Head of N.C. Community College System speaking at RCCC commencement Saturday
By Jeff Lowrance
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Almost 700 graduates will receive associate degrees, diplomas and certificates at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s 45th graduation ceremony Saturday.
The ceremony will take place at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, beginning at 10:30 a.m. with the procession of graduates. Guests are encouraged to arrive at the arena between 9 and 10 a.m. to ensure they are seated in time to see the procession.
The 698 graduates range in age from 16 to 69, with 67 percent female and 33 percent male. Fifty-four percent of the graduates live in Rowan County, 36 percent in Cabarrus County and 10 percent in surrounding counties. More than 60 percent of the graduates are employed, and 232 of them have graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus previously in other programs.
Dr. Scott Ralls, the new president of the North Carolina Community College System, will deliver the commencement address. With 58 colleges serving more than 800,000 students each year, the N.C. Community College System is the third largest in the United States.
When he assumed the presidency on May 1, Ralls became only the second system president, and the first in 30 years, to have served as a local North Carolina community college president.
From 2002 to 2008, Ralls worked as president of Craven Community College, with campuses in New Bern and Havelock. During his tenure, the college achieved record enrollment growth and gained recognition for innovations in technology-based workforce development.
Ralls has been actively involved in North Carolina’s early college and high school transformation initiatives, and Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the North Carolina New Schools Board.
Ralls also has worked with the British government in its review of Further Education colleges, England’s equivalent of community colleges, and in 2007, he was named the 10th honorary fellow of Warwickshire College.
Ralls holds a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Maryland. He is married to Lisa Rowe Ralls, and they have two sons.
John Cox, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, will provide the invocation and benediction. Dr. Richard Brownell, Rowan-Cabarrus’ retiring president, will officiate and present the college’s 2008 Distinguished Service Award to retiring board of trustees member and former Rowan County commissioner George C. Knox.
Graduation marshals will include Olivia Ackerman, Janie Aldrich, Amanda Barthell, Michelle Bethea, James Carter, Kristy Cloutier, James Hinson, Troy Lundgren, Tammy Lunsford, Ann Padilla, Sharday Pavone, Julie Scott, Mark Taylor, James Washer and Jessica Wilson.