To say the Sanderson family has had an impact on Sampson County is a major understatement. Bob Sanderson, a member of Sampson Community College’s Board of Trustees since 1996, has decided to retire. This comes after decades of service to the college and the community.
A World War II veteran, Sanderson graduated from North Carolina State University in Agriculture Education in 1951, training that would serve him well as a longtime farmer in Sampson County. As a Vocational Agriculture teacher for Sampson County schools for three decades, he lived the Future Farmers of America motto, ‘Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.’
“I have tried and hopefully succeeded in some ways to make lives better here,” says Sanderson, who will is succeeded on the Board by his son, Herb. “Every time he would see me getting ready to go to board meeting here he would always say ‘Make a difference’. I have certainly tried to and now I will get to say that to him.”
Sure enough, he had an impact on many lives. After marrying Betty Gray Melvin of Harrells in 1953, Sanderson had two sons of his own, Wayne and Herb, before he began a lengthy trail of service involving young people that continues to this day. In addition to serving SCC for more than two decades, Sanderson served in many more capacities. He served as Master of Franklin Grange, was a charter member of the Harrells Volunteer Fire Department and charter member of the Four County Medical Center Board. Sanderson also served as Chairman of Rural Medical Center Board and on the Sampson Memorial Hospital Board from 1976-1996.
“He is one of the most faithful of any trustee who has ever served SCC,” says SCC President, Dr. Bill Starling. “He has been an important voice an advocate for vocational training throughout his service with our board. As a career high school agriculture teacher, he drew upon his own experiences with students and understood the important role traditional vocational courses have in giving many young people access to well-paying jobs.”
While a member of the Siloam Baptist Church for more than six decades, Sanderson severed many roles to include church treasurer for more than half a century. He served as Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent, church deacon and Chairman of Deacons. He was also a council member of the Eastern Baptist Association.
“A true gentleman inside and out” as SCC Board Vice-Chair Sandra Carroll put it, Sanderson served as a council member of the Tuscarora Boy Scout Council and Assistant Scout Master in Harrells with the Boy Scouts of America. Sanderson, former Franklin Precinct Democratic Chairman and Chair of the Democratic Men’s Club is also a member of the Sampson County Democratic Hall of Fame.
Consistency and continuity among leadership in any organization is always a plus. This said, the college did not have to look too far to find a replacement who understand Bob’s passion, his motivation and someone who is closely aligned with his values. Herb Sanderson, Sanderson’s son, will take over his seat at the college via appointment by Sampson County Schools. He brings his own set of skills and history of service to the table.
Lisa Turlington, Executive Assistant to the President for Advancement, agrees.
“Not only does Mr. Sanderson have a distinguished history of serving the college but the beauty of tonight is that he is able to pass the torch to his own son, Herb.”
“I think great things are happening at the college and would like for those to continue,” says the newest member of the Board. “I vow to support the administration, the faculty and the staff in the great jobs they are doing. I will continue to be as committed to the board as my father was and will try to fulfill it with honor and dignity. It’s all about improving the lives others and to assist in any way we can.”
A graduate of East Carolina University, Herb Sanderson served the NC Department of Transportation as a Driver Education Specialist stationed in Charlotte, Elizabethtown and Clinton for 25 years before becoming Director of Transportation and Driver Education for Sampson County Schools in 2010. He retired with more than three decades of service to the state.
Starling welcomes the addition.
“I know in speaking to Mr. Sanderson, the personal pride he feels in Herb’s selection to fill his seat. The college community shares in that with him. We look forward to working with Herb as he continues his family’s well-recognized history of support for our public schools and community college.
Herb Sanderson served on a board that developed and established the state’s first curriculum for Commercial Driver Training Schools, another board that developed and established the state’s first Statewide School Bus Driving Competition and spent four years the on North Carolina School Bus Specification Committee
A farmer like his father, he spent more than two decades as owner and operator of a swine nursery facility here in Sampson County. He too has been a member of Siloam Baptist Church for nearly 50 years and has served as Sunday School teacher, superintendent and as deacon. Sanderson enjoys time with his wife, Sheila Tart, his daughter Carrie Sanderson Parker, her husband Dr. Anthony Parker and his granddaughter, Madilyn Gray Parker.