Guilford Technical Community College’s Class of 2015 made history on May 7 as the college’s largest graduating class. Approximately 1,412 students graduated this academic term (2014-2015).
Nearly 1,000 graduates participated in GTCC’s 49th Commencment at the Greensboro Coliseum. In his lively keynote speech to the Class of 2015, Dr. Anthony Brown, interim vice president of Student Support Services at GTCC, quoted inspiring words from Thomas Edison to Taylor Swift. But the heart of Brown’s message to the Class of 2015 was: “Don’t miss your opportunity.” The opportunities students receive at GTCC, he said, are something that many students would not receive at a four-year institution.
“Those students also receive a chance — a chance to continue your education, a chance to move into a career, and a chance to make new friends. … It’s that chance, that opportunity, that faith that will keep you going in life. … Opportunity is that single petal that comes from a bed of thorns. It’s the sun that you see peeking through the clouds, when you are deep in the valley.”
There is no easy path to success without hard work and failure, Brown said. And along the way there will always be naysayers and cynics, “but you have to ignore them. Stay focused because you have bigger plans. Get into your Taylor Swift mode and ‘shake them off, shake them off!’”
Joseph Partin, outgoing Faculty Association president, emphasized in his address to the graduates the concept of sharing. Borrowing an example from pop culture, Partin pondered the idea of a world without “Sesame Street” and the Muppets.
“What would have happened 46 years ago if Jim Henson and his collaborators didn’t get together and share something educational and fun with all of us,” Partin asked. “… As faculty, we have one more challenge for you: Start thinking about ways you can use your degrees and share your collective knowledge to work with and help others.”
People like Jim Henson and his collaborators created something special that continues to affect us today, he said.
“Imagine for a moment if Jim Henson would’ve kept Kermit and the gang to himself, and was unwilling to share, how different our lives might be,” Partin said. “Changing the world for the greater well-being is something we should aspire to, and hopefully we can make this happen. But this can only be accomplished if you are willing to share what you’ve learned.”
During the ceremony, several graduates were recognized for their outstanding traits of leadership, good citizenship and academic excellence:
Logan Brown, Dental Assisting, Outstanding Graduate in a Diploma program
Logan volunteers at the NC MOM Clinc, which helps those who are less fortunate with free dental care. She’s a recipient of the Fountain Endowed Scholarship and the Guilford County Dental Society Excellence in Dentistry Award Scholarship. She also represented GTCC in the 2015 SkillsUSA competition.
Morgan Dahlin, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Outstanding Graduate in a Technical program
Morgan has served as president of GTCC’s underwater robotics team and organized the M.A.T.E. underwater robotics regional competition. She’s made the Dean’s List and President’s List and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
Chelsea Frye, Associate in Arts, Outstanding Graduate in a Transfer program
Chelsea has won third place in the Career Development Month poster Design Contest and second place in GTCC’s Recycled Sculpture Contest. She is an active member of the Art Club, Rotaract Club, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, History Club, and Stellar Society. She also has worked as a scribe for hearing impaired students and a peer tutor in the Learning Assistant Center. She graduated with a 4.0.
GTCC President Dr. Randy Parker awarded Student Government Association President Elizabeth Pucel with the President’s Medal, which recognizes the most outstanding graduate of the year from the entire student body.
Pucel served as treasurer for Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders of America Honors Society) and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She’s made the President’s List, Dean’s List and Honors List.
She participated in the GTCC Domestic Leadership Exchange program that examines poverty issues in collaboration with students from the University of Massachusetts Boston where she worked in a kitchen that served 5,000 free meals and worked in a home for abused and homeless children.
Jarvis Harris, GTCC Board of Trustees chair, presented the Board of Trustees’ Teaching Innovation Award to Joseph Badick, professor of aviation career pilot and aviation management.
The Teaching Innovation Award is given to one faculty member each year in recognition of innovative teaching practices. Badick created a simulation to give students the experience of piloting a plane without ever sitting in the cockpit. He recognized that in order to be effective aviation managers, students needed to understand all facets of the aviation industry, including the experience of pilots. After he identified this need, Badick built a flight simulator with spare equipment.
The simulation activity has enhanced students’ understanding of aviation concepts, procedures, and environment. They also gain valuable experience with state-of-the-art equipment. Without the simulation, aviation management and aviation maintenance students may never have this kind of flight exposure.
— Carla Kucinski/GTCC