Proud of Our Graduates

Release Date: May 2022

Proud of Our Graduates

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Southside Virginia Community College will host an in-person commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2022, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The event will be held on the Christanna Campus in Alberta, and it will honor the accomplishments of students who are graduating from all SVCC locations.

Because of COVID restrictions during the past two years, this will be my first opportunity since becoming President at SVCC to participate in a live graduation and to shake the hands of students as they walk across the stage. I am excited for the opportunity to share this important moment with our students and their families.

SVCC will bestow nearly 1,000 academic awards to more than 800 individual graduates, including those who will earn Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees, Associate of Applied Science degrees, and Career Studies and other Certificates. In addition, more than 300 individuals in our workforce programs will receive industry-recognized credentials.

We will welcome several special guests. Dr. Christopher J. Parker, who served as the National Junior College Athletic Association President and Chief Executive Officer, will speak to our graduates, offering encouragement and guidance drawn from his vast leadership experiences. Mr. Harold W. Clarke, Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections, will receive an Associate Degree in Humane Letters, an honorary award recognizing his distinguished achievements in support of our Campus Within Walls program. Graduating SVCC student Anna Stinson will be recognized for being named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-USA All-Virginia Academic Team.

The ceremony’s highlight will, of course, feature our graduating students. As they take giant steps into the future, we joyfully celebrate their individual successes, and we acknowledge some mixed emotions as we prepare to say goodbye.

Saul Nunex understands. “Graduating has filled me with a rollercoaster of emotions,” he says, “but I am still looking forward to it because it means that all my hard work is finally paying off and I am being recognized for it.” Saul says his time at SVCC was a growing experience and an opportunity to rediscover himself. After graduation, he plans to enter the workforce.

Sakina Muhammad also feels excited about her next steps. She says, “To be graduating from SVCC means a new beginning. Coming fresh into college as a high school graduate, I was very unsure about what I wanted to do, and what I wanted my future to look like. I now have a clearer mind, and goals I want to achieve moving forward.” After graduation, Sakina plans to continue her studies, pursuing a degree in biology on her way to becoming a Physician’s Assistant.

Another graduating student, Canisha Glasgow, sums up her experience. “Graduating from SVCC means a lot to me because, as a single mother, I was able to work while taking courses online to complete my Associates degree.” She credits the faculty and staff for helping her excel. “I am at my best and looking forward to all the great opportunities SVCC has prepared me for.” Canisha plans to continue her education at Old Dominion University where she will pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services.

Each student who will walk across the stage has his or her own personal story of overcoming obstacles and achieving triumphs. I am immensely proud of all them all and grateful to have shared in their journeys.

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Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

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