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Danville Community College Recognizes Nearly 600 Graduates on Saturday

photo of graduates


sga teacher of the year award photo

Vince Decker (left), Ph.D., DCC Professor of Business Management, accepts the SGA Teacher of the Year award from DCC President Bruce Scism and SGA President Nicholas Hines (right).

(May 14, 2018)  – Never stop learning, Danville Community College’s commencement speaker told graduates Saturday morning.

DCC alumnus Tommy Pruett, executive director of the Danville Life Saving Crew, shared his personal story during the graduation ceremony, noting that he was a first-generation college graduate when he completed his associate degree in education from DCC. This was the starting point for earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Averett University. Pruett, who retired from the city of Danville after 30 years of service in juvenile and adult detention, commended graduates for investing wisely in their education by choosing DCC.

“Education has a cost, but not getting an education comes with a bigger cost,” Pruett said.

About 573 people graduated as part of DCC’s class of 2018, DCC President Bruce Scism told the audience Saturday at Averett’s North Campus. At the start of the ceremony, a stirring rendition of the National Anthem was performed on the saxophone by student Malachi Aysaac-Shallum Morris, who graduated Saturday with a diploma in Precision Machining Technology.

Prior to conferring the degrees, school officials recognized several students for their accomplishments. Nicholas Hines, who graduated with two associate degrees in Information Systems Technology, served as president of both Student Government Association and the Upsilon Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society this year. He was also a member of Alpha Beta Gamma International Business Honor Society and participated in numerous community service project through these student organizations.

Hines addressed his peers before announcing the student-selected DCC teacher of the year. When he first came to DCC, Hines said he was quiet and shy and could not imagine addressing a crowd of thousands of people. He encouraged his fellow graduates to embrace the challenges they face, because “Challenges encourage change in us, and change leads to transformation.”

Each year, the student body nominates and votes on one faculty member to recognize at graduation. Hines announced Vince Decker, Ph.D., Professor of Business Management, as this year’s winner of the SGA Teacher of the Year award.

DCC Vice President for Academic and Student Services Debra Holley announced graduate Lauren Haley Pinkenstein as the winner of the Stephanie L. Ferguson Medallion of Courage. Named in memory of a DCC student who died from cancer in 1990, the award is given each year to a deserving student who has overcome challenges in completing his or her education.

Pinkenstein was nominated by Graphic Imaging Technology Professor Sheila Wright for achieving academic success and excelling in her graphic design work despite serious health issues. The nomination noted that she earned a Graphic Imaging Technology diploma along with four Career Studies Certificates, maintaining a 3.6 GPA. She also has only one kidney and deals with poor function in her remaining kidney. During her freshman year, she served as one of two primary caretakers for her father who passed away with cancer.
“There have been many days we could tell she did not feel well, but she never let that affect her phenomenal positive and friendly attitude,” Wright said in the nomination. “She endured the emotional and physical stress while working very hard to maintain her responsibilities in her classes.”
“Lauren has often commented that being at DCC has tremendously helped her in coping through difficult times and that she always looked forward to coming to class each day. She has been a very brave student and been an example that has inspired her classmates to push through their own challenges,” the nomination continued.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement Shannon Hair announced winners of the 2018 graduation scholarships. They are:
·         Kaitlyn Carter, Tristan Daniel, Hannah Elliott, Courtney Giannini, Michael Jones, Rachel Olp, and Luke Sheets – Barksdale Honors Scholarship.
·         Dylan Haley – D. Randolph “Randy” Davis Memorial Scholarship, Phoenix Lodge #62 – The Knights of the Pythias Business Scholarship.
·         James Hubbard, Rachel Olp, Luke Sheets – James Bustard Endowed Scholarship.
·         Dylan Haley, Daniel Hundley, and Emily Smoot – James T. Catlin, Jr. Kiwanis Scholarship.
·         Rachel Op, Luke Sheets – McGovern General Excellency Award.
After conferring the degrees, Scism asked the graduates to note the DCC Alumni Pledge in the commencement program. He reminded them that they are now alumni of the college and urged them to support the Alumni Association and DCC Educational Foundation to support other students in completing their education.


View more photos from the ceremony on Flickr.


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