MCC professor retires after 50 years of service

Steve Herman Picture courtesy of Mitchell Community College
Steve Herman
Picture courtesy of Mitchell Community College


Statesville, NC – Of the over 160 years Mitchell Community College has been educating residents of Iredell County, Stephen G. Herman has been making an impact on student lives for almost one third of those years. Herman joined Mitchell in 1965 (then Mitchell College) as a history instructor and for the next 50 years, he served as teacher, dedicated employee, social sciences/arts advocate and, inevitably, life changer.

Born in Newton, North Carolina, Herman earned a bachelor’s degree in history/social science from Lenoir-Rhyne College (now University), a master’s in social science as well as an educational specialist degree in higher education administration from Appalachian State University. Prior to joining Mitchell, he briefly taught in the Salisbury City Schools. He also served as an adjunct instructor at Gardner-Webb University.

Five presidents have led Mitchell during Herman’s tenure. He has seen the College change from private to public, from Mitchell College to Mitchell Community College. Changes have come, gone and then come around again. Herman came to Mitchell straight out of graduate school during an influx of enrollment. Mitchell was the only place he applied. He stayed because he felt—and still feels—Mitchell is a place where instructors can make a difference. “There is a focus on teaching and serving the students at Mitchell,” Herman stated. At Mitchell, he taught history, sociology, psychology, anthropology and a single art course. His favorite course to lead is Western Civilization. His favorite population to teach is committed students from diverse backgrounds. He feels a great responsibility to his students, and he called them his children throughout his career. Spending so many years in higher education has been challenging but fun. “I wasn’t always successful—no one is—but when you are it is so rewarding,” he noted.

Herman’s contributions to the Iredell community do not stop at the classroom door. An avid, self-taught artist from a young age, Herman is a long-standing promoter of the arts in Iredell County. The Herman Art Gallery (1969-2005) both showcased works and offered learning opportunities for community members of all ages. Working with a variety of media including watercolor, acrylic, oil and mixed media, Herman has conducted workshops and demonstrations for numerous art groups throughout western North Carolina. His efforts helped popularize the blending of watercolor and egg tempera in North Carolina. Herman is also an experienced collector of antiques and advocate of historic preservation. He owns two Victorian homes in the Mitchell College Historic District of Statesville.

Herman officially retired from Mitchell Community College on September 1, 2015. He currently resides in Statesville, North Carolina with his wife Evelyn. He has twin sons and one granddaughter. His future plans include continuing to advocate for historic preservation and finding his way back to his art studio.

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