Dr. Donald Cameron
When the average person thinks about college athletics the images of game day come to mind. The student-athletes, the cheerleaders, the pep band and many other things make game day in any sport special. However, it is the hard work and dedication made by staff from an athletic department that makes game day even a possibility and it all would not even be possible if it were not for the commitment to college athletics by a college president.
This is such the case at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, N.C, where women's volleyball and men's basketball were started just two years ago thanks in part to President Dr. Donald Cameron, who himself is a former NJCAA student-athlete.
"Athletic opportunities for students should be a part of the whole package a community college offers," said Cameron. "We had to sell our board of trustees on beginning an athletic program, which is something I pursued for several years and finally convinced them that it was the right thing to do."
Dr. Cameron knows all to well how an athletic scholarship can give a young person a great opportunity and also help lead them down the road to success. He had not planned on attending college after graduating from high school in the small North Carolina town of Robins in 1960.
"I was not the best high school student in the world," he added. "I had an interest in baseball and wanted to continue playing the game. Wingate Junior College (now Wingate University) offered me a scholarship to be a catcher and I jumped at the opportunity."
While at Wingate, his dedication and hard work on the baseball diamond slowly translated to more dedication and hard work in the classroom. To this day he credits his first two years of college as the foundation that led to his career today.
"Because of baseball and my ability in the game, it helped get me into college," he said. "Once I got to Wingate and started associating myself with other student-athletes I started to take my studies more seriously and that propelled me into being a better student - I even made the dean's list by the time I was a senior in college. Then as I moved on in my career the discipline, networking and other great things college athletics gave me helped me become more successful. The opportunity I was given at Wingate no doubt was the platform of my career. It allowed me to look in the mirror and say, 'Hey, I can do this...I can be anything I want to be.'"
After Wingate, Cameron continued his baseball career at Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, N.C., which is now Barton College. He then received his Masters Degree from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and later earned a Doctorate in Community College Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.