Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) is a comprehensive, public two-year college within the Alabama Community College System; it is one of 12 junior colleges created by the Alabama State Legislature during the administration of Gov. George C. Wallace. NACC is located on State Highway 35 approximately five miles from Rainsville, DeKalb County; its grounds straddle the county line between DeKalb and Jackson counties. NACC primarily serves Jackson and DeKalb counties. Randy Owen of the country music group Alabama is a 1971 graduate of the college.
In 1963, the Jackson County Board of Revenue and DeKalb County Board of Commissioners donated a 60-acre site for the college that comprised 30 acres in Jackson County and 30 acres in DeKalb County. An additional 35 acres were purchased in February 1969, and a total of 23 acres more have been added in smaller parcels since that time. The college began operating on the quarter system on September 30, 1965, with 380 freshmen, with Ernest Rudder Knox (1964-1982) as president. Programs included a general, pre-liberal arts curriculum.
Charles M. Pendley became president in 1982. In May 1992, the Alabama State Board of Education renamed the college Northeast Alabama State Community College to mark the addition of career and technical courses in the technology fields. In 1996, the chancellor of the Alabama Community College System approved a change in the name to Northeast Alabama Community College. In fall 1998, Northeast moved to the semester system (fall, spring, and summer). David Campbell became president in 2001.
Currently, NACC has an enrollment of approximately 4,000 students. Some 450 people were employed by NACC in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, with a total budget of approximately $20 million. The campus consists of 17 buildings, the most recently built being the Health Education/Workforce Development Technology Center (2007) and the Industrial Systems Technology Center, which opened for classes in January 2010. In addition to the main campus, Northeast operates a cosmetology program at the NACC Salon Institute in Scottsboro, Jackson County, and machining technology and welding technology classes at the Earnest Pruett Center of Technology, also in Scottsboro. In fall 2009 the college began offering dual enrollment/dual credit classes at 11 area high schools. The institution also manages the Adult Education Basic Education Program for Jackson, DeKalb, and Marshall counties.
NACC offers associate degrees in arts, science, and applied science and certificate programs in such areas as elementary or secondary education, computer science, nursing, mathematics, and business. NACC's Practical Nursing Program notably has maintained a National Council Licensure Examination passing rate of 100 percent since the program began in 2004. The R.N. Nursing Program had a 95.9 percent passing rate in 2009.
Although NACC has not participated in intercollegiate sports since 1983, students enjoy a variety of intramural sports and take part in numerous clubs and activities. NACC's theater program, housed in a state-of-the-art theater completed in 1994, sends many students to successful auditions and four-year programs each year. The theater program draws approximately 15,000 patrons each season. The college also hosts the annual Latino Festival, which celebrates the local Latino heritage, and Music on the Mountain, a bluegrass festival.
The NACC Quiz Team was the 2009 Intercollegiate Tournament National Champion for community colleges and the 2009 Alabama College Bowl Champion. The NACC Sigma Kappa Delta chapter (English honor society) was the first chartered in Alabama and the fourth nationally and has initiated more members than any other chapter in the nation.
Students and members of the community also can enjoy the Nature/Walking Trail, which is a paved, fully accessibly pathway of less than a mile circling a four-acre mountain lake on the north side of campus. Schools colors are blue and white, and the official mascot is the Mustang.