RCCC celebrates 1,235 graduates during 59th commencement ceremony

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 21, 2023

RCCC News Service

CONCORD — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College celebrated the Class of 2023 at its 59th Graduation Ceremony on Saturday, May 13, at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center.

“We were excited to return to the Cabarrus Arena for our graduation ceremony as we celebrated the accomplishments of the Class of 2023,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “It’s been a long journey of navigating our way through the COVID-19 pandemic — keeping our distance, managing how many people can gather and tracking community health levels. It felt great to finally be able to come together and celebrate under one roof.”

There were 1,235 students eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony who earned associate degrees, diplomas and certificates and 125 High School Equivalency/adult high school students who completed their diplomas during the fall 2022, spring 2023 and summer 2022 academic terms. Approximately 500 curriculum and High School Equivalency/adult high school graduates participated in the ceremony.

The event honored students completing one of the college’s transfer degree programs (associate in arts, associate in fine arts in visual arts, associate in engineering or associate in science) and the associate in general education, as well as those eligible for specific program diplomas and certificates, and those who have completed high school equivalency or adult high school requirements.

The graduates ranged in age from 17 to 66 (average age is 23), with 66% female and 34% male. Thirty-five percent of the graduates live in Rowan County, with 49 percent from Cabarrus County and 16 percent in other counties.

Graduates participated in a traditional ceremony, wearing their caps, gowns and honorary regalia with family, friends and other guests seated in the audience. The college streamed the ceremony live on its Facebook page.

Gabrielle Brown, president of the Rowan-Cabarrus Student Government Association, was the commencement speaker. Brown is a Rowan County native and a 2021 graduate of the Rowan County Homeschool Association. She graduated with an associate in arts degree and plans to transfer to Catawba College to pursue a degree in political science and pre-law studies. She aspires to attend law school and become an attorney.

During her speech, Brown reminded her fellow graduates, “When you made a choice to attend Rowan-Cabarrus, you said yes to exciting possibilities. But signing up for classes or even walking across this stage is not what got you your degree. You accomplished this by showing up every day and taking small steps to get you where you wanted to go.” She continued, “Those daily choices were an investment in yourself, your future, and the generations to come. This investment in your education will change the trajectory of your life and that of your family for generations to come.”

In addition to celebrating graduates, the college also recognized its nominees for three prestigious community college state awards:

  • Terra Daisy, Academic Excellence Award
  • Brielle Long, the North Carolina Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee
  • Jeremy Post, the Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award nominee

Two outstanding faculty members also were recognized as winners of the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award:

  • Jessica Fowler, Excellence in Teaching Award recipient for full-time faculty
  • Laura Collander, Excellence in Teaching Award recipient for part-time faculty

Spalding added, “It was an honor to hand the graduates of the Class of 2023 their diplomas.” “They have so much to celebrate and should be so very proud of their accomplishment. I wish them the greatest success as they continue to navigate forward.”

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, go to www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).