TNCC to Honor Local Citizens During 44th Commencement Ceremony

Published: May 10, 2013

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) will present the Thomas Nelson Medallion and Dana B. Hamel Award during its 44th commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 14 at the Hampton Coliseum. Presented by TNCC’s Local College Board, the awards honor citizens who champion higher education and public service.

The Thomas Nelson Medallion honors citizens who exemplify the spirit and highest ideals of Thomas Nelson – patriot, soldier-statesman and governor. The medallion will be awarded posthumously to both Joseph A. Gutierrez, Jr. and Roosevelt “Rosy” Takesian. Members of their families will accept the awards.

Gutierrez was the senior director of Museum Operations and Education for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation from 1999 until his death in July 2012. Representing James City County on TNCC’s Local College Board from 2003 to 2011, he served one term as board chair during his tenure. An East Carolina University graduate and past president of the Virginia Association of Museums, he also provided leadership in preparing the Jamestown Settlement museum galleries and educational programs for the 400th commemoration of Jamestown’s founding. Additionally, Gutierrez had a key role in planning Yorktown Victory Center’s renovation and expansion. His background also includes work with the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia as well as service on several advisory councils for the Virginia Department of Education and numerous American Association of Museums committees. Having begun a career in education as a history teacher in Wyoming, he was an adjunct faculty member for Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Hampton University. He also published numerous history and museum-related articles. His accomplishments were acknowledged by joint resolution of the Virginia General Assembly this February.

A Korean War veteran,  Takesian represented Williamsburg on TNCC’s Local Board from 2001 to 2010 holding terms as chair, vice chair and College Board Liaison to the TNCC Educational Foundation, Inc. during his tenure. He later represented Williamsburg on the Foundation’s Board from 2010 until his death in November 2012.  Prior to becoming affiliated with Thomas Nelson Community College,  he retired from C&P Telephone Company and AT&T in 1997 after nearly 50 years of service. As part of TNCC, he was instrumental in developing the College’s annual car show to benefit the Automotive Technology Program. His other community service affiliations include the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and the College of William and Mary’s Order of the White Jackets. Takesian attended the College of William and Mary and earned degrees from Virginia Tech and University of Richmond.

Named in honor of Dr. Dana B. Hamel, the first chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, the Dana B. Hamel Award recognizes individuals for their commitment to public service; to fostering access to higher education; and promoting an understanding of the role of workforce development as an essential part of TNCC’s mission. Eugene W. Johnson is this year’s recipient.

Head of Hampton-based Johnson’s Accounting Service, Johnson represented Hampton on TNCC’s Local College Board from 1973 to 1983. He also helped establish the TNCC Educational Foundation, Inc. in 1979 serving as its charter director through December 2012. The retired Hampton University comptroller held other Foundation posts during his tenure including president and chair. He was recently elected as the Foundation’s first director emeritus.

Johnson has a certificate in basic engineering from the University of Illinois, a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Hampton University and a Master’s degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary. His background includes teaching stints at Hampton University and University of Kentucky. Additionally, he has numerous civic memberships including Institute of Management Accountants, Virginia Educators Credit Union Board of Directors (treasurer), and Peninsula Institute for Community Health, Inc. Board of Directors, NAACP Hampton Chapter (treasurer) and others.

For more information about the May 14 commencement, please contact TNCC’s Office of Public Relations and Marketing at (757) 825-2725 or visit


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