HAMLET - Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College (RCC), reacted in complete shock as members of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce stormed his office to present him the Citizen of the Year award.
McInnis was stunned into silence for the first five minutes after Emily Tucker, president of the chamber, led a group of a dozen people to his office to surprise him with the award.
“This is very flattering,” McInnis said. “But I’m really just doing my job trying to help the college and community.”
Dr. Masoud Ahdieh, member of the chamber and 2012 recipient, laughed at McInnis’ initial reaction.
“At least they are nicer to you than they were to me,” Ahdieh said. “They told me they were coming to arrest me. But in all honesty you are receiving this award because you are doing above and beyond your job.”
McInnis has resided in North Carolina all his life and was raised on a farm in Richmond County. He is a 1984 graduate from Richmond Senior High School and received his doctorate in higher education administration from North Carolina State University.
McInnis joined the team at RCC in 2002 where he served the college to the best of his ability. He became the seventh president at RCC in 2010.
He has served on the board of directors for the chamber as well as the board for Richmond County United Way, Richmond County social services and is part of the RCC foundation.
All McInnis could do was smile as he hugged each individual in the room.
“How on earth did you even keep this quiet,” McInnis said. “All I can say is ‘thank you.’”
McInnis is the 28th recipient of the award, which has been awarded annually since it was first given to L.G. Dewitt in September of 1985.
Nominations are submitted and a selection committee works through the nominations before selecting one individual. It is presented by the chamber to a resident that has contributed to the community significantly within the course of the year or throughout their lifetime as a resident. The award is recognized as the chamber’s highest honor.
The chamber will honor Dale McInnis at its annual meeting and recognition night scheduled for Jan. 23. Arrival and seating will begin at 6 p.m. with a business meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. and a celebration starting at 7:30 p.m.
The event is open to the public. Tickets are on sale now at the chamber for $40 per person. Sponsorships are also available by calling the chamber at 910-895-9058.