Biggest gift

Catawba Valley Community College recently received the largest private gift in its 53-year history.

Area real estate developer James V. Tarlton Jr. made the donation to the CVCC Foundation, and the college will rename its on-campus multipurpose center The Tarlton Complex in his honor.

Tarlton said he did not want to disclose the amount of the gift to the college, and college officials said they respect that wish.

"It was substantial," Tarlton said.

"I am supporting Catawba Valley Community College through this gift to the CVCC Foundation because I believe that our community college holds the solution to our economic situation," he continued. "I also feel that education provides people with opportunity and hope for their future.

The training provided and the graduates are the backbone of our workforce. I think that's the most important thing in Catawba County right now."

CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw said Tarlton's gift did not include restrictions for how it can be used by the college. College officials said specific uses for the money have not yet been determined.

"Mr. Tarlton's many gifts of time, talent and treasure are priceless," Hinshaw said. "Incredible things are happening at CVCC with the support of champions like Jim. We are grateful for his generosity."

Tarlton joined the CVCC Foundation board of directors in 1991 and has served on the executive committee, property committee and as vice chairman. During his tenure, the college has acquired 37 acres of land, including tracts for the CVCC East Campus and the CVCC Business & Industry Training Complex.

Tarlton's recent gift is his second tied to the naming of an on-campus CVCC facility. A second-floor classroom in The Tarlton Complex was named the Judith and James Tarlton Jr. Classroom, following a gift during the CVCC Partnership 2000 Campaign for the CVCC Foundation.

"Jim has been a dedicated member of the CVCC Foundation board for nearly two decades," said David Sain, chairman of the CVCC Foundation board and a CVCC alumnus. "His business expertise has been invaluable helping the Foundation acquire real estate that has expanded the college campus exponentially. This gift will have a major impact on the college."

The newly named 63,778-square-foot Tarlton Complex originally opened in February 1998. According to college information, an annual average of 68,000 people have used the facility over the past five years.

In addition to college events, the complex is used for high school graduations and proms, local and regional basketball tournaments, non-profit organization events and concerts. The center includes seating space for 2,800, a stage, an elevated track, four classrooms, a weight room and aerobics studio, lighted tennis courts, a soccer field and a fenced softball field.