Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute honored a total of 783 graduates from its Caldwell Campus in Hudson and Watauga Campus in Boone during ceremonies held Friday, May 11 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

CCC&TI Board of Trustees Member Alvin Daughtridge opened the ceremony by welcoming special guests, congratulating the graduates and listing the college’s accomplishments over the last year.

The Class of 2018, Daughtridge noted, included:
• 783 total graduates, including 353 first-generation college graduates

• Graduates ranging in age from 17 to 69, with the average age being 27
• Nine Dream Scholars; and

• 70 TRIO/Student Support Services graduates.

Ann Smith, of the CCC&TI Board of Trustees, presented this year’s Trustees’ Student Awards of Merit to Lucas Price and Lauren Northrup. The awards are selected based on faculty nominations for outstanding academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community service.

Presented by Vice President of Instruction Randy Ledford, the Dr. Donald Lackey Award for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Watauga Campus Culinary Arts  Instructor Robert Back. The award honors a faculty member who characterizes personal dedication, concern for student welfare and academic excellence.

The commencement speaker, Mocksville Town Manager Marcus Abernethy, shared his personal CCC&TI success story. Introduced to CCC&TI as a seventh-grader at Granite Falls Middle School through the TRIO program, Abernethy earned an associate degree at CCC&TI before going on to Appalachian State for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. At CCC&TI, Abernethy was active in Student Government and several other programs that taught him valuable leadership skills.

“I’m very blessed to have Caldwell as a part of my life,” Abernethy said, adding that he was a first-generation college graduate. “The college has been creating success for nearly 55 years. This entire time, the college has been taking ordinary people and training them, educating them and coaching them to do extraordinary things.”

In his charge to graduates, CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch thanked the college’s  trustees, faculty and staff for their hard work, and congratulated the Class of 2018 on a job well done.

“This is your night. You are a college graduate,” Poarch said. “I hope you are relishing the moment and take the time to celebrate your accomplishments. I hope you will reflect on your time at Caldwell and think fondly of your experience.”