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TCC grad achieves lifetime goal of a college education

Debbi Gilbert always thought about going to college and knew that one day she would. It was just a matter of time.

Gilbert has worked as a bookkeeper for 25 years and she came to Tidewater Community College to prepare for a new career.

This Monday, May 10, Gilbert will graduate from TCC with an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management. Next year she will begin work on a bachelor’s degree in human resources at the State University of New York (SUNY), thanks to a matriculation agreement between TCC and SUNY.

“I always wanted to go to college and get a degree,” Gilbert says, “But I was a B and C student in high school. However, I’ve had straight A’s at TCC—only one B!”

Gilbert credits her son Tyler’s experience at TCC as the push she needed to get started. Tyler completed an associate degree in engineering at TCC in 2016 and then transferred to Virginia Tech, earning a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering in 2019.

Convenient scheduling, easy access to four campuses for classes, and top-flight professors and advisors have made Gilberts’ experience at TCC all she could have hoped for. A personal shout-out from Gilbert goes to Angela Slaughter, professor in the Business, Computer Science and IT Pathway, who put together informal meetings for her students, giving them a forum for ideas and business-related interests.

And Gilbert knows a thing or two about business, with over two decades in the workforce and most recently as an intern in the human resources office of United States Coast Guard Community Services Command.

Besides her studies at TCC, Gilbert is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools. She also shares her time with the Community Feed at TCC. To date, she has collected over a thousand pounds of food and a few hundred dollars in donations.

The Gilberts near their home in Norfolk.

As TCC’s commencement ceremony will stream live on YouTube on May 10 at 6 pm, Gilbert and her family will gather to witness her achievement.