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TCC announces annual award winners

Tidewater Community College announces recognition of five of its own with annual special awards that honor the quality and achievements of select faculty and staff from across the college.

Sean LaCroixProfessor of the Year Award

Virginia Beach resident Sean LaCroix, professor of economics, received this peer award established by the TCC Faculty Senate to recognize teaching excellence. He joined TCC in 2006 to follow his passion for teaching. “I enjoy interacting with students, learning about their dreams and helping them accomplish them, even if in some small way,” he said. LaCroix developed a new course for the college, International Economics (ECO 210), and is a member of the faculty team for the “Z Degree” – “z” for TCC’s unique zero-texbook degree program in business management and administration. He directed a U.S. Department of Education grant project designed to globalize TCC’s business degree. He serves as a new faculty mentor and a faculty general education assessment grader. He also works with the Richmond Federal Reserve and is a self-proclaimed lifelong learner who routinely takes courses at Old Dominion University to enhance his knowledge and generate more content for the classroom.

Judy CookSpecial Achievement Award

Norfolk resident Judith Cook, radiography program clinical coordinator and instructor at the Virginia Beach Campus, is passionate about the radiography profession and ensuring students meet program requirements and follow the rules necessary for quality patient care. She promotes TCC through the community by attending career days and science fairs and models professionalism through individual tutoring and professional society involvement. Cook started at TCC as a clinical instructor and adjunct faculty member in May 1989 and assumed her current position in 1993. In addition to her scheduling and mentoring role, she is an instructor who specializes in radiographic imaging. “I love the student interaction at TCC; to me they’re my children,” she said. “I am concerned with each and every one of them and how they succeed in life. I find myself being a mentor, counselor and mediator.”

Kathy GauseAdjunct Faculty Award of Excellence

Virginia Beach resident Kathleen Gause earned this award from TCC’s Faculty Senate. Gause teaches business classes face-to-face and online, favoring international business. “I love inspiring students and motivating them to learn more about global business,” said Gause, who previously developed modules under the TCC Business and International Exchange grant. She is involved in governance through the Global and Intercultural Learning Committee and Network for Empowering Women Students, an advisory committee to the Women’s Center. “I have been to Africa and China and love sharing my educational experience with my students,” she said. Gause is currently at work on a doctorate in international studies at Old Dominion University. 

Emanuel ChestnutAdministrative Employee of the Year

Suffolk resident Emanuel Chestnut received this award established by TCC’s Administrative Association. He is a retired senior chief with the U.S. Navy and currently serves as interim dean of student services at the Norfolk Campus. Chestnut has worked on all four of TCC’s campuses, starting as an intern at the Portsmouth Campus, a part-time counselor at the Chesapeake and Norfolk Campuses and later serving as coordinator/counselor in the veterans affairs office at the Virginia Beach Campus and director of military student support services at TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education. His passion is student success. “I never miss a graduation because watching students succeed and grow – that’s what this work is all about,” he said. Chestnut is the “adopted” father figure for dozens of current and former TCC students. He is the founding advisor for the Student African American Brotherhood mentoring program, which launched at the Virginia Beach Campus in 2010 and now has a college-wide presence. Chestnut was recognized in 2011 with the college’s Martin Luther King, Jr. College Distinguished Service Award.    

Sarah SwagerSupport Staff Employee of the Year

Virginia Beach resident Sarah Swager received this award for 38 years of distinguished service. She joined TCC in 1976 as an administrative assistant for the dean of humanities and social science at the Portsmouth Campus. She became manager of the TCC Information Center in 1997. “It’s our privilege to help students navigate the admissions, financial aid and program selection process,” she said. “In this day of technology, we are happy to be the voice on the line, or the email answer for both current and prospective students.” Under Swager, the Information Center recently launched a call center for financial aid support and an online specialist to answer urgent questions. She was part of the implementation team for the Student Information System and manages the online support for students using that system.