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“I definitely got my money’s worth at TCC.” – Student Speaker Jacob Ramirez

Jacob Ramirez found his career path in computer engineering at Tidewater Community College.

A 2021 graduate of Salem High School, Jacob wanted to stay close to home for college. He enrolled at TCC’s Virginia Beach Campus to study engineering. While there, he took computer engineering classes and found his purpose.

“I thought I was going to be a music person. That changed when I was able to fix a hinge on a shower door at my house. That’s what got me thinking about engineering and then it all came together at TCC,” he said.

This May, Jacob, 21, is earning an Associate of Science in Engineering. Jacob is the Speaker for the Graduates and will share his story during the 76th Commencement Exercises on May 8.

While at TCC Jacob participated in the STEM and Engineering Clubs. He also competed in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Robotics competition with a team from TCC that took third place nationwide. Those experiences helped him learn to work on a team and offered hands-on training for his chosen career field.

“I gained experience in designing and problem-solving and learned how to actually build something,” he said. “We do this in class, but the clubs and activities take it to a whole other level.”

Jacob expanded his learning at the college by including musical studies. He was part of TCC’s Jazz band and took several music classes. An experienced band member from Salem High, Jacob is proud to become a member of the Virginia Tech marching band next fall.

“There’s a lot of learning to be done at TCC,” Jacob said. “I had the chance to interact with a diverse student body, making me more well-rounded as a student and a future computer engineer.”

A member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools, Jacob holds a perfect 4.0 GPA at TCC. “I enjoyed the people at TCC, the professors, the community. It was better than I could have imagined,” he said.

Jacob will transfer to Virginia Tech in the fall of 2023. He will be a junior in the computer engineering baccalaureate program.

A Virginia Beach native, Jacob gained lifelong friends at TCC, and three of them will attend Virginia Tech alongside him.

“I definitely got my money’s worth at TCC. But the best part is that I’m ready for the next steps,” Jacob said. “And I have a group of friends that are joining me on the journey. What could be better than that!”

TCC celebrates graduates during winter ceremony

During Tidewater Community Colleges 75th Commencement Exercises, Councilwoman and Graduation Speaker Delceno Miles had graduates lock arms and share a message of encouragement.

Together they shouted, “I am tenacious and talented. I am committed. I am capable. I am TCC. We are TCC!”  You can see graduates in action here.

With cheers and laughter, graduates prepared to cross the stage as their degrees and certificates were conferred by President Marcia Conston.

The afternoon ceremony was held on Dec. 19 at Chartway Arena on the campus of Old Dominion University with more than 1350 graduates and their families in attendance.

The speaker for the graduates, Harvey Miller III, 22, who completed an Associate of Science in Liberal Arts, has his sights set on the U.S. Senate. He will continue his studies in political science and English at ODU or William and Mary.

Student Speaker Harvy Miller III.

Miller found success at TCC after failing at higher education the first time around. He calls himself the “Comeback Kid” and says that his initial failure was the catalyst for his success today.

“I needed to fail so I had a reason to change,” Harvey said. “I started working at a 7-Eleven, relishing the hard work and taquitos, and saving money so I could realize my dream of returning to school.”

Miller said, “I learned our greatest gift in this life is that failure and loss, trials and tribulations are not the end.”

Speaker Delceno Miles dedicated her message as a thank you and tribute to her mother, who was fiercely committed to the success of her children and instilled a love of community in them.

“We are her legacy, just as you are the legacy of those who came before you. You are the fulfillment of their dreams and prayers and perhaps your own dreams and prayers as well,” she said. “You are laying a foundation with your success at TCC for those who will someday follow you.”

Miles continued by saying, “This is a Commencement so you can commence with your dreams and aspirations. TCC was just a stop along the way to equip you for your destiny.”

Councilwoman Miles, a long-time friend of TCC, donates $5,000 to the college in support of student scholarships and more.

At the end of her remarks, Miles presented TCC with a $5,000 donation in support of student scholarships and more.

The ceremony continued as families and friends cheered and snapped photos. Graduates joined a TCC alumni network of 100,000 and counting. 

If you missed graduation, you can watch the TCC livestream.

TCC to hold its spring graduation exercises in person at Chartway Arena

For the second time since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Tidewater Community College will hold its commencement exercises in person. This year’s ceremony will be held on May 9 at 6 p.m. at Chartway Arena on the campus of Old Dominion University.

There is still time for current graduates to apply for graduation by using this form. For information about participating in Commencement, please visit here.

More than 1,300 students will graduate, including 143 students who have earned degrees or certificates one month before completing high school thanks to dual enrollment.

The Speaker for the Graduates is Allison Wilson, a dual enrollment student from Churchland High School. At 17, she is earning an Associate of Science in Social Science.

Allison Wilson on TCC’s Portsmouth Campus.

“Coming to TCC while still in high school was a great way to get started on college and save money. I had a great support system with my parents and grandparents,” Wilson said. “I gained study skills that will take me through all my years in college.”

In the fall, Wilson is transferring to William and Mary where she will study English and pre-law. She hopes to attend law school and one day be a state prosecutor.

The graduation speaker is TCC Board Chair Cynthia “Cindy” Free. A TCC alum, Free began her academic journey on the Virginia Beach Campus earning an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy in 1986. A Hampton Roads native, Free is a member of the Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists Physical Therapy team. At the practice she manages and coordinates industrial rehabilitation, workers compensation, return to work practices, disability examinations, inventory, quality standards, students and personnel matters.

In September 2015, the Virginia Beach City Council appointed Free to the TCC College Board. Since her appointment, she has participated in commencement exercises, college convocations, Virginia Community College System legislative receptions, dedications, groundbreakings and other college events. In addition, Free has actively served on the College Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee, the Executive Committee, chaired the Advocacy Committee and TCC Educational Foundation, as well as served as Board chair since 2019.

Free has a passion for dance and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has danced at ODU and at the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center.

Commencement will be streamed live at

For more information about graduation, visit here or call 757-822-1111.