This time last year, the families of Robbie and Jennifer Fulford and Donald and Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes made a contribution to the PCC Foundation in order to secure naming rights for the college’s student store. A plaque designating the facility to be the Fulford-Rhodes Student Store” was placed near the store’s entrance during the 2022 Fall Semester.
For this edition of “Foundation for Success,” we found out a little more about the families, their decision to name Pitt’s student store, and their many ties to PCC. Check it out …
Hometown/Residence: Robbie Fulford and his sister, Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes, grew up outside of Farmville.
Robbie’s wife, Jennifer Fulp Fulford, is from Jacksonville, N.C. They live in Winston-Salem with their daughter, Fleming, and also have a home in Farmville that Robbie uses as a base for business pursuits.
Sara Beth’s husband, Don Rhodes, is from Rocky Mount. They live near Farmville with their daughters, Lillie and Ellie.
Occupations: Robbie Fulford is an entrepreneur and tobacconist, and Jennifer is a part-time caretaker and volunteer guardian ad litem.
Sara Beth is an attorney serving as Pitt County Clerk of Superior Court, and Don is a retired educator and small business owner.
PCC Ties: Four generations of the Fulford family have worked for either Pitt Community College or the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS).
Robbie and Sara Beth’s mother, Beth Fulford, worked as an administrative assistant at PCC, and their uncle, the late William E. Fulford Jr., was the college’s second president. Dr. Fulford served in that capacity from 1964 to 1984, and the institution developed considerably under his leadership.
Robbie and Sara Beth’s grandmother, Allie Lee Fulford, taught home economic classes at Pitt’s first Farmville continuing education site, and their uncle, Donald Fulford, taught math part-time.
Sara Beth has taught Business Law part-time at PCC and was a full-time Paralegal Technology instructor. Her daughter, Lillie, is currently the legislative liaison for NCCCS.
Robbie stocked vending machines at PCC while working for Vermilion Vendings during high school.
Prior to the establishment of a statewide dual enrollment program, Robbie and Sara Beth were encouraged by their parents and uncle, William, to prepare for college by taking summer classes at Pitt while they were in high school. Lillie and Ellie Rhodes earned high school and college credit taking PCC classes.
Current PCC Service: Don Rhodes serves as vice chair of the PCC Foundation and credits his mother-in-law, Beth, with encouraging him and her children, Robbie and Sara Beth, to continue supporting PCC. As a former educator and small business owner, Don says it is important for him to support the community by giving his time and/or making donations.
Why Support PCC, in General, and Why the Student Store, in Particular? Both Robbie’s and Sara Beth’s families credit their parents with emphasizing the importance of giving back. They are doing the same with their children in the hope it continues for future generations.
Growing up, Robbie and Sara Beth often heard stories of President Fulford encouraging the entire Fulford family to support Pitt Tech, which included recruiting students. After his death in 1984, their mother, Beth, began working at PCC and became a lifelong supporter. She even started a scholarship with the PCC Foundation in her name before her passing.
As small business owners, the Fulford and Rhodes families are cognizant of PCC’s importance in cultivating a trained workforce. Their family’s involvement with PCC since its inception factored into their decision to make a capital contribution. They see the PCC Student Store as a place where everyone comes together, as students, employees and alumni all patronize the student store of any institution.