Thomas Nelson Community College’s 49th Commencement Exercise is set for Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Hampton Coliseum with Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, a former Virginia secretary of education and president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, as keynote speaker. During the ceremony honoring graduating students, the College will present itsDistinguished Alumni Award,Thomas Nelson Medallion and Dana B. Hamel Award.
The Distinguished Alumni Award acknowledges alumni who have displayed outstanding leadership, professional qualities and made significant contributions to their profession, business or community at local, state, national or international levels. This year’s recipient is Dr. Angela Giles.
The Thomas Nelson Medallion recognizes citizens who exemplify the spirit and highest ideals of Thomas Nelson – patriot, soldier-statesman and governor. This year’s medallion will be posthumously awarded to Everett Jordan Jr., who died in February at age 62. Jordan is a past vice chair of Thomas Nelson’s Local Board and former Apprentice School director.
Named in honor of Dr. Dana B. Hamel, the first chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, the Dana B. Hamel Award recognizes individuals or entities 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 Thomas Nelson’s mission. This year’s recipient is Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia.
About the recipients:
Dr. Angela Giles received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Human Services from Thomas Nelson in 2004. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work from Christopher Newport University and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively. She also has a doctoral degree in behavioral health from Arizona State University, where she serves as a faculty member.
A licensed clinical social worker, she currently provides integrative behavioral health services at the Hampton VA Medical Center which serves military veterans in Virginia and North Carolina. Her professional background includes employment with the Newport News Seventh District Court Services and Riverside Health Systems.
She is a member of the Collaborative Family Health Care Association, American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work, American Psychotherapy Association and the Association of VA Social Workers.
Dr. Giles remains connected to Thomas Nelson as a board member of the inaugural Thomas Nelson Alumni Council. Additionally, she established the Dr. Angela J. Giles & Marie A. Giles Scholarship at the College in 2016 to assist students pursuing a career in human services.
Everett H. Jordan Jr. enjoyed a career spanning over 40 years with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries and the only manufacturer of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. He retired from his post as director of the NNS Apprentice School in September 2017 after nearly 10 years in the role. A strong proponent of career and technical education, he was the second Apprentice School graduate to serve as its director.
Jordan represented Poquoson on Thomas Nelson’s Local Board for two terms through 2017 and his Apprentice School ties were key in fortifying the College’s long-standing relationship with the school and NNS as well. Numerous Apprentice School graduates made Thomas Nelson their first choice for higher education as a result.
In 2011, Jordan received Thomas Nelson’s Distinguished Alumni Award and served as keynote speaker for the College’s 42nd commencement exercise. A 1977 Apprentice School graduate, he held a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Leo University and a master’s degree in education from The George Washington University.
Jordan and his wife, Cynthia of over 40 years, have two sons and two grandchildren.
Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia partnered with Thomas Nelson to establish theCenter for Building and Construction Trades in Hampton in 2015. The center delivers short-term training to meet the needs of regional employers in need of skilled trades workers.
The Saville Road facility provides a training center leased by the College that replicates real worksites where students get hands-on training in facilities maintenance; Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC); and electrical systems.
A cohort of five HVAC students was the center’s inaugural class in April 2015. The program has since provided many classes allowing more than 150 students to receive various industry-recognized credentials and enter the workforce aided by Thomas Nelson and Goodwill career placement services.
In October 2017, Thomas Nelson President John Dever and Goodwill Industries, Inc. of Central and Coastal Virginia President Charles D. Layman acknowledged the collaboration and commitment of both organizations through a declaration of shared purpose. Their declaration affirmed the commonality in mission and service to Peninsula residents as well as the complementary strengths of both organizations in preparing the Peninsula workforce for success.