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“You really can go anywhere from TCC,” Norfolk mayor tells graduates

The week before Christmas, Tidewater Community College celebrated its graduates with an evening commencement and inspiring words from newly elected Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander.
man in cap and gown speaks at podium
Keynote speaker Kenny Alexander

“I stand here as proof you can really go anywhere from TCC,” said Mayor Alexander, who attended John Tyler Community College in Chester prior to transferring to Old Dominion University to earn his bachelor’s in political science. “I’m standing here as a community college graduate and mayor of Norfolk.”

Alexander was the keynote speaker for the college’s 63rd Commencement Exercises, held Dec. 19 at Old Dominion University’s Ted Constant Convocation Center. Among the recipients of associate degrees or certificates was 15-year-old Morgan Wilson, TCC’s youngest-ever graduate. 

With parents David and Erin, brother Colin and a boisterous cheering section of Governor’s School for the Arts friends watching, Wilson crossed the stage to receive her Associate of Science in General Studies.

Wilson soared through her home-school high school curriculum by the age of 12 and finished at TCC with a GPA of 4.0.

President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani asked her to take a bow, and a beaming Wilson obliged.

“We are proud of Morgan and wish her great success when she transfers this fall to a four-year college to complete her bachelor’s degree,” Kolovani said.

Alexander congratulated all of the graduates, encouraging them to be smart in their decision-making skills and always, always be a beacon of hope for others.

“You are the next generation of leaders. Use the skills and training you’ve gotten here at TCC,” he said. “When darkness comes, be a light.”

woman in cap and gown speaks at podium
Student speaker Stephanie Lawrence

Navy veteran Stephanie Lawrence of Portsmouth delivered the student address. Lawrence used her GI Bill benefits at TCC and balanced being the mother of five children with a full load of course work. She will remain at the college to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing concurrently while earning her bachelor’s in nursing from ODU.

“Today is not the end; it’s only the beginning,” said Lawrence, graduating with a 3.9 GPA. “I challenge each of you to take all that you have learned here at TCC, and move forward with those experiences. Show the world what you know and what you can achieve.”

Each graduate received a pin from TCC’s Alumni Council and joined a network of 100,000-plus alumni.