The Board of Trustees of Wayne Community College has bestowed the title of Trustee Emeritus posthumously on Keith Stewart.
Stewart served on the board from July 1993 until his death in June 2021.
The announcement was made during a board dinner this past Tuesday (May 24) to which all of Stewart’s immediate family and his siblings’ families were invited.
Board Vice Chair Veda McNair, who became a trustee in 2005, reflected on her service with Stewart, who she called, “not only my colleague, but also my friend.”
“I feel he certainly exemplified what this award represents, those who make significant contributions to the establishment, development, or enhancement of the community college system,” McNair said. “He was certainly one who kept our board focused on its responsibilities and was always that sobering influence on any issue that arose.”
Board Chair Geoff Hulse presented Stewart’s widow, Lynda, with a sculpture of a bison, the college’s mascot.
Hulse also read a board resolution that noted that Stewart “diligently and joyfully served in every capacity assigned to him or for which he was elected by his peers, from membership on standing board committees to chairman of the board.”
The resolution also said that “he will be remembered by those who had the pleasure of working with him for his insightful questions and eagerness to understand so he could be of more value; his obvious enjoyment of a quip, amusing story, or humorous situation; his humbleness; and his dedication to lifting others.”
Lynda Stewart expressed her family’s appreciation for the honor and said, “Keith loved serving on this board. He did a lot of things – a LOT of things – but this was one of his most cherished.”
“His love for this place and what it means is truly something,” son Les Stewart reiterated. “We had talked about the college’s mission and how important it was.”
“I love this place,” Stewart had said upon his reappointment in 2019. “Over the years, I have served with some wonderful presidents and board members and met some amazing staff.”
“I have some insight into things that have occurred and not occurred and why,” Stewart said of his tenure. “What little part I have had in bringing positive outcomes to Wayne Community was well worth it.”
Stewart said that he never tired of serving on the WCC board. “It continues to be a learning process,” he said. He also said that he was inspired by his father, Jesse, who served as a trustee from 1968-1972.
County commissions and boards of education within each institution’s service area, plus the governor, each appoint four trustees to the Board of Trustees of each of the 58 community colleges in the state. Stewart was appointed by the Wayne County Board of Education.
WCC’s criteria for trustee emeritus are eight or more years of service as a trustee before leaving that post, leadership on the board, involvement in community activities, and support for the mission, programs and constituents of the college.
Monroe Best, W. Powell Bland, Nancy W. Chase, Tommy Cox, Sam Hocutt Sr., Tommy Jarrett, Ralph Jinnette, Bobby Rex Kornegay, Richard B. Moffatt, E. Demming Smith, Hal Tanner Sr., and George E. Wilson, and Gwyndella Wilson were previously named WCC trustees emeritus.
Plaques bearing the names of each trustee emeritus are displayed outside the boardroom at college. Trustees emeritus are listed with current trustees in college publications and are invited to college events.
Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, the college serves around 10,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 165 college credit programs. WCC’s mission is to meet the educational, training, and cultural needs of the communities it serves.