50 for 50

Harlan McCaskill – Helping many while he’s traveled along

Harlan MCCaskill

Few people in life have seen as monumental of transformations as Harlan McCaskill did in his years as the first Dean of Continuing Education at Sandhills Community College. “We would have people come to the college with a fourth or fifth grade education and enroll in basic education courses, go on to get their GED, then end up enrolling in college classes and earn an associate’s degree, all at Sandhills,” Mr. McCaskill recalls. “That’s overwhelming to witness.”

Mr. McCaskill arrived at Sandhills in 1966 as a Learning Lab Coordinator.

“The first day on the job was moving day,” he remembers with a chuckle. “We boxed up supplies and equipment and moved from downtown in the Cato Building to Meyer Hall on Sandhills’ new campus.”

Mr. McCaskill served as Director of Evening Programs. In 1972 he became Dean of Continuing Education, serving until 1993. “Those early years our department served a few hundred students a year. When I retired, we were serving 10,000 students a year,” he reports.

Continuing Education serves students from all walks of life, Mr. McCaskill points out. “That includes people struggling to get new training or find a new career, those who need to become computer literate, people wanting cultural enrichment and so many others,” he says.

When Mr. McCaskill retired, he said he “wanted no rocking chair” as a gift. Instead, relatives and friends established the C. Harlan McCaskill Scholarship, an endowment he continues to help fund.

In 1996, the college honored Mr. McCaskill with the dedication of the C. Harlan McCaskill Center for Community Services Education.

“My philosophy has always been in the lyrics of the song, ‘If I can help somebody as I travel along, my living shall not be in vain,’” Mr. McCaskill says. “I loved every day at Sandhills.”


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