RCC recognizes 700 graduates during annual commencement

Rappahannock Community College’s 46th commencement celebration was held May 11 on the Warsaw Campus. Some 700 students earned diplomas or certificates.

President Dr. Elizabeth H. Crowther set the stage for the evening by highlighting the accomplishments of her school, including the scholarships the RCC Educational Foundation gives each year, the new military friendly status and the high ranking of the nursing program.

She also highlighted the achievement of the technology department, announcing that the team earned a Digital Community Colleges Survey honor for being the #2 ranked community college for using a range of technologies to improve services.

Brittany Ward of Gloucester, a graduate of the Class of 2018 shared her story of failure, success and leadership as she pursued her goal of becoming a professional nurse.

 Ward’s story inspired many, including U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who referenced her journey more than once during his keynote address.

Sen. Warner shared how he failed at “life” three times before getting involved in the development of the cellular industry and thanks to hard work and insight, he was able to help form the NEXTEL corporation, which eventually was acquired by Sprint.

“Through my success in business and success in politics, none of that would have been possible if I had not I hadn’t been willing to try, but also to take the consequences of failure,” said Sen. Warner.

 “As Brittany said, there is nothing wrong with failure, as long as you’re able to get back up and get back into the game,” he said. “I hope you’ll take those same kinds of chances and risks as well.”

 Throughout his story, Sen. Warner shared three points that he wanted the graduates to hear and remember. Not fearing failure, staying engaged in the national conversation and political process and never “forget to call your mother.”

“The truth is—you didn’t get here alone,” said Sen. Warner. “There’s someone out there in the crowd who encouraged you along the way.”

 “After [graduation], go find them. Don’t tweet them, don’t Snap chat them, don’t Facebook them … go find them and thank them and tell them that you love them,” he said.

 Crowther also honored longtime English professor Glenda Lowery of Tappahannock, proclaiming her a professor emeritus, in honor of her 37 years of service.