CVCC Announces Commencement Speakers For Three Ceremonies

Diploma and Cap ArtworkMultiple commencement ceremonies this weekend at Catawba Valley Community College will celebrate the achievements of a record number of graduates receiving degrees or diplomas.

More than 725 graduates will be recognized at three ceremonies conducted in the college’s Tarlton Complex beginning Fri., May 8, at 7 p.m. when the graduates of the School of Academics, Education, and Fine Arts will commence.

Aden Cranford, CVCC’s 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient, will deliver the commencement speech at the Friday evening ceremony. A faculty member in the Early Childhood Education Department, she was one of five finalists last year at the state level for the Excellence in Teaching Award and received an honorarium from the State Board of Community Colleges.Cranford began her career at CVCC in 2006 and has continuously worked to improve student learning outcomes through curriculum changes. She has taken on leadership roles in college administration by serving on the Faculty Senate and as an Advising Center Faculty Representative. She served on the Instructional Council for the School of Academics, Education & Fine Arts and on various committees throughout her career at CVCC.

Dedicated to inspiring excellence in her classroom and in the future teachers she educates, Cranford received the Community Leadership Award in 2010 and the Dreams of the Future Award in 2008 from the Catawba County School System.

Cranford earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the U.S. Department of Commerce, will give a special address to graduates at the Friday ceremony. Formerly executive director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, Kirk is an award winning serial entrepreneur. She launched her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc., in 1995.  She taught at the internationally-acclaimed ACTiVATE® program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) for six years before co-founding the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010, a nonprofit to expand economic opportunity for women entrepreneurs.

Kirk has received numerous awards, including most recently the Influential Marylander in 2014. She received the Athena Award in 2004, Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2005, 2008 and 2014 and SmartCEO’s BRAVA award in 2014.

Kirk earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Texas A&M University. Her book, “The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business,” shares business tips and advice for starting, growing, and running a business using parenting metaphors.

Thom Ruhe will serve as commencement speaker for the School of Business, Industry and Technology service 9 a.m., Sat., May 9. Ruhe is the co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative and former vice president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Ruhe serves on the boards of Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship, The Kenan Institute of Free Enterprise at UNC and is a founding trustee and board chair for Innovation Fund America. He has published extensively and speaks frequently at the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican.

Ruhe was the founding chief marketing officer for JumpStart, a nonprofit economic development organization and seed stage investment fund created to invest in and accelerate the growth of high-potential, early stage companies in Northeast Ohio.

Ruhe is a 1988 U.S. Air Force ROTC graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in management information systems, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Plant A Fish Foundation.

US Army Brigadier General (retired) Peter A. “Duke” DeLuca will serve as the commencement speaker at the School of Health and Public Services ceremony 1 p.m., Sat., May 9. DeLuca is a former advisor to General Wesley Clark and commander of the 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne) at Fort Bragg where he served in Iraq from June 2006 through December 2008. His decorations include the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Combat Action Badge.

He served as commanding general for the Mississippi Valley Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, president of the Mississippi River Commission, commandant of the U.S. Army Engineering School at Fort Leonard Wood, and Commanding General of the North Atlantic Division. He served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

DeLuca earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in international affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and was a George C. Marshall Center for European Security European Security Fellow specializing in Eurasian studies.

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Things to Know About CVCC and North Carolina Community Colleges:

·       CVCC graduates in cosmetology (2012 & 2013), dental hygiene (2011-12 & 2012-13), EMT-Paramedic (2013) and radiography (2011-12) had a 100% pass rate on state or national licensing exams.

·       CVCC students transferring to a UNC school performed favorably in comparison to transfers from other UNC institutions.

·       The Fire Protection Technology Associate Degree program is nationally and internationally accredited.

·       The Emergency Medical Science (paramedic) Associate Degree program is nationally accredited.

·       There are 800,000 community college students in North Carolina vs. 300,000 university students.

·       40% of North Carolina wage earners attended a NC community college in the past 10 years.

·       One in 9 North Carolina citizens 18 and older is a community college student.

·       The impact of North Carolina community college alumni totaled $19.6 billion in added state income in 2012-13.

Sources: EMSA; UNC Advanced Analytics, North Carolina Community College System, Catawba Valley Community College.

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