MTC: More Than 2,500 Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates Awarded to Proud Graduates

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Thousands of proud MTC students and family members filled auditoriums this graduation season celebrating commencement exercises and pinning ceremonies honoring the hard work and achievements of Midlands Technical College students. In one of the largest graduating classes in history, MTC awarded more than 2,500 degrees, diplomas, and certificates to students from more than 100 academic programs at the college’s 2017 Commencement.

“It was an honor to present diplomas to the class of 2017 and to share this special event with their friends and families,” said MTC President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “They have earned the respect and admiration of the college’s faculty, staff, and Commissioners. I congratulate them all for their determination.”

Sarah Donnelley, president of the MTC Student Advisory Board, addressed the graduating class. She told the audience about the success of one of her classmates who persevered as a full-time student despite working, raising two children, and facing family struggles.

“My classmate is completing her degree and doing something for herself and her daughters, after so many years of serving everyone else’s wishes,” said Donnelly. “I respect her more than anything, and she has shown me what pure determination can achieve. She did it. We did it. I am so proud of each and every one of us. Whether you chose MTC for the small classes, the many opportunities, or the talented instructors, I hope you were, as I was, completely satisfied with the entire experience the college provided.”

The May 5, 2017 commencement speaker was Joseph “Hilik” Shenkar, Assistant Solicitor, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Midlands Technical College’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus. A native of Israel, he attended Midlands Technical College while becoming a naturalized citizen and earned his Associate in Arts degree.

“It takes a special school, such as the one you are graduating from today, to recognize the needs of its students, and to provide them with the right tools so they can achieve and become,” Shenkar told the graduating class. “For that, I’ll be forever thankful for MTC.”

“Take your education and experience and go out there and improve upon yourself,” he said. “Take it out there and improve upon our city and our beautiful state, and take it out there and improve upon the greatest nation on Earth, the United States of America.”

Also last week, hundreds of MTC Nursing and Health Science students received their professional pins for completing their academic programs and passing their national board exams. The Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), Registered Nursing (RN), Radiologic Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, and Dental Hygiene graduates all received their pins. The MTC RN graduates surpassed the national and state averages for test results, receiving a 92% passage rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

“The loudest applause received for each candidate came when the moderator announced where the student was to be employed. Our Health Sciences graduates are valued as compassionate employees who join their healthcare teams ready to work,” said Dr. Martha Hanks, Associate Vice President for Career Programs. 

Pinning ceremonies date back to 1860 when Florence Nightingale was honored with a pin for her selfless efforts to injured soldiers. By 1916, it became a standard practice in the United States to give all graduates of health care professions a pin during a special ceremony.

This year, a special subset of Health Sciences graduates was pre-healthcare clinical graduates who had earned various stackable academic certificates in Nursing Assisting, Phlebotomy, and Cardiac Care. They were the culminating graduating class of Pre-Health and Pre-Nursing students who benefitted from grant funding that provided a strong academic foundation, early exposure to clinical settings, and attainment of an industry-recognized credential.

Also special this year, Victoria Shea Adams-Holden became the second student in MTC history to receive her Associate Degree the same year she is receiving her high school diploma. She was awarded her Associate in Arts at the ceremony Wednesday at the Colonial Life Arena.

“Because MTC offers dual credit programs in many area high schools, students can earn transferrable college credit during their high school years. Shea is the first high school student from Airport High School, Lexington District 2, and the County of Lexington to accomplish this goal. Last year, a Richland One student was honored for the same educational achievement,” said Dr. Diane Carr, Associate Vice President Arts and Sciences.

“We are thankful for this occasion to honor our diverse, well-prepared graduates. As they walk through open doors to their bright futures, may they have an abundance of opportunities for success, happiness, and the progression of society,” said Dr. Rhames.