The City of Hampton is honoring Thomas Nelson Community College’s 50th anniversary through its 2018 Commemorative City Coin. Since 2010 the City has highlighted something special to share with dignitaries, members of the military and special guests visiting the city.
The 2018 coin features Thomas Nelson Community College and Hampton University, during the celebrations of both colleges’ anniversaries, the latter celebrating 150 years.
“Both are equally important to the city and we wanted to celebrate both and the role they have played in the city,” stated Mary Bunting, City of Hampton City Manager and member of Thomas Nelson's Local College Board.
Bunting noted the tradition behind the coin was established when those in the military would gift a coin to someone visiting. If they saw the visitor later and they had the coin on their person then the giver of the coin owed them a drink, if they did not have the coin then the receiver would have to buy the drink.
Today, the coin is an acknowledgment of the work Thomas Nelson has poured into the City of Hampton and its residents for the past 50 years.
“Thomas Nelson has had dual missions, one with workforce training that helps our students get hired and making sure we have employable citizens,” stated Bunting, who praised the other mission of providing associate degrees and transfer opportunities to Hampton citizens.
“Today, the two-plus-two allows our students to get the degree, saving our residents as they work to attain more in higher education. It’s so important that our residents are given a chance to not deal with the crushing debt that affects so many with student loans.”
Bunting is well aware of the programs available to the Hampton community through Thomas Nelson. In addition to serving on the board, Bunting is the proud mother of recent graduate Parker Bunting. He earned an associate degree and participated in commencement in May prior to earning his high school diploma from Kecoughtan High School in June.
Parker, along with Kecoughtan valedictorian Shannon Hepp, was able to take advantage of Thomas Nelson’s Dual Enrollment program. The program allows high school students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Students can take Thomas Nelson classes on campus or at their high school.
“One of the biggest impacts of the dual enrollment program is that it builds self-confidence in our students. Many first-generation students tend to think college is not in their reach. Dual enrollment allows our students to believe in themselves while receiving quality education from Thomas Nelson in the comfort of their schools,” said Bunting.
Hampton City Mayor Donnie Tuck presented Thomas Nelson President John Dever with the commemorative coins this summer. The coins were given to members of the Thomas Nelson Foundation Board and the Local Board this summer. Thomas Nelson will continue to share the coin throughout the year as the 50th anniversary celebration continues.
The City of Hampton will continue to share the coins with dignitaries who visit the city this year.
“We will share the coin with hundreds of people throughout the year,” stated Bunting. “It gives us a chance to share the Thomas Nelson story.”