The week before Christmas, Tidewater Community College celebrated its newest graduates at the 69th Fall Commencement Exercises at Chartway Arena inside Norfolk’s Ted Constant Convocation Center.
The evening graduation on Dec. 16 was the final one presided over by interim President Gregory T. DeCinque. Marcia Conston, sitting in the stands with her husband, Clidell and daughter Mahari, will assume the presidency on Jan. 6, 2020.
“We look forward to your leadership and dedication to TCC’s mission,” President DeCinque said.
In addition, President DeCinque asked for applause for physics Professor David Wright, a viral video sensation over the last few days thanks to a student tweet with 25 million views and counting.
“David, you clearly love what you do, and you convey that passion to your students. You are one of the many TCC faculty worth the price of admission,” DeCinque quipped.
The speaker for the graduates, Lauren Lewis, just 18, has already completed an Associate of Science in Social Sciences. Recipient of the Outstanding High School Graduate Award, she entered TCC with 16 credits thanks to taking dual enrollment classes while in high school.
“You can’t underestimate what you are capable of,” said Lewis, who graduated from Churchland High at age 16. “To me, TCC has contributed to that mindset, and I am sure that is true for most of us.
“With TCC as your foundation, you can go anywhere!”
Lewis’ “anywhere” is Norfolk State University. She plans to be a pediatric nurse.
Keynote speaker Scott Miller, the president of Virginia Wesleyan University, urged the graduates to savor the evening’s moment.
“The hours upon hours you pored over books and laptops after working all day or all night have all been worth it,” he said. “Take a deep breath and sigh of relief.”
Miller told the graduates “You’re highly motivated critical thinkers, leaders and learners. You’re generators of good ideas and perceptive insights. You love your 757 community and contribute to it in many ways. We’re inspired by your example of hard work and commitment to ambition and success.”
Miller echoed what Lewis said, “From here, you truly can go anywhere. It’s my sincere hope that I’ll see you there soon.”
As families and friends cheered and snapped photos, graduates crossed the stage and joined a TCC alumni network of 100,000 and counting.
If you missed graduation, watch the TCC livestream here.