On an impromptu visit to Haywood Community College, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton met with HCC President Rose Johnson as he toured the campus. While on campus Dalton spoke with several instructors and students. He visited the Early College, the Small Business Center, Natural Resources classrooms, the Research Demonstration House and the Dahlia Garden. He currently serves on the State Board of Community Colleges and plans on eventually visiting each community college in the state. Dalton is a strong supporter of the community college system in North Carolina.

“The community college system is one of the things state government does very well. We were the first state to establish a community college system, and our system is still among the nation's best. A strong community college system is critical in these tough economic times and essential to getting our work force ready for 21st Century jobs," he said.

Lt. Governor Dalton also serves on the State Board of Education and in that capacity takes a special interest in the seven Early Colleges in North Carolina.

At HCC, students enter Early College in the ninth grade and can obtain a high school diploma as well as an associate degree in 5 years or less. Early College students begin integrating college classes into their studies as early as their first year in the program.

Dalton drafted a bill as part of the Innovation in Education Act of 2003 that allowed for the creation of Early College programs in North Carolina. “I am very proud of these programs. We have found that the drop-out rate in Early College is significantly lower than in a traditional high school.These programs help keep students in school and put them on a path toward academic success and, ultimately, good jobs,” he said.  Dalton spoke with Early College students about his work as lieutenant governor and his background.

Dr. Johnson and Lt. Governor Dalton discussed at length the college’s commitment to sustainability initiatives and the green building techniques being utilized in campus planning and construction. On the site of the Research Demonstration House, he was able to observe some of these practices first hand.

As Lt. Governor, Dalton is the second highest elected official in the state. He assumes the role of acting North Carolina Governor any time Governor Perdue is out of the state. He presides over the Senate and votes in case of a tie. He also performs any other duties as assigned by the Governor or the Legislature.