C. Neill McLeod ‘72MS, ’74EDD has always gone after what she wants — even if it means breaking down barriers. And she’s done just that, conquering many firsts in her career.
McLeod spent more than 30 years within the North Carolina Community College System at five different campuses, including Wake Technical Community College, and the system office.
Throughout her career in community college education, McLeod served as North Carolina’s first female community college president when she took over the reins at Martin Community College, was the first female director of student activities, first female dean of continuing education, first female vice president of instruction and student development, and first woman associate executive vice president of the North Carolina Community College System office.
The accomplished administrator and community college leader was recognized for her achievements during NC State’s 16th Annual Evening of the Stars Gala, where she was honored with the NC State College of Education’s 2020 Distinguished Alumna Award.
“This award is especially meaningful to me because I know so many College of Education alumnae who are very outstanding people in their profession today. So, for me to be tapped as the college’s distinguished alumna is especially meaningful to me,” McLeod said.
Having accomplished so much in her career, McLeod says she wouldn’t have been the leader and administrator she was if it hadn’t been for the NC State College of Education and the experiences she had during her master’s and doctoral studies. Earning a fellowship made it possible for her to attend the college and is the reason she was prepared to serve as an administrator and leader within the North Carolina Community College System.
W. Dallas Herring, Ph.D., the founder of the state’s community college system and former chairman of the State Board of Education, had a big impact on McLeod’s experience at NC State and on her career with the community college system.
“Giving back to NC State means [a lot] to me. When I first graduated, I gave as much as I could to a chair for Dr. W. Dallas Herring, who was the father of our system, and we thought that in time, that chair would be funded. In addition, he was, as I said, the father of our system, and we believed in his vision and wanted to honor him in this way,” she said. “When I left college, I was well prepared to serve in the system, but I couldn’t have done it without a fellowship, and there were not many scholarships and fellowships for graduate students.”
McLeod was one of 16 alumni recognized by the NC State Alumni Association during the virtual event. To watch the full event, visit NC State Evening of the Stars event page.