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INTERIOR DESIGN CELEBRATES 40TH

Halifax Community College Interior Design students are (from left) Tracy Rogers, Mary Lou Braswell, Aimee Avent, Instructor Alice Vaughan, and student Rhonda Casper. Students not pictured include Jeneane Drewette, Stephanie Hill, Mary Mitchell, Barbara Smith, and Bonnie Vest.

The Interior Design Program at Halifax Community College (HCC) will celebrate the college's 40th anniversary, March 25-31. Interior Design was one of the first programs at HCC, starting in 1971.

The first instructor in the program was Charles Harris, a graduate of North Carolina State University's School of Design, who brought an architectural focus to the program. As the department grew in depth, Mary Tillery joined the teaching staff. With her academic training from East Carolina University, she brought a strong liberal arts foundation to the program. She led the department for approximately 20 years until her retirement in 2005.

At present, there are only six Interior Design programs available within the North Carolina Community College System. The program enjoys strong ties to the state's furniture industry. Student field trips include visits to the High Point furniture market, Williamsburg, Va., as well as other historic properties. This is one of the few technical degrees that provides computer-aided design, AutoCAD instruction. Many area-related businesses have had employees enrolled at HCC to acquire skills in this software.

Students during the years from 1971 to the 1990's studied historical styles, color, furniture, hardware and accessories and made models to show their skills, with computers being relatively nonexistent. Today's student has a more in-depth view with the use of the Internet to research information. Students use presentation boards to show a project creation and use CAD and other software packages to produce some of their drawings. Keeping with the digital innovations in the field, students also provide mock clients with interactive presentations and e-mails that provide electronic samples and selections.

At the beginning, the program offered only the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, and the student took six quarters to earn a degree. Today, students have four different degrees available in the Interior Design Program: the AAS degree, one-year diploma, one-year certificate, and in 2002, a Computer-Aided Certificate was adopted for the program.

Alice Vaughan took the position of Interior Design department head and instructor in January 2006. Broadening the focus of the program, Vaughan has reinvigorated the foundations of color theory and lighting with the addition of new coursework. Embracing the new entertainment venues in the Roanoke Valley, area students are currently completing internships involving costume and stage design as well as more traditional placements.

For more information about the Interior Design Program, contact Vaughan at (252) 536-7266 or e-mail vaughana@halifaxcc.edu.