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RCC’s VP Patrena Benton Elliott named President of Halifax Community College

RCC’s Vice President of Instruction and Student Support Services is on the move and will be headed north as she assumes the role of president at Halifax Community College in January.

Halifax Community College is located in Weldon, a small town that is home to the historic Roanoke River. It is approximately a 2-and-a-half-hour drive north of Robeson Community College. The college is located within Halifax County, which shares a border with Virginia.

Dr. Elliott is no stranger to the area, she knows the region well, being that she is a native of Severn, a town located in neighboring Northampton County. 

“I am excited to return home,” Elliott said. “I feel honored to be chosen as Halifax Community College’s next President. I count it a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful institution; a college that I looked upon with wonder as a child. I am also so excited to have the chance to work with all stakeholders in advancing the work of the college and the greater community.”

The Board Chair at HCC issued a statement Friday stating, “Dr. Elliott is highly qualified for the position and has the unique qualities that will serve her and the college well as we enter the next chapter of Halifax Community College’s history.”

During her tenure at Robeson Community College, Dr. Elliott was part of the task force that saw the college through the COVID-19 pandemic and helped lead the college to new heights. She helped establish new degree programs, such as Medical Sonography, and formed lasting partnerships for the college. 

“I hope that my efforts in helping to grow enrollment, develop numerous academic degree programs, establish several industry and college partnerships… has helped to position RCC students to be one step closer towards their goal of degree and completion attainment,” Elliott said.

With a big move ahead, there are a few things that Dr. Elliott says she will miss dearly.

“I will miss the family atmosphere at RCC and all the support received in helping to promote and support student success.”

What else will she miss?

“My daughter!” Dr. Elliott exclaimed as she talked about her daughter Jordan. “As she prepares to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in about two weeks, she will continue to reside here in Lumberton and begin her career.”

Dr. Elliott also says she will miss the sense of community she has felt in Robeson County.

“Robeson County will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Elliott. “This community stands together and has a love and desire to educate and train a workforce that will continue to serve the county’s current and future needs.”

As she embarks upon a new journey in her life, she leaves some words of wisdom for students at Robeson Community College.

“I encourage all students to stay focused and to put forth the effort and know that despite any perceived barrier, you can accomplish your goals,” Elliott stated.

President Singler congratulated Dr. Elliott on her new appointment in an email to faculty and staff, and wished her well on her future endeavors. 

“Dr. Elliott will be greatly missed at Robeson Community College; however, I am thrilled to have her remain as a leader and as a colleague in the North Carolina Community College System,” stated RCC President Melissa Singler. “She will continue to make RCC proud, and we wish her all the best.”


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