PCC Alum Excelling in the Classroom and in Service to the Foundation

Rob Goldberg | April 1st, 2024

Ryan Spruill graphic

WINTERVILLE—Prior to the start of the 2023-24 academic year, the Pitt Community College Alumni Association honored several graduates during Convocation for outstanding professional success and service to the college and community.

One of the individuals honored was Ryan Spruill, who received an Employee Alumni Award for his work with the college’s polysomnography program and support for the PCC Foundation. A 2021 PCC Teaching Excellence Award recipient, Spruill has assisted with the PCC Foundation’s Employee Fund Drive each year since 2019 and is one of the organization’s annual “Fair Share” givers.

PCC Respiratory Therapy Program Director Rusty Sugg nominated Spruill for his Employee Alumni Award, calling him “a delight to work with” and noting his professional attitude, excellent communication skills and devotion to higher education.

“(Ryan) is a student advocate and devotes a great deal of time making sure program goals and objectives are met,” Sugg said.

The PCC Foundation recently interviewed Spruill to find out more about him personally and professionally. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: Where were you born and raised?

A: I was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C. I attended a small private school in Gastonia, N.C., before moving to Greenville in 1996 to attend ECU.

Q: Tell us about your experience at PCC and a little about your educational background …

A: I enrolled at PCC in the fall of 2009 after being laid off from my job after seven years. Returning to the classroom after 10 years was a drastic change, but instructors like Jayson Arno in BIO-163 made my transition back at the age of 35 much more manageable. Not only did they help me find the educational success that I lacked at ECU, but they also instilled a passion for educating others.

Q: What is your position at Pitt Community College and how long have you been here?

A: I am the program director for Polysomnography (Sleep Technology) at PCC. Sleep technology was not something I was even aware of when I first came to PCC, but I found it in HSC-110, led by another mentor, Don King. Sleep technology was my second choice for Respiratory Therapy. However, it was the best consolation prize I could ever imagine. This August will be the start of my eighth year at PCC.

Q: Tell us a little about your family …

A: My parents started work right out of high school, which made me a first-generation student. They worked hard to send me to ECU, which, unfortunately, I was too immature to take advantage of at the time.

I followed my wife Crystal, who graduated from the Respiratory Therapy program at PCC, and I am forever thankful for her push to give education another try. Since graduating from PCC in 2012, we have matched each other with BS degrees in 2016 and MHA degrees in 2023.

My oldest son, Caleb, will be our first PCC graduate this year. He will graduate from the Pitt County Schools Early College High School with his high school diploma and an associate degree in science.

My youngest son, Landon, is a freshman at South Central High School and is already looking forward to dual enrollment at PCC to speed up his goals in computer technology.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

A: When I am not on campus, you can find me at ECU sporting events, in the kitchen cooking too much of something, or in the garage brewing homebrewed beer.

Q: What is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you but would find interesting?

A: I am a sucker for dad jokes and little-known informational tidbits. I love the history shows of North Carolina on PBS to learn new facts to share with everyone, whether they want to know it or not. Did you know that without the Minges family in Kinston, N.C., we would live in a world without Mountain Dew?

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and why?

A: I refer back to Jayson Arno, who taught me to “learn” the information and not “memorize” it. Something so little made such a change in my life, both professionally and educationally. If you learn something, you understand the information well enough to explain it differently, so anyone can understand it. If you memorize it, you can only repeat what you may or may not understand.

Q: What do you love most about working at the college?

A: The people, whether employees or students, they all make the difference. Every employee is eager to do whatever it takes to make a difference in a student’s life, just like mine.

Q: What did receiving the Employee Alumni Award from PCC last summer mean to you?

A: The Employee Alumni Award was a fantastic experience. Being awarded for doing what I love every day, helping students meet their goals and expectations, is an honor.

Q: Why do you support the PCC Foundation’s Employee Fund Drive?

A: Students. Our students are why we have jobs, and helping them meet their goals is why I support the PCC Foundation.

I have students who drive almost two hours one way to attend class. While we do what we can to utilize technology to limit their drive, some students need help with gas. Others have food insecurities, while others have issues paying for classes not covered by student funding.

The PCC Foundation is always there to lend a helping hand and ensure all PCC students have the tools needed to succeed and give back to Pitt County.

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