John Cox to replace RCCC commencement speaker
John Cox, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be the commencement speaker at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s 45th graduation ceremony Saturday.
Cox will replace Scott Ralls, the new president of the North Carolina Community College System. Ralls will be unable to attend due to a death in his family.
Almost 700 graduates will receive associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. 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, with 36 percent from Cabarrus County and 10 percent from surrounding counties. More than 60 percent of the graduates are employed, and 232 of them have graduated from RCCC previously in other programs.
Cox is the president and CEO for both the Cabarrus Regional Partnership and the 1,100-member Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. He worked with Cabarrus County government, the five Cabarrus municipalities, the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation, the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau and six private businesses to found the Cabarrus Regional Partnership.
Prior to joining the Cabarrus Regional Chamber as CEO in 2001, Cox served 10 years as president and CEO of the Paulding County, Ga., Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Building Authority and Airport Authority. During his tenure there, the chamber grew from 160 to nearly 1,000 members.
His community leadership has earned Cox multiple awards, including the 600 Award presented by Speedway Motorsports Inc. for outstanding contribution to auto racing, the 2006 and 2007 North Carolina Motorsports Association Economic Developer of the Year Award, and the 2005 Goldmine Toastmasters Club Communication and Leadership Award.
Cox earned a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln Christian College in Lincoln, Ill. He holds a master’s of divinity and is a doctoral candidate at Lincoln Christian Seminary. He is a certified economic development professional, with credentials from the International Economic Development Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management, and American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association. He is married to Deanna Bryant Cox, and they have a son and daughter.
Cox also will provide the invocation and benediction. Richard Brownell, RCCC president, will officiate. Brownell also will present RCCC’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.