New Directors Bolster SCC Foundation

The foundation of Sampson Community College is, well, it’s Foundation. SCC has welcomed four new directors to its board and all have been eager to get on board and continue moving the college forward through student support, infrastructure and new projects on the drawing board.

The SCC Foundation has welcomed back Chuck Spell, a past President of the Foundation and past Trustee and Foundation Liaison, and an important advocate for the college on several current projects. Also joining the Foundation is Morgan Lee Moore, granddaughter-in-law of Lorraine Moore, who spent years on the board and pioneered many projects that have had a major impact on the college.

Jaime Bonilla, owner of the popular restaurant Mi Finca, has also joined the team, Bonilla earned his GED and Associate Degree from Sampson Community College before completing a Bachelor of Arts at ECU. Rounding out the group is the Rev. Thaddeus Godwin, a County Commissioner and well-known minister who was raised in Sampson County.

The SCC Foundation Board was established in 1987 as the first Foundation in Sampson County. The Foundation’s impact this year was significant with more than $317,000 going to student aid, and program support. In 2017, the Foundation committed to a capital campaign for a signature project, Develop the East, the greenspace community park space along Airport Road. The board is actively engaged in resource development, investment oversight, college advocacy, and partnership building.

The foundation runs four primary fundraising campaigns: Campus Drive, the Sampson Classic Golf tournament; the Phonathon; and Annual Giving. This year, the Foundation awarded more than $117,000 in scholarship and committed to fund the Sampson Promise, a tuition guarantee program for qualifying high school students.

“This is a very exciting time for the college,” says Spell. “The level of energy and motivation is very high among the staff and administration.  The facility updates, the new welding building, Develop the East project, campus improvements are making a huge difference in the college and the offerings for the students. The development of the Truck Driver Training location will greatly enhance that program that continues to be a huge success.”

Spell brings an industry perspective to SCC. Local industry utilizes many facets of the college, for prospective employees and training. Understanding those needs is vital for the college, so it can support where it is needed in the area. Board member Steve Stefanovich agrees. “It is with open arms that Chuck Spell is joining the Foundation Board,” he says. “He brings his leadership skills, and the highest level of integrity.  I am very proud of his accomplishments and his agreeing to serve again on the board.”

“Chuck has been instrumental in facilitating several workforce training initiatives for the college as a Foundation Director and as a Trustee,” Turlington added. “We are pleased to have him return to the Foundation Board as a voice of industry.”


Moore, Spell, Bonilla and Godwin joining forces for SCC.

Moore, who is the granddaughter-in law of SCC pioneer Lorraine Moore who recently passed away, says she is hoping to pick up where the elder Moore left off. “I am very excited for the opportunity to serve on the board with so many wonderful people who have made such a huge impact on our community,” says Moore. “My hope is that my farming experience will generate new innovative ideas for programs and classes to be instituted to better serve the agricultural community in Sampson County, as it is a vital sector of the economy in Eastern North Carolina. The future of our college is on the right track as we all work to attract local students and have them graduate and stay here as contributing members of our community.”

“It is exciting to add new voices and perspectives to the Foundation Board that will help us be more representative of the people we serve,” said Lisa Turlington, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Morgan brings a young farming professional’s outlook from the southern part of the county, and she continues a long legacy of support of the college by the Moore family.”

Bonilla is no stranger to the college or the community. He learned to speak English at SCC before graduating from SCC and opening his own restaurant here called Mi Finca. “I have been here since I arrived to the United States,” says Bonilla. “People not only at the college, but from the entire community have welcomed me and supported me with open arms from the start. Our main objective here is to raise funds to help with several projects. I think I can contribute in being a big part of the solution and helping people. I want to give back.”

“As a graduate of Sampson Community College, Jaime is a shining example of beginning here and going anywhere,” added Turlington. “As a local businessman and community advocate, his opinion will be valuable to the Foundation work.”

Godwin is popular in many circles in Sampson County having been raised here. “One of the best things people need to hear are the new ideas that come with new faces,” says Godwin. “Those on the Board are about helping other folks, not just those in higher education, but also in the development of the City of Clinton. I would love to be a part of helping everyday students achieve their dreams. SCC is growing, and it is beautiful to see. Anything we can do to further the mission of the college and help the community is a good thing and that’s why I am excited to be a part of it.”

“Rev. Godwin, a lifelong Sampson County resident, a leader of the local faith community, and a county commissioner will add perspective and depth to the board,” noted Turlington.

Dr. Paul Viser, also a member of the Board, reconfirms the importance of Godwin as an addition to the Foundation. “He is a native of Clinton with friends and family all over Sampson County,” says Viser. “He and Dr. Starling, SCC’s President, were in the same graduating class from Clinton High School.   When he and his wife, Eloise, returned to Sampson County just over two years ago, they wasted no time forming new relationships and addressing new challenges.  These include his public roles as pastor of Lisbon Street Baptist Church and as Sampson County Commissioner.  The College is extremely fortunate to have Pastor Godwin sharing with us his energy and passion.”

As the new fiscal year is underway for the Foundation, the faces may have changed but the mission and focus are as strong as ever. Several projects are in different stages of completion and in due time, the community will ultimately reap the benefits of these efforts. To donate to the Foundation or for more information, contact Turlington at