An old tradition was reinstated on Thursday as students, faculty and staff filled the seats of Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium for the 2012-2013 Convocation. During the ceremony, attendees received a school report by RCC President Dale McInnis, heard from keynote speaker Caren Anders, and honored this year’s Faculty and Staff of the Year.
The convocation was held in anticipation of the school’s 50th anniversary on April 2.
“Today, we revive an RCC tradition, remembering our rich legacy as we look forward to our future,” McInnis said. “Today we honor our past, celebrate the present, and embrace the potential greatness in our students, our employees and our entire college … Our college is the sum of many parts and many people. A college cannot survive, much less grow and prosper without talented and dedicated employees.”
In his opening remarks, the college president recognized students, leaders and members of the RCC Foundation and Board of Trustees.
Three nominees for Staff of the Year were recognized during the ceremony, including Trisha Lunceford, Patsy Morgan and Chihoko Terry, who received this year’s award.
Terry, a native of Yokosuka, Japan, has been employed with RCC for two years as the Director of Institutional Research. Prior to her time there, she spent 10 years working at South Piedmont Community College.
“These nominees are all very worthy — they’re all very deserving,” McInnis said.
Anthony Clarke, Vice President of Instruction and Chief Academic Officer, introduced the three nominations for Faculty of the Year: Sheila Adams, Lee Ballenger and Linda Pridgen.
“These three nominees are what the faculty has identified as examples of excellence,” Clarke said to the students in the audience. “Look at these people, emulate them, and you’ll be on the road to excellence.”
Linda Pridgen, the department chair over the English and Reading department, received the title of 2012-2013 Faculty of the Year. Pridgen received a B.A. of English and French at Eastern Carolina University, as well as a master’s degree in English from East Tennessee State University.
Following the awards, Caren Anders, senior vice president & chief transmission officer of Duke Energy, shared a report of the recent merge between Duke Energy and Progress Energy.
“I am very proud of the partnership that we have established and are continuing to build with Richmond Community College,” Anders said. “Progress Energy has invested around $500,000 in funding and equipment to (the school’s) Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology program. Students in this program get practical, hands-on experiences using the same type of equipment that our technicians work on every day. This program is a first of its kind in our state, and will help to train a new generation of energy professionals to maintain electrical substations and relay systems, which are the backbone of our national electric grid … This program reflects a need across our industry for bright young minds, to help replenish and strengthen an aging work force.
“Of course, Richmond Community College is more than just one program,” she said. “I am extremely impressed with the quality of students at this community college in all fields of study. You represent the promise of the future, in a wide variety of businesses and industries.”
Anders concluded her speech by offering RCC students several ingredients for success in the business world, before being presented with an honorary Associate of Applied Science degree in Electric Utility Substance and Relay Technology.
The college president then provided a report on the school’s growth within the past years, as well as its hopes to increase the graduate success rate. McInnis also acknowledged several new changes in the upcoming months, such as campus-wide wireless access and more classroom and parking space.
As the convocation drew to a close, McInnis took a moment to recognize a special new honor for RCC, the President’s Award.
“One of the new traditions begun today is the first annual RCC President’s Award, given by the president to someone who inspires us with their character, their spirit, and their courage,” he said. “The inaugural winner of this award has fought a battle against a cancer, all the while supporting her daughter in her fight against this disease. Throughout these past months, as she went through the treatments, she kept a positive attitude, a great sense of humor, and was a true professional in every way. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating my hero, Dianne Dawkins as the recipient of the 2012-13 RCC President’s Award.”
Dawkins serves as the Administrative Assistant to V.P. for Instruction.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.