On January 25, 2022, Dr. Michael Williams, chairman of the Halifax Community College Board of Trustees, announced that it was with great sympathy that Dr. Michael Anthony Elam, president of HCC passed away.
Dr. Elam took over the reins as president of HCC in Weldon, North Carolina, on February 1, 2017.
Under his administration, the second access road to HCC’s campus was completed, he created the Above and Beyond Employee Awards, established the Medical Laboratory Technology agreement with Winston-Salem State University, signed a joint admissions agreement with East Carolina University, signed a guaranteed admissions agreement with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and developed the Progressive Community Awards program that highlighted outstanding community work in the Roanoke Valley.
He began the food pantry on campus, HCC was re-accredited by SACSCOC with no recommendations for 2021-2031, led the HCC Administration in relocating Northampton County Early College to HCC’s campus and established the Roanoke Rapids High School Early College and the Halifax County Early College.
Dr. Elam was instrumental in managing the Connect NC Bond projects that totaled $6.5 million dollars.
He was able to lead HCC to secure the United States Economic Development Administration grant of $2 million dollars to match the $3.8 million of the Connect NC Bond funds to build a new state of the art Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Training Center which held its grand opening on September 13, 2021.
The Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Training Center houses programs in Automotive Systems Technology, Welding Systems Technology, Industrial Systems Technology, a corporate training center, two large classrooms, two conference rooms, and a maker space.
Dr. Elam also acquired the following grants: Golden Leaf Grant for Community Education Centers, CCAMPUS Child Care Grant, WIOA Grant, the HP2 Technical Assistant EPA Grant, NC Finish Line Grant, and ECMC Student Emergency Grant, all totaling $1,384,000.
During the last NC General Assembly session, Dr. Elam lobbied to secure $7.3 million dollars in a special capital allotment to fund HCC’s water loop project and other renovations on campus.
Dr. Elam served the Roanoke Valley Community by playing an integral part in promoting community activities that impacted the lives of others.
He partnered with Rural Health Group, Inc. to establish a clinical site on campus for students, staff, and the community patrons. He also opened HCC’s Campus to the Halifax County Health Department and community partners for the COVID-19 vaccination clinics; partnered with the Northampton County Branch of the NAACP to host Operation Restore Hope, a clinic that gave guidance on record expunction.
Dr. Elam established the Roanoke River Valley Robotics Tournament; served as an active board member for CADA; Halifax Horizons, Halifax County Economic Development Commission, Roanoke Valley Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Roanoke Rapids Graded School District AIG Advisory Council, and Weldon Healthy Places Healthy People (HP2) Steering Committee.
He served as treasurer of the Center for Energy Education, coordinator of the Rotary 4-Way Test Essay Contest with the Rotary of Roanoke Rapids; and was the Vice President of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Elam also partnered with Halifax County Schools and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to establish the Halifax Lighthouse Solar Camp which was NC’s First Clean Energy Youth Apprenticeship Pilot program. NC Governor Roy Cooper visited HCC and met with the 20 high school students who completed the program and earned a Solar Workforce Certificate along with three industry certifications.
Dr. Elam’s impact reached far beyond the Roanoke Valley service region to include his appointments to the American Association of Community Colleges Commission for Small and Rural Colleges, the Association of Community College Trustees President’s Advisory Council, the Board of Visitors at the Marine Corps University, and the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents where he co-chaired the Professional Development Committee for North Carolina Community College Presidents.
He was selected as Mentor for the North Carolina State University (NCSU) graduate students in the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program.
Shortly after Dr. Elam began as president, HCC was recognized by AACC as the “Best in the Nation” and recipient of the 2017 AACC Community College Safety, Planning, and Leadership Award of Excellence. In August 2019, HCC’s RN and LPN programs were recognized by Nursing Explorer for the best value programs in NC.
Dr. Elam was recognized and interviewed for the November 2021 Collection 1 Series of Trailblazer Profiles by the NCSU Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research for breaking glass ceilings many times in his career as a person of color who served as president of a community college.
During the interview, he stated “I began my career in higher education administration at the university level before transitioning to community college. I switched to focusing on community colleges because I saw the light. I determined from within that the community college mission was closer [than four-year colleges] to what I would call my missionary spirit.”
Dr. Elam has more than 38 years in community college leadership and was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserves as a recruiter for 15 years.
Dr. Elam always valued the quality time spent with his wife and family. Through the years, he enjoyed playing the trumpet, sharing his passion of music with others as a youth band director, his involvement in Christian family counseling, jogging, coaching track, taking his dog for daily walks, and singing tenor and baritone in the choir, especially with the Oak Grove PromiseLand Ministries choir in Littleton, NC, where he was a member.
Dr. Elam was born in Vance County, North Carolina and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and a Master of Education degree in Student Personnel Administration from Howard University. His educational doctorate was conferred by Nova Southeastern University in Educational Leadership, and he was a life member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Elam resided in Roanoke Rapids, NC with his wife Maxine Elam, and they shared two adult children and five grandchildren.