Charlotte, NC – The NJCAA hosted an official ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning to unveil its new Charlotte, North Carolina-based national office to the public.
Former NJCAA football player Ian Thomas, now a tight end with the Carolina Panthers, was the special guest of the morning and had the honors of cutting the ceremonial ribbon in front of a gathered crowd in entrance foyer to the office. Thomas played for two seasons at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY before continuing his career at Indiana. Thomas was taken by the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round with the 101st pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Thomas finished the year with 333 receiving yards and recorded multiple receptions in each of the Panthers' final five games of the season.
Thomas was also reunited with Nassau athletic director Kerri-Ann McTiernan, who serves on the NJCAA's 37-member Board of Regents representing Region 15. She was in attendance for Monday's ribbon cutting.
"Having Ian, the former captain of Nassau Community College football program cut the ribbon was especially satisfying," said McTiernan. "We couldn't be more proud of him. He's a man of high character and a great football player!"
Region 14 representative Dr. Tim Drain also had kind words to say about his first trip to the new headquarters in the Queen City.
"It was such an honor to be in Charlotte for today's historic ribbon cutting ceremony," said Drain. "The new offices are absolutely stunning and I want to sincerely thank all who played a role in it."
See also: Photo Gallery: NJCAA National Office
Drain served as athletics director at Tyler Junior College for 19 years and now serves as the school's Assistant Vice President for Athletics and Student Life.
"Further, I want to thank all of those from the city of Charlotte who came out to join the NJCAA in our celebration. I know I speak for all when I say that meant a lot to our organization. I am looking forward to many great years in Charlotte!"
Mick McDaniel, who currently sits as Chair of the NJCAA Board of Regents added his thoughts on what today's ceremony meant.
"What an awe-inspiring event we enjoyed today in Charlotte," said McDaniel. "As we prepared to have a former NJCAA student-athlete and Carolina Panthers player Ian Thomas cut the ribbon, I was overcome with pride thinking about all the people who have worked so hard to make today a reality. Our NJCAA leadership and our new Charlotte community family all coming together to celebrate this special day and appreciating the investment that all have made to move our organization forward."
There was a number of college presidents in attendance for the ceremony, too.
"The opening of our National Office in Charlotte represents the next step in the transformation of the NJCAA into a first-class Association on the level of our sister associations, the NCAA and NAIA," said Union County College president Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. "In Charlotte, we found a beautiful progressive city, with a welcoming business community that understands the value and importance of supporting two-year college athletics."
The NJCAA's move to Charlotte has been supported by a large number of people in the local business community. Joel Matthews (Bank of America), Tracey Hill (First Reliance Bank), Chris LaPata (BDHP Architecture), John Noonan (Hilton University Place), Frank Nelson (Charlotte Regional Business Alliance), Eric Reichard (Rodgers Builders), Ian Thomas and Ryan Anderson (Carolina Panthers), along with Garrett Wood and Stephanie Jachym (Visit Cabarrus) were just some of the notable attendees.
"We would like to thank everyone that came out in support of the unveiling of the NJCAA's new national office," said NJCAA President and CEO Dr. Christopher Parker. "The support we have had in our first few months here has been truly overwhelming."