In celebration of Halifax
Community College's (HCC) 40th Anniversary and Automotive Systems
Technology Week this week, retired instructors Freddie Outland and
Albert Etheridge joined current department head Hunter Taylor, and
others to reflect on the history of the program. Outland was the first
automotive department head at HCC.
Automotive Systems Technology can
date its origins back to 1968, when then-president, Dr. Phillip
Taylor, asked Outland, one of his former students from Wilson County
Technical Institute, to come and teach class. The first classroom was
located in a service station near Colonial Manor Motel, HCC's first
"At that time, I taught math, English and the whole program," said
Outland. There were only a few people to teach the different courses
in the beginning.
Etheridge joined Outland in 1973 and started an auto body repair
program after that. In 1977, instructors moved to the present campus.
The automotive program then spread to the local prisons in 1985—first
at Halifax, then Caledonia, and finally at Tillery, where it remains
By 1992, area high school students could take basic engine repair
classes on campus. This continued until high school curriculums
changed and no longer included the HCC program as an offering to
Both Outland and Etheridge echoed the same sentiment—every day and
every hour was different. Outland described the best part of teaching.
"Seeing a student who wouldn't talk and wouldn't look you straight in
the eye and was isolated, and after you worked with him a semester,
you see the change and he starts coming out," he said. "The best
reward is when your students find jobs."
In addition to its already successful diploma and certificate
programs, Automotive Systems Technology added an Associate in Applied
Science degree last year. Contact Taylor at (252) 536-7228 or via
e-mail at email@example.com
for more details.