wilma harris

Wilma Harris, a former College of The Albemarle associate professor of nursing, coordinator of COA’s Associate Degree Nursing program, and chairwoman of the college’s department of allied health and wellness, is shown in the computer lab at COA’s Library and Knowledge Commons that will be named in her honor.

A computer lab in College of The Albemarle’s Library and Knowledge Commons will be named for one of the driving forces behind the success of COA’s Associate Degree Nursing program.

The COA Foundation announced this week that, thanks to a major donation to its Emerging Capital Campaign, the lab will be named in honor of Wilma W. Harris. The gift, secured through an anonymous donor, will provide additional support for the computer lab used by both students and visitors to the campus, the foundation said.

During her 28-year career at COA, Harris served in several roles, including associate professor of nursing, coordinator of the Associate Degree Nursing program, department chair of allied health and wellness, and immediately prior to retiring in July 2000, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty. She was also nominated as COA’s representative for the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award in 1987.

Under Harris’ leadership, COA nursing graduates achieved a 99.6% cumulative pass rate on the National Nursing Licensure Exam from 1973-96.

According to the foundation, Harris believes any success the nursing program achieved during her tenure was a team effort. She also believes that COA’s success was only possible because of dedicated faculty; motivated students who wanted to learn; supportive colleagues/administrators; outstanding partnerships with clinical facilities; and support from individuals, organizations and businesses in the community.

Harris said the donors should be “blessed for their generous sharing.”

“To be recognized in this manner is very humbling, and it is with a grateful heart that I say a most sincere ‘thank you’ to these donors,” she said. “Beyond the gift of naming, these donors have shared their unwavering support of College of The Albemarle. This truly is a community college that seeks to help students transform their lives and fulfill their dreams. These donors have chosen to be a part of that life-changing process.”

COA Foundation’s Emerging Capital Campaign’s goal is to raise $1.2 million for furniture, fixtures, equipment and future programs for new building construction at all four COA campuses. For more information on the campaign, contact Amy Alcocer, the foundation’s executive director, at 252-335-0821, ext. 2263 or email her at amy_alcocer68@albemarle.edu.