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~ TCC President Deborah DiCroce delivered graduation speech

[Streamed Video]  [Photo Essay]

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (Dec. 19, 2011) – Tidewater Community College held its 53rd graduation exercises on Dec. 16 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk. More than 2,100 students earned associate degrees, certificates or diplomas.

In one of her final acts before stepping down as president of the college, Deborah M. DiCroce gave the commencement address and began her remarks by saying, “The class of 2011, you and I will be forever bonded as we together begin the next chapter in our life story.” She encouraged graduates by saying the future holds limitless possibilities and challenged them to commit to learning as a lifelong process.

DiCroce, a South Hampton Roads native and lifelong Virginian, has devoted her career to public service. A proven leader in forging partnerships for the public good, DiCroce has been at the helm of TCC for nearly 14 years. She previously served for nine years as president of Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville.

During her tenure, TCC’s enrollment has nearly doubled with unprecedented programmatic expansion in both the college transfer and career/technical areas and a capital building program approaching $500 million. This past year, the college served almost 46,000 students ranking it among the largest and fastest growing community colleges in the nation.

A strong advocate for education as the great equalizer, DiCroce’s work in expanding the reach of higher education across workforce, gender, racial and cultural boundaries has led to TCC’s growth in areas such as African American graduation rates, now 10th in the nation, and service to the military, where TCC ranks in the top five in the nation.

Recognized widely with numerous awards, her recent honors include receiving the 2011 Darden Award for Regional Leadership from the Hampton Roads Civic Leadership Institute and being named an “Influential Woman of Virginia” in 2010 by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. DiCroce regularly makes the list of regional “power brokers,” this year appearing on Inside Business’s “power list” of 75 people who shape and influence Hampton Roads. In 2008, The Chronicle of Higher Education profiled her as one of 10 “Presidents Who Make a Real Difference.”

President DiCroce has served on state-wide commissions and committees under five Virginia governors. She is a past trustee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and a past chair of the Presidents Academy of the American Association of Community Colleges. A few years ago, she was elected chair of the Virginia Council of Presidents – marking the first time that a community college president has held the post. In 1995, DiCroce was invited as one of 20 college and university presidents nationally to meet with the president of the United States at the White House for a discussion on higher education.

Active in the community, DiCroce chaired the regional board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and the United Way’s 2002 regional campaign. She is currently completing a three-year term as chair of the Urban League’s Board of Directors. On July 1, she became chair of the Board of Directors for the Hampton Roads Partnership.

DiCroce holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Old Dominion University and a doctorate in higher education from The College of William and Mary. Retaining her faculty roots, she has held adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, The College of William and Mary and ODU.

In March of next year, DiCroce will step down as president of TCC and retire from state service. Calling it her “second act,” she will become president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

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Laurie White

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - served more than 46,000 students in 2010-11. The 16th highest associate-degree producer in the nation, TCC offers more than 150 programs including business administration, culinary arts, general studies, modeling and simulation, network security, nursing, and automotive technology. Among the fastest-growing two-year institutions in the United States, TCC was founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System. The college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk’s theater district, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth, the Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake, and the Regional Health Professions Center and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach, as well as the Regional Workforce Solutions Center in Suffolk. Forty-five percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit