The philosophy of the open door College has been stated by Dr. Dallas Herring, former chairman of the State Board of Education, as follows:
"The only valid philosophy for North Carolina is the philosophy of total education; a belief in the incomparable worth of all human beings, whose claims upon the state are equal before the law and equal before the bar of public opinion; whose talents (however great or however limited or however different from the traditional) the state needs and must develop to the fullest possible degree. That is why the doors to the institutions in North Carolina's System of Community Colleges must never be closed to anyone of suitable age who can learn what they teach.
We must take the people where they are and carry them as far as they can go within the assigned function of the system. If they cannot read, then we will teach them to read and make them proud of their achievement. If they did not finish high school, but have a mind to do it, then we will offer them a high school education at a time and in a place convenient to them and at a price within their reach. If their talent is technical and vocational, then we will simply offer them instruction, whatever the field, however complex or however simple, that will provide them with the knowledge and skill they can sell in the marketplace of our state, and thereby contribute to its scientific and industrial growth.
If their needs are in the great tradition of liberal education, then we will simply provide them with the instruction, extending through two years of standard college work, which will enable them to go on to the university or senior college and on into life in numbers unheard of in North Carolina. If their needs are for cultural advancement, intellectual growth or civic understanding, then we will simply make available to them the wisdom of the ages and the enlightenment of our times and help them on to maturity."