Record Number of Graduates in Annual
The largest graduating class in the
history of Northeast Alabama Community College was honored May
13, 2011 in a ceremony held at the Northeast Alabama Agri-Business
Center in Rainsville. In all, two hundred and fifty-four
Northeast students received their associate degrees in a
ceremony attended by an estimated 4,500 guests.
“Our focus is to see students succeed in their goals,” stated
Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “Graduating from Northeast
is certainly a milestone for us and for these students.”
Tennessee Valley Authority President/CEO Tom Kilgore was the
commencement speaker for the ceremony. Kilgore, a native of Sand
Mountain, encouraged the graduates to make the best possible use
of their time. Among many thoughts expressed during his speech,
Kilgore stressed how important dependability is as a trait in
anyone’s personal and professional life. Kilgore told the
graduates that even though they were finishing college, they
would face many more “exams” in their lives and to always be
prepared for what lay ahead. On a personal note, Kilgore told
how growing up in the area, his father one summer had let him
work a part of their farm land and keep the profits. Kilgore
said that he used the money to buy a new set of encyclopedias
that he used to further educate himself before entering college.
to watch video of speech
As President/CEO of TVA, Kilgore manages an agency with more
than 12,000 employees and he oversees all operations of the
organization, including power production, resource management,
river navigation, and economic development. Kilgore’s wife,
Myra, also a native of Sand Mountain, attended the NACC
ceremony. During the ceremony, Campbell praised Kilgore and TVA
workers in their tireless efforts to restore power throughout
the Tennessee Valley following the storms. Campbell stated that
as the leader of TVA Kilgore was “the one who made this (power
restoration) happen.” Campbell noted that Kilgore is an
outstanding example of the character of the people from the
Northeast area and what they can achieve.
Mary Scott Hunter, Alabama State Board of Education
Representative from the Eighth District, also spoke to the
graduates. Hunter praised the graduates for their efforts in
completing their degrees and encouraged them in all future
endeavors. Campbell noted that Hunter had brought a relief team
to the Rainsville area following the storms.
During the ceremony NACC Dean of Students Tonie Niblett paid
tribute to two current and four former Northeast students who
lost their lives in the April 27th tornadoes in the state. Two
of the former and one of the current Northeast students were
killed in the tornado in Tuscaloosa during the storms. Dean
Niblett led those in attendance at graduation in silent prayer
in remembrance and honor of the students.
As a part of the graduation ceremony, the college conducted a
non-perishable food drive assisting those in need as a result of
the devastation from the tornadoes. The items were donated in
recognition of the NACC 2011 Graduating Class. NACC Presidential
Hosts collected the donated items.
NACC Student Government President Laura Kerby represented the
2011 Class during the ceremony. Other students honored included
Marvin Standekar, President’s Cup and All-Alabama Academic Team,
and Gwendolyn J. Allison-Wooten, All-Alabama Academic Team.
Other students were recognized for their academic achievement as
they were awarded their degrees during the ceremony.
Michael Bearden posthumously was awarded the Charles M. Pendley
Founder’s Chair Most Outstanding Faculty Member Award for
2010-2011. Bearden’s wife Tammy accepted the Award for him.
Bearden taught mathematics and physics at the college for nine
years. He passed away from a prolonged illness in March of 2011.
In presenting the Award, Lora Mae Davis, Chair of the Founder’s
Chair Committee, stated that Bearden possessed all the traits
that are reflected in the Award and that he was greatly admired
and respected by all who knew him. The award is financially
supported by the Board of Directors of the NACC Foundation.
Included among the graduates were fifty-nine NACC nursing
students who completed their academic degrees at the college.
Many students who graduated will join the workforce or transfer
on to complete baccalaureate degrees at colleges and
universities. The nursing students also went through a Pinning
Ceremony on the NACC campus earlier in the day.
“Our graduation was inspirational and reflective at the same
time,” Campbell stated. “I want to compliment our staff for so
conducting an event of this size and intensity with such
professionalism. Graduation was a very memorable evening for us
Two large screens flanked the stage to give
full view of the proceedings to all guests. Here, TVA CEO Tom
Kilgore delivers the commencement address.
The Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center
accommodated approximately 4,500 guests in addition to [L-R] the
NACC chorus, graduates, and faculty.