At its 49th annual commencement exercises, Richmond Community College saw a record number of students receive degrees, certificates and diplomas.
In all, 295 students graduated from RCC this year. This number trumps last year’s then-record 279-student graduating class.
State Rep. Ken Goodman, of House District 66 in the North Carolina General Assembly, delivered the commencement address and brought a message of optimism to the graduates and the assembled guests who filled the Robert L. and Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium at RCC’s Hamlet campus.
“The speed with which change is happening is accelerating at a faster and faster rate and it is possible that we are on the verge of a truly transformational period in human history,” said Goodman, of Rockingham. “I believe that 20 years from now we will have solved even more of the social problems that we wrestle with today. The good old days don’t compare with the here and now and the future has never been brighter or more fascinating.
“And here you sit facing an unprecedented period with challenges and opportunities that are almost impossible to comprehend. The question for you is how you are going to react to all of the possibilities that you have before you. You have taken the first step by completing your academic work at Richmond Community College. The challenge you face is to never stop trying to become more educated and always embrace change. You cannot stop it. Otherwise, the world will leave you behind,” Goodman said.
RCC Student Government Association President Rob McCullough echoed Goodman’s charge to his fellow graduates.
“Today our book bags are empty,” McCullough said, “but our hearts and minds are full from our experiences here at RCC. Take that and go forth and don’t stop thinking about where you go from here.”
According to RCC President Dale McInnis, the 2014 commencement exercises will be held over two ceremonies due to the large number of graduates.
“It is a good problem to have,” said McInnis. “With the growth we have experienced over the last few years, we have simply run out of room to accommodate the families of all of our graduates.”