Wilkes Community College

Wilkes Community College

Wilkes Community College currently has a 151.7-acre (0.614 km2) campus and 14 buildings. The student enrollment is typically around 3,500 students for curriculum, 900 for continuing education, and 1,600 for basic skills. The college also has satellite campuses in nearby Ashe and Alleghany counties. WCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Like most of North Carolina’s community colleges, WCC has an “open-door” admissions policy, which means that any adult with a high-school diploma can be admitted. The college pledges itself to “quality education, training and retraining for the workforce, including basic skills education, occupational, technical and pre-baccalaureate programs.” In addition to offering associate’s degrees in the technical, business and medical fields, the college also offers a university-parallel college transfer program, which provides the first two years of courses towards a bachelor’s degree. Students who complete this program can transfer to a four-year college or university.

In 1988 legendary, Grammy-winning guitarist Doc Watson, WCC horticulture instructor B Townes, and local businessman and musician Bill Young started the MerleFest music festival on the campus of Wilkes Community College. Named in honor of Doc’s late son Merle Watson, MerleFest has grown into one of the largest bluegrass and folk music festivals in the United States, drawing nearly 80,000 music fans each year. The festival has become the primary fundraiser for Wilkes Community College, and has brought national publicity to the college.

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