York Tech celebrates history, looks to future

In an event that served two purposes, York Technical College on Monday kicked off a year of celebration and made a symbolic gesture to kick off a new phase of transformation.

Administration, staff and community members gathered to mark the institution’s 50th year since opening to students in 1964. The theme for the anniversary is “Our Past, Your Future.”

“York Tech stands for hope and opportunity for the community and the region,” said Greg Rutherford, president of the school that serves about 5,000 students in 85 credit programs and 2,000 continuing education students.

Melanie Jones, vice president for college advancement, helped unveil a new commemorative logo for the 50th anniversary celebration, which will span the 2014-2015 academic year.

“This is a historic and monumental opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of York Technical College,” she said.

Tony Vaughan, the honorary anniversary chairman who has been involved with York Tech since the school opened as the York County Technical Education Center in 1964, said there was an “ever-occuring need for technical education in South Carolina,” a need that still exists today.

The original building that housed “TEC,” now known as “C Building,” is beginning to undergo a major transformation, and school leaders and others participated in the official ground-breaking after the logo reveal.

The purpose of the new look to C Building will be to showcase and exemplify 21st-century technical education, said Tom Savory, the architect of the remodel. The makeover will be the first in a series that’s part of the school’s larger strategic plan, he said.

For York Tech employee Diala Curbeam, the celebration of 50 years of history and the new renovations will serve as an exciting chance to reach more people in the community.

“The whole goal is to get people back to work,” she said.