Launched in August, Thomas Nelson Community College’s 50th anniversary celebration continued on Friday, Dec.15 with a Cornerstone Ceremony at the Hampton campus. Thomas Nelson President John Dever, Virginia’s Community College Chancellor Glenn DuBois, students, alumni, College personnel and retirees gathered outside Harrison Hall for the event.
Guests also included local, state and federal government officials, Thomas Nelson Board members, Educational Foundation Board members and others.
After an acknowledgement of the occasion by Governor Thomas Nelson courtesy of Yorktown’s Living History Associates, Ltd., Dever welcomed attendees noting that over 28,000 students have completed academic and career training programs at Thomas Nelson since its establishment. He thanked business, industry, government and community leaders for their support in making Thomas Nelson a vital part of the Peninsula.
“Fifty years ago to this very day with the laying of the cornerstone at the entrance to the College, Thomas Nelson began its mission of extending the benefits of high-quality and affordable collegiate and career education to all in our community. And the College has remained true to that mission from that day to this,” said Dever.
“But the benefits transcend the individual students—our communities are stronger, our citizens are more engaged, our cultural life is more vibrant, and our economy is more prosperous because Thomas Nelson has been here making a difference for half a century. Today, we honor our history and look to our future, grateful for the vision and determination of those who gathered here on December 15, 1967,” he added.
A flag-raising processional at the Circle of Flags was the day’s highlight. Learning Resources Director Richard Hodges gave an overview on the circle’s origin noting that it came to be in the mid 1970s as part of the College’s bicentennial celebration. The design was conceived by James Allison, a charter faculty member whose son was in attendance for event.
Television news anchor Brandi Cummings of WAVY TV 10 introduced participants as they raised each of the 13 flags representing the United States, Virginia, U.S. military branches and the six localities Thomas Nelson serves. Among those who joined Dever, DuBois, students and College personnel as flag raisers were Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, Newport News Vice Mayor Tina Vick, Virginia Delegate Jeion Ward, Congressman Bobby Scott, York County Supervisor Shelia Noll and Williamsburg Council member Douglas Pons also participated.
The College will honor its historical roots by displaying flags representing the 13 original colonies during the first week of each month and on federal holidays beginning in January 2018.
Several events are on tap for 2018 as the momentous 50th anniversary celebration continues. Check out http://tncc.edu/50 for a look at Thomas Nelson history through photos spanning decades.