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Nearly 2,300 graduate in inaugural ceremony for TCC president

Tidewater Community College’s 55th commencement, held Dec. 20, 2012, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, recognized nearly 2,300 students who earned associate degrees or certificates conferred by President Edna Baehre-Kolovani. It was the inaugural graduation ceremony for Baehre-Kolovani, who became the fifth president of the college in July.

TCC alumnus and Norfolk native Raymond Mattes, president and chief operating officer of Retail Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads, delivered the keynote address, sharing his personal journey that saw him evolve from being a troubled youth to the leader of a multimillion-dollar nonprofit. After earning his associate degree from TCC, Mattes received a “mini-MBA” from Old Dominion University’s Executive Development Center.

“Without my TCC experience, I would not be here today,” Mattes said. “TCC instilled the confidence that allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin and a sense of self worth that created a foundation that enabled me to build on. TCC taught me that I could think, that I could write, but more importantly, that I could compete in the classroom.”

After the degrees and certificates had been conferred, Tammy Forbes Gül delivered the student address, crediting the college’s dedicated faculty for her success, which includes graduating with an associate of science degree and a 4.0 grade-point average.

“This has been an experience that I will never forget,” said Gül, who will continue her education at Regent University. “I know that the impact of this journey will help guide me as it will guide all of us in our future endeavors.”

Gerald Ortiz, president of the TCC Alumni Association, reminded the college’s newest alumni to stay connected to the school by becoming active members, and the ceremony closed with the singing of the alma mater.