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Northeast Alabama Community College Foundation Announces 2023 Holiday Gala

November 06, 2023

Pictured is a scene from last year's Holiday Gala.

The Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) Foundation Board invites all to attend the annual Holiday Gala. This year’s Holiday Gala will be held on Thursday, December 14th at 6:00 p.m. in the William M Beck & Fine Arts Building (NACC gymnasium). Karrin Ridley will be honored as this year’s Northeast Alabama Community College Alumna of the Year.

NACC President Dr. David Campbell invites anyone to attend this great community event. “Our Foundation Gala is one of the college’s most popular and fun events and it is all for a great cause -scholarships for students.  We welcome your attendance!” stated Dr. Campbell.

This year’s Holiday Gala will feature a Mocktail and Mingle social time. Event-goers can also check out the 360-degree photo booth and other holiday-themed photo areas during the social time. Mix and mingle with your friends and enjoy the decorations and music.

Dinner and welcome will begin at 6:45 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the NACC Mustang String Band.

The NACC Foundation would like to invite all graduates, students, and friends of the College to show their support by purchasing a seat to the Holiday Gala. “Every year we wonder how we can make the Holiday Gala bigger, how we can make it better, and how we can make it more beautiful, “stated Heather Smith, Development Director.  “Then the team meets, the creativity starts to flow, and the magic happens.  It is so very exciting to be a part of an event that excites the community.”

As stated above by Ms. Smith, the NACC Gym undergoes a massive makeover each holiday season. “Our decorators create a wonderland for all who attend and there always is a happy, festive atmosphere at the event,” said Dr. Campbell.

“The Foundation Holiday Gala is always an exciting event filled with beautiful decorations, great food, and music provided by our own NACC Mustang String Band,” stated Heather Smith, NACC Development Director. 

Each year, the Foundation Board recognizes Northeast alumni at the Holiday Gala. This year’s Alumna of the Year is Karrin Ridley. Karrin serves as the Site Operations Manager for Global Server Operations at the Google Widows Creek Data Center in Bridgeport. She is a 2003 graduate of Northeast.

Karrin was raised in Stevenson and graduated from North Jackson High School. She attended college while working full-time and raising a family. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from NACC with an associate in applied science degree in Computer Information Systems in 2003. She returned to NACC a few years later to take more courses before transferring to Athens State University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2012. While at NACC she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Mu Alpha Theta. She first discovered her interest in and aptitude for technology while enrolled in an Introduction to Computer Science course at NACC.

“NACC is a community treasure,” said Mrs. Ridley. “It is an affordable and accessible school where you can learn the skills you need to succeed in the workforce and achieve your dreams. NACC is also more than just a place to get a degree. It's a place to grow as an individual and make a difference in your community.”

She began her career at Google in January 2019 as a Data Center Technician and worked her way up to a management position. She has had an outstanding career thus far, rising through the levels at an accelerated pace. She is now Co-Site Lead at Google’s Data Center in Bridgeport Alabama. She leads a team of Operations Managers and Data Center Technicians to deliver and maintain critical data center infrastructure. During her time at Google, she has worked in hardware maintenance, networking, and with software engineering teams, before advancing into management.

In this role, Karrin is committed to working with NACC to help develop local talent in the technology field. She has been involved in building a partnership between NACC and the Jackson County School system to cultivate interest and excitement in STEM related careers for younger students. This relationship is just beginning and promises to continue growing for years to come.

Karrin has a passion for philanthropy. For over a decade, she used her influence as a Zumba instructor to provide many philanthropic endeavors benefitting her local community. She has given multiple scholarships to high school graduates, held annual Zumbathons to raise money for the Beauty and the Beast Breast Cancer Fund in Jackson County, held annual food drives for Thanksgiving and annual fundraisers for the Christmas Charities programs in Stevenson and Bridgeport. She also held various fundraisers to benefit the Salvation Army and local cancer patients.

She is an active member of the Stevenson Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where she is an elder and previously served as Director of Vacation Bible School and a Sunday School teacher. She has a love for her community and is dedicated to making a positive impact on the area.

For those wishing to participate in this year’s Gala, Patron Tables are available to purchase for $600.00 each. Individual seats may be purchased for $80.00. All funds raised for the Holiday Gala support the mission of the College and benefit scholarships for students. 

For more information about the Holiday Gala or to reserve your seat, please contact Heather Smith at 256.638.4418 ext. 2301 or Rachael Graham at 256.638.4418 ext. 2391. To learn more about NACC, visit


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