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Students, families, friends, and Davidson County Community College will come together to celebrate the class of 2017 during the college’s fifty-forth commencement. The ceremony set for Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m. on the Davidson Campus will recognize the achievements of graduating students. The college’s 2017 Academic Excellence Award winner and recipients of the Robert Bruce Smith, Jr. Student Success Scholarship will also be announced.

This year a total of 1,118 DCCC students completed academic requirements, making them eligible to graduate. The college will award total of 1,681 credentials including 685 associate degrees, 198 diplomas and 798 certificates.

“Commencement is always an exciting time of reflection and celebration,” says Dr. Mary Rittling, president. “We are honored to be a part of each student’s journey. Our students not only excel academically but have meaningful experiences at DCCC that produce rich personal and professional growth.”

For the first time, the college has invited two alumni, Dennis Shane Miller and Ricsy Sanchez, to serve as the commencement speakers. Both Miller and Sanchez have gone on to new heights and are advocates for DCCC and the value of the education offered through the community college.  

Miller is a Davidson County native who began his educational journey at DCCC where he received both an Associate in General Education degree and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal Technology in 2012. While attending DCCC, Miller traveled to Washington D.C. with college trustees to their national conference and spent time advocating on behalf of the college and community colleges nationwide.

Miller’s experience at DCCC led him to continue pursuing his education at Ashford University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government. Miller didn’t stop there; he acquired his Master of Arts in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy with a focus on Nuclear Policy from City University of London. Miller is passionate about making a difference in the world and has served/volunteered with NC Senator Kay Hagan, AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corp, UNICEF, St. John’s Ambulance, and NC Army National Guard.

He received the President’s Award for Volunteer Service, the Congressional Award, and multiple volunteer awards. Since graduating from DCCC, Miller has traveled to 17 countries and 35 states.

A native of Honduras, Sanchez came to the United States when she was eleven. At that time she spoke no English. She overcame many barriers to become a successful college student and excelled while at DCCC. Sanchez graduated from DCCC with an Associate in Science degree in 2013 and an Associate in General Education degree 2014. She served as secretary of the Student Government Association, president of the Hispanic Culture Club, and was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“Despite my circumstances and all I went through as a child, I graduated. DCCC welcomed me and gave me so many opportunities,” says Sanchez.

The college experience that Sanchez received at DCCC helped her to overcome a fear of public speaking.

While completing her degree, she was invited to present at Achieving the Dream, a national higher education conference. The conference allowed her to share insights about her story that included the obstacles she faced early in her life and how she overcame those challenges to make her way to the United States and Davidson County Community College.

Currently, Sanchez is an administrative assistant working with IRS audits and she plans to become an enrolled agent representing others before the IRS.

About the Ceremony:

Ceremony to be held in front of the Mendenhall Building, Davidson Campus.  DCCC anticipates fair weather; however, graduation will occur, rain or shine. If raining, students will be given ponchos. Guests should plan accordingly. Umbrellas are discouraged as they may obstruct sight lines to stage. Family and guests may view ceremony through DCCC YouTube Channel.

About Davidson County Community College:

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and is looking forward to serving students in Davidson and Davie counties for many years to come. The college is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College at https://www.davidsondavie.edu.