HAMLET — An education sure can take you to some unexpected places. But it’s all a part of the journey.
Dr. Jerry McGee spoke about that Thursday during Richmond Community College’s convocation in Cole Auditorium in Hamlet. The Richmond County native described how he grew up in Roberdel and his journey from there to where he is today.
J.C. Lamm, one of the original employees at RCC, introduced McGee as the guest speaker and noted that his career had taken him beyond the classroom.
“He has raised millions of dollars in scholarship money,” Lamm said. “He is the president of Wingate University and the author of several books and somehow has managed to referee some major college football games in his past.”
McGee’s career in education is one thing in his life that always brings a smile to his face.
“As an educator, it is always wonderful to see your students succeed,” McGee said. That success “validates my professional life.”
Lamm described McGee in great detail as he recognized McGee’s accomplishments in the field of education. He explained that McGee is originally from Richmond County and used to work at the college — where he began his career in education.
When McGee stepped up to the podium, he laughed at Lamm’s extensive description.
“You would think I was 150 years old,” McGee said.
Dr. Dale McInnis, RCC president, agreed with McGee’s sentiments. This past May he was privileged enough to hand out 377 degrees — a 60 percent increase from the 2007 school year. McInnis stated the success was because of the staff, faculty and students.
“We are one college, with one mission and one student body,” said McInnis, who coordinated the second straight year of hosting a convocation after RCC went 15 years without such a ceremony.
Convocation is a ceremony where the college gathers together to give awards to staff and faculty that are being recognized for their efforts towards the college. On Thursday, three people were recognized as having provided a certain enhancement to the school’s mission.
Joey Bennett was honored as Staff of the Year award winner. This award takes the opinions of the college as a whole to determine who among its staff stood out in their efforts for the college. Bennett is the Cole Auditorium director and has been working full time with RCC since 2001.
The recipient for the Faculty of the Year award was Sherri Dunn-Ramsay. Unlike the staff award, the faculty award takes the opinion of students into account when deciding who should be honored. Dunn-Ramsay teaches a number of courses at RCC, but most of her courses focus primarily on family and child development. She appeared shocked as she walked up onto the stage, but the sounds of the students cheering demonstrated that she was the right choice for the award.
Alan Questell was the winner of the President’s Award. The President’s Award is fairly new and was created in order to honor those that worked above and beyond their job description in order to help or advance RCC. Dale McInnis, RCC president, presented the award as he described Questell’s work ethic.
Along with being a member of the faculty and having a full load of students, Questell also helped tremendously for the past two years with RCC’s re-accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — work important to the school for which he received no additional compensation.