DDCC graduates 1,120

Published 12:25 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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Davidson-Davie Community College celebrated 1,120 graduates in commencement ceremonies at the Davidson Campus.

The college awarded 1,365 credentials – including 610 associate degrees, 126 diplomas, and 629 certificate and pathway completions.The number 1,120 signified a “magic number” in the eyes of Jenny Varner, president of the college.

In her first graduation as president following her appointment in November, she noted the large graduating class represented not only 1,120 unique sets of talent, across hundreds of careers – it represented so much more.

“You represent the future of our community, the future of our small businesses, our healthcare system and emergency responders, our manufacturing industries and skilled trades, our childcare centers and schools, and so much more,” Varner said. “We say ‘the future is here’ when we encourage students to come to Davidson-Davie Community College, and now the future is yours.”

Davidson-Davie celebrated turning 60 last year, and Varner observed how far the college has come. “Thanks to local citizens back in the early 1960s who believed that we needed a higher education option here, this tract of land was obtained. …We opened our doors with 125 students and within a year had our first graduation ceremony,” Varner said. “There were about 75 people total – graduates and their guests – at the reception following that first ceremony. … Compare that to 1,120 graduates today.”

The college has consistently been recognized as one of the top high-performing and award-winning colleges in the state, noted Bill Steed, chair of the Board of Trustees. He expressed appreciation to the college family – including students, faculty and staff, as well as trustees, the Foundation Board and members of the community. “We are the community’s college, here to meet the needs of all who walk in our doors and committed to helping our community thrive,” he said.

The college honored several students during the ceremony, including the first Hartness Student Success Scholarship, in memory of the college’s late president, Dr. Darrin Hartness, who passed away last summer. The inaugural winner is Emma McDaniel, who earned an associate in arts degree in teacher preparation.

Following the conferral of degrees, Valeria Muñoz Cabral, Student Government president, remarked the importance of the occasion, adding that commencement is a time to celebrate accomplishments and start a new chapter. “Life is all about risk, and whether you start early or late, you should always, as Norman Vincent Peale says, ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,’” Cabral said. “I love to tell this to anyone willing to listen. Live in the moment and enjoy everything you are doing, because it’s worth it in the end. …I assure you, this is just the beginning of something beautiful.”