolina Superintendent of the Year in 1994 and received the highest civilian award given for service to North Carolina when the governor inducted him into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2002.

“But it all started at Sandhills Community College, a place where my life got redirected,” he says. “The only institution in this country that breaks the cycle of poverty is a community college and I know of none better than Sandhills. I am forever grateful.”


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