Special for the News Herald
Western Piedmont Community College has completed renovations, which transformed a classroom into the Clay W. Richardson, MD family medicine training office.
This interactive classroom space was made possible by the family of Dr. Clay Richardson who made a monetary donation to the Western Piedmont Foundation to honor his life and legacy.
Dr. Richardson opened a practice, Table Rock Family Medicine, in Glen Alpine, a town that hadn’t had a primary physician for eight years previously. His desire was to be in a rural area where he was needed most. After he started his practice, he started looking for medical assistants.
“He knew the value of bringing in Physician Assistants and he was quick to get involved with the college and the Physician Assistant program,” his wife Joani Richardson said. “He then began to learn that Physician Assistants were undervalued, undervalued and underpaid. That’s when he became a champion of that varsity group.
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Dr. Richardson served on the WPCC Advisory Board for over a decade. After 37 years, his first Physician Assistant remains at Table Rock Family Medicine and is now the Practice Director.
Medical assisting students now have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. In addition to a clinic, students can now experience the administrative aspects of medical assisting to complete tasks such as insurance reporting, scheduling and confirming appointments, and maintaining patient records.
“He [Dr. Richardson] became a voice for better wages, benefits, recognition of our certification and credentials. To say thank you to Dr. Richardson’s family for the donations they have endowed the college seems inappropriate,” said Rachel Bradshaw, WPCC Medical Assistance Program Coordinator and Head of Allied Health. “They ensured that his voice continued to be heard and that his work continued and changed the lives of generations of medical assistants.”
Dr. Richardson’s family also established an annual scholarship through the Western Piedmont Foundation to assist 25 medical assistance students, up to $400 per student, toward the purchase of uniforms and equipment.
“Dr. Clay Richardson’s family wanted to make a difference in their community and in the lives of students,” said WPCC President Dr. Joel Welch. “They have made such a big difference in allowing us to create an experience for students that will give us a better education and make them better servants in our community.”
WPCC offers the one-year degree with a two-year associate degree option in medical assisting. For more information, contact Rachel Bradshaw, CMA(AAMA) at 828-448-3501 or Vicki Shuping, CMA(AAMA) at 828-448-3172.
Western Piedmont Community College is located in the scenic, rolling foothills of Morganton, North Carolina, and has served the citizens of Burke County since 1964. Apply online at wpcc.edu or visit the WPCC campus to apply in person.
About the Western Piedmont Foundation
The Western Piedmont Foundation was established in 1967 to provide public and private funding for Western Piedmont Community College. Funds raised by the Foundation strengthen the college’s ability to serve students and the local community. The Foundation provides scholarships and financial assistance in addition to funding for employee professional development, classroom and program enhancements, and community engagement. In 2021-2022, the Foundation awarded more than $67,000 in student financial aid, $33,000 for community programs and more than $6,000 for professional development opportunities for employees.