DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) Dr. Linda C. Young, president of Wallace Community College – Dothan (WCCD), was recently inducted into the Dothan Business Hall of Fame. The Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce established the Hall of Fame in 2011 to recognize business and community leaders who have impacted the area through entrepreneurship, civic leadership, philanthropy and humanitarianism.
Young expressed appreciation to the Dothan Chamber for the recognition, and she stressed the impact that WCCD’s personnel have had on the College’s – and her – success. “This honor really belongs to the wonderful faculty and staff at Wallace Community College, some of whom are here,” she said.
Young, who grew up on a farm in Elba in rural Coffee County, shared her experience as the daughter of a seamstress and a farmer. Young’s mother went to work in a sewing factory after her daughter started school. Young’s father was a mechanic in addition to farming. It was Young’s parents who set the foundation for her career by stressing the value of an education. “I could not have had better parents. They taught me the value of an education and hard work.”
Young was the valedictorian of her class at Elba High School and was “lucky enough” to garner an academic scholarship to attend Enterprise State Junior College. ESJC made her feel important because of the close collaboration with instructors. The experience was so profound that, even as a student, she knew that she wanted to spend her career in the two-year college system.
One special instructor, Dr. Imogene M. Mixson, attended the induction ceremony. She was Young’s English instructor at ESJC. “She is, without a doubt, the best teacher I have ever had at any level,” said Young of her former teacher. She thanked Dr. Mixson for the lasting impact on her career.
After completing her master’s degree and teaching in K-12 for a short period of time, Young returned to ESJC as a business instructor. It was in this role that she realized that giving students a chance to pursue a college education was an important prescription to the future success of the state of Alabama. Young remarked on the variety of students that community colleges typically serve. “Community colleges take great pride in their philosophy of taking people from where they are – regardless of their starting place – and helping them to go as far as their dreams, motivations, and capabilities will take them,” she said.
Young has worked in five two-year colleges as well as the Chancellor’s office since beginning her community college career. In 1988 she became the president of Sparks State Technical College in Eufaula, becoming the first female to head a technical college in Alabama. Sparks, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, merged with Wallace Community College in Dothan in 1999.
In addition to the Dothan Business Hall of Fame, Young has served on multiple committees for civic and professional organizations. Under her leadership and in conjunction with the Wallace Community College foundation, the first-ever Capital Campaign was held, raising over 4.3 million dollars to fund scholarships and enhance instructional programs.
On the local level, Young served as the 2008-09 Chair of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and is a past president of the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce. She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Alabama and currently serves on its Board of Directors. She is a member of the Dothan Rotary Club Board of Directors, the Fort Rucker-Wiregrass Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation, the Flowers Hospital Board, and Wiregrass Forum. She was also named a Paul Harris Fellow by both the Eufaula Rotary Club in 2001 and the Dothan Rotary Club in 2016.
In 2013, Young was honored by the American Association of Community Colleges for 25 years of service as a community college president.
On the national level, the College gained recognition as a 2015 Bellwether Award finalist by the Community College Futures Assembly. In 2016, the College was named a top-three finalist in Faculty Innovation by the American Association of Community Colleges for its faculty-led I-CAN initiative that addresses student success through transformational change.
In closing, Young expressed pride in Wallace Community College and the faculty and staff for their role in transforming the lives of students. “We know that the single greatest thing one can do today to increase opportunities in life is to pursue higher education.”