By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Edgecombe Community College (ECC)’s graduates are in good company, as the guest speaker at Saturday morning’s spring commencement noted.
“You are in a long line of people who have graduated from community colleges and gone on to greatness,” said Bill Daughtridge, Jr., secretary of the North Carolina Department of Administration and guest speaker at the commencement in the Keihin Auditorium on ECC’s Tarboro campus. Calvin Klein and Walt Disney are among the successful community college graduates that Daughtridge mentioned.
Daughtridge instructed the 275 or so graduates in attendance to “live up to your potential and be a giant for the next generation.” He quoted Sir Isaac Newton, the English scientist who discovered gravity:
“If I have seen further, it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants,” and told the graduates that like Newton, his success is “because I’m standing on the shoulders of giants who came before me.”
Daughtridge told the graduates that they are graduating in “an exciting time of growth and opportunity” in North Carolina, naming the fast-growing healthcare sector, the technology field and public service as some of the career opportunities available to graduates. Nearly 100 of the graduates Saturday morning earned a degree in the health sciences field.
“You embody North Carolina’s hopes and dreams,” Daughtridge told the graduates. He had some final words of advice for the graduates before Dr. Deborah Lamm, ECC president, officially declared them graduates of the community college:
Be a force for change.
Live a life of integrity.
Find your passion in life and live it.
Invest your time in your family and friends.
Lamm expressed her confidence in the graduates’ workforce readiness at the commencement.
“Our graduates will have an edge on the competitors in the job market because they’re able to present perspective employers not only a diploma but also a Certificate of Career Readiness. Edgecombe Community College strives to do its part to ensure a prepared workforce both locally and regionally,” said Lamm. A total of 401 graduates received 470 degrees, diplomas and certificates; about 275 of those participated in the commencement exercises.
Michael Jordan, ECC’s vice president of student services, recognized three graduates for outstanding achievement at the spring commencement. Kevin M. Evans, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, received the Dallas Herring Achievement Award. Evans earned an associate’s degree in radiography, graduating with a 3.667 grade point average (GPA). He is the president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
James Patrick Philips received the North Carolina Community College System Academic Excellence Award. He earned an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science, graduating with a 3.909 GPA.
Megan Shores is the recipient of the Gov. Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. A student in the human services technology program, Shores has a 3.373 GPA and holds a degree in general education from ECC. Shores spearheaded a number of community services program at the college.
An ECC faculty member and a staff member also received special recognition at commencement. ECC has recognized teaching excellence since 1987. Tamara Frank-Pourvady, a tutor in the curriculum learning center, is the recipient of the ECC Foundation staff award. Frank-Pourvady joined ECC’s staff in 2003 as a full-time professional tutor.
“Devoted, patient, encouraging, gentle but firm, problem solving” are words that have been used to describe Frank-Pourvady, Karen Andrus, executive director of the ECC Foundation, told the audience at the commencement.
“She’s a valuable asset on both campuses and puts students’ success as her top priority,” Andrus said. “She instills confidence in students and encourages them to succeed.”
Mary Miller Stocks, program coordinator/ early childhood associate is the recipient of the ECC Foundation faculty award.
“The motto ‘students first’ rings true in this instructor’s classroom” said Andrus. She told the audience that Stocks “allows students endless opportunities to try and try again,” working long hours to meet students’ needs and providing additional instruction to students outside the classroom.
Members of the Student Government Association and veterans also received special recognition at Saturday’s commencement.