The newly renovated McNeill-Woodward Green, part of the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center (BPAC), was the site of the Sandhills Community Colleges fifty-third Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. Graduates, family, and friends enjoyed an ideal Sandhills morning with a smattering of clouds, which made the temperature most comfortable.
The graduates, faculty, and Board of Trustees entered the Green, and once in position, the Star-Spangled Banner was sung by all. After a welcome by President John Dempsey, the SCC Choir directed by Jennifer Thomas performed “It Takes a Village” with soloist Dillon Corral and percussionist Tim Haley.
Student Government Association President Charlotte Cox gave the student welcome, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees George W. Little gave a welcome from the Board.
Lenoir-Rhyne University President Fred Whitt was the SCC 2019 Distinguished Alumnus and gave the commencement address.
Distinguished Alumni are unique individuals who have been chosen and recognized for their outstanding contribution to their profession and their community. They have made substantial contributions for the good of others and have served as a positive motivational force for those around them.
Whitt attended Sandhills Community College in 1971-72 and played both baseball and basketball for the Spartans (now Flyers). He transferred to Appalachian State University where he was the captain of the baseball team. Graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts degree, Whitt later received a Doctorate in Education from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Kelsey Taylor Bowman was presented with The Mary Luman Meyer Award – given to the student who contributed most to the life of the college during their two years at Sandhills. Bowman earned an Associate in Applied Science in Therapeutic Massage. “Her perseverance and positive attitude as well as dedication to excellence and hard work, make her an excellent candidate for this award,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Rebecca Roush. “She upholds high integrity, living by example and leading by example. Kelsey will be a great asset to our local community.”
The Faculty Award was presented to Dana Diaz Cuellar for her outstanding character and academic achievement. The faculty of the college chooses the recipient, and Professor Abbe Allen presented it. Cuellar earned an Associate in Arts degree.
Mary Ann Gracia was presented with The President’s Award by John Dempsey. Leaf had the highest academic average with the most credit hours earned. As such, she was the Valedictorian of the Class of 2017. Gracia earned an Associate in Applied Science in Accounting.
Following the awards presentation, 429 graduates crossed the stage to receive their degrees. For the academic year 2018-19, Sandhills awarded 519 degrees, 37 diplomas and 74 certificates to 630 students.