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TCC celebrates graduates

Tidewater Community College has graduated more than 2,000 students this spring. On Wednesday evening, about 900 of them walked across the Ted Constant Convocation Center stage to receive associate degrees or certificates during TCC’s 56th commencement exercises.

Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani , president of TCC since July, presided over her first spring ceremony. John Broderick, president of Old Dominion University, was the keynote speaker.

“As you reflect on your TCC years, whether it was two years or longer, remember what it took to get to this point,” Broderick said. “That same formula will be required to get to your next goal, whether it’s more education, a job or probably both.”

Broderick urged the students to broaden their horizons by bringing people into their lives who encourage them and challenge their thinking.

“Enlarge your sphere of influence, and become an active part of society,” he said.

He closed by telling the graduates they had his personal admiration for their achievements. “To me the community college graduate is a greater part of the American educational system success story because of the diverse pasts and challenges you must walk to obtain a degree.”

After students had their moment on the stage, Barbara St. Jean delivered the student address.  An aspiring minister, the 63-year-old St. Jean earned her associate in social science and plans to transfer to Virginia Wesleyan College. She reminded students to persevere in the face of every obstacle.

“There are times when we think we cannot do something, so we don’t take the risk,” St. Jean said. “Being forced to take a risk can help us discover new experiences and capabilities. In taking that risk, we step outside that comfort zone and learn we can grow.”

As they exited the stage, students were presented with pins signifying their new membership in the TCC Alumni Association. Gerald Ortiz, president of the alumni association, closed the event by reminding graduates that they will always be members of the TCC community and welcoming them to actively participate in the association.