MONROE — South Piedmont Community College’s (SPCC) academic year came to a close Friday, May 13, with two separate graduation ceremonies at the Union County Agricultural Services and Conference Center.
A record 230 of 368 candidates for a degree, diploma or certificate signed up to cross the stage during the evening commencement. The total number of candidates was just short of last year’s 373.
Retiring SPCC president John McKay received an honorary Associate in Arts degree from SPCC Board of Trustees Chairman Harvey Leavitt III. McKay is in his eighth year as SPCC president and announced in 2010 that this year would be his last.
Nursing instructor Suzanne Rumble was awarded the 2011 Learning College Faculty of the Year award. Other finalists were medical assisting instructor Lori Starnes and math instructor Susan Lauer. Biology instructor Alissa Hammersmith was awarded the Adjunct Faculty of the Year award.
ReTasha Simmons, a graduate from the Advertising and Graphic Design program, delivered the commencement address and talked to her fellow graduates about following their dreams and how her grandmother influenced her at an early age to pursue a college education. Simmons, who already had a degree in accounting from Shaw University, returned to school at SPCC because she realized that graphic design was what she really wanted to do.
Earlier in the day, ceremonies were held to honor 400 General Educational Development (GED) and 13 Adult High School graduates. Speakers were GED graduates Kayla M. Hobbs, Elizabeth Rollins and Stefany Ward. Venita L. Hall was honored as the top GED graduate and Tyler VanMartin Helms was the top Adult High School graduate.