Northeast State celebrated 50 years of graduates on May 10, 2016 as the College awarded 1,155 degrees and certificates at commencement exercises.
Northeast State started classes in 1966 as a vocational school with two buildings, six programs, and 35 students. Since then it has grown into a comprehensive community college with five campuses and 150 programs, serving more than 7,500 students annually.
Northeast State awarded 14 academic certificates, 264 technical certificates, 394 associate of applied science degrees, 21 associate of arts degrees, 27 associate of science in teaching degrees, and 435 associate of science degrees. A total of 135 students graduated cum laude (3.6 – 3.74 GPA), 60 received magna cum laude distinction (3.75 – 3.89 GPA), and 88 students were summa cum laude (3.9 – 4.0 GPA) graduates.
Dr. Warren R. Nichols, vice chancellor of Community Colleges for the Tennessee Board of Regents, delivered the commencement address. Nichols provides the overall strategic direction, coordination, and support of the 13 Tennessee public community colleges.
Nichols previously served as president of Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn. In his time there, he led the institution through a substantial growth period, with a record student enrollment of nearly 9,000 students and several significant construction projects to expand the college’s facilities.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Nichols holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Houston. He received his master and bachelor degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Beth Ross, Northeast State Class of 2013, served as special 50th anniversary speaker. Ross, a non-traditional student who overcame a number of personal struggles, earned the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship while at Northeast State, allowing her to attend Columbia University. She will attend Harvard University in the fall and pursue a Ph.D.
The event was held at the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletics Center on the East Tennessee State University campus.