In honor of the largest graduating class in the history of the College, Blue Ridge Community College hosted two in-person graduation commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 14. This spring, 299 graduates earned 321 credentials, including 218 degrees, 97 certificates and six diplomas.

During her opening remarks to the graduates, Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood lauded them for persevering to reach the milestone day.

“You’ve gained the tools and the know-how to make things happen,” she said. “You’ve shown the determination to achieve. Now, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. You did the hard work, and now you will have the credentials to prove it.”

Commencement speaker and Blue Ridge Trustee Jim Rasmussen concluded his address with a challenge to practice gratitude.

“A thankful mindset helps us have a more positive impact on others. A thankful mindset helps us see a brighter future. A thankful mindset helps us reach for that brighter future,” he said.

During the ceremonies, two individual graduates were honored for earning prestigious academic awards. Grant Billingsley was honored for his selection as Blue Ridge Community College’s Academic Excellence Award winner and Paralee Cox was recognized for earning the North Carolina Community College System’s Dallas Herring Achievement Award. Leatherwood also expressed pride in those who worked to instruct and support the graduates along their journeys.

“This is a proud moment,” she said to the graduates, “and not just for you, but for your friends, your family, your scholarship donors, and your instructors. They invested in you, believed in you, hoped for you, and cheered for you.”

The following students from Transylvania County graduated:

•Jenna Aiken, College Transfer;

•Biancamaria Arredondo-Walsh, Office Administration;

•Jennifer Boldin, Information Technology-Data Management;

•Vicki Brogden, Office Administration-Medical Office;

•Lucas Brooks, Information Technology-Support & Services;

•Talyn Clark, College Transfer;

•Derek Clement, Associate Degree Nursing;

•Cole Combs, Computer-Integrated Machining-CNC Milling Operator, Computer-Integrated Machining-CNC Turning Operator;

•Claire Dysart, Associate Degree Nursing;

•Matthew English, Computer-Integrated Machining;

•Natalie Fletcher, Visual Arts;

•Justine Folston, Automotive Systems Technology-Chassis Technician, Automotive Systems Technology-Driveline Performance, Automotive Systems Technology-Electrical/Electronic Technician, Automotive Systems Technology-Engine Performance, Automotive Systems Technology-Mobile Equipment Technician;

•Heather Goede, Information Technology-Computer Programming & Development;

•James Gravely, Information Technology-Network Management;

•Richard Grissom, Associate Degree Nursing;

•Joshua Hoxit, Horticulture Technology;

•Karie Jones, Nursing.

•Miles Loomis, Welding Technology-Basic Welding;

•Makenna Mann, Associate Degree Nursing;

•Garrett Norris, Welding Technology;

•Madison Riffe, Associate Degree Nursing;

•Vanessa Roberts, Accounting & Finance-Payroll;

•Victor Sims, Computer-Integrated Machining-Machinist Entry;

•Cindy Suarez-Alarcon, Criminal Justice Technology;

•Baxter Swicegood, College Transfer;

•Sydney Tomlin, College Transfer;

•Abby Warren, College Transfer; and

•Langston Wilkes, Horticulture Technology.

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