Michael B. McCall, founding president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, will deliver the address for the 48th Commencement and Awarding of Credentials at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College set for Friday, May 10.
The ceremony, which will get under way at 6 p.m., will be an evening of much happiness for the 366 eligible students who will receive diplomas and degrees. The graduation service will be held beneath a tent to be erected on the lower campus at Cumberland. The 100 by 220-foot tent can accommodate 2,500 people.
The event will also mark the final commencement as president for Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, who has led Southeast for 27 years. Dr. Ayers, who has worked at SKCTC since 1969 holding posts as professor, program coordinator and since 1987, president, will retire effective June 30. Dr. Ayers will also address the graduates and is expected to speak about the necessity of dealing with change in one’s life and how dealing with change will be successful only if one relies on others for assistance.
The commencement will embrace Southeast graduates from each of the school’s campuses located at Cumberland, Whitesburg, Harlan, Pineville and Middlesboro. SKCTC, which offers over 50 programs leading to degrees and diplomas, boasts an enrollment of over 5,000 students, and during Dr. Ayers’ tenure has grown significantly. In 2013, the college was singled out by the Aspen Institute as one of the top ten community colleges in the United States.
The keynote speaker, Dr. McCall, oversees the KCTCS system of 16 individually-accredited comprehensive community colleges with 68 campuses serving over 100,000 students. KCTCS has an annual operating budget of approximately $920 million and touches the lives of more than 500,000 citizens. Under the leadership of President McCall, KCTCS is committed to serving as the major gateway to postsecondary education for all Kentuckians.
Since his appointment in 1998, Dr. McCall has achieved many successes, such as:
*Merging the 20 community and technical colleges into 16 community colleges.
*Since1998, the KCTCS Board of Regents has ratified and approved more than 600 credit program options that result in certificates, diplomas or associate degrees.
*Under his leadership, KCTCS has become the largest provider of postsecondary education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky representing 51.6 percent of all undergraduate college students.
*KCTCS is the largest provider of workforce training in Kentucky serving over 6,000 businesses and training more than 56,500 employees annually.
*KCTCS is the state’s largest provider of online learning, offering more than 65 online credentials.
*To meet the unmet need of pursuing higher education in an online, anywhere, anyplace, and anytime environment, KCTCS launched Dr. McCall’s virtual learning initiative entitled KCTS Online that is completely learner-centered and will allow adults to pursue higher education 24/7, 365 days a year.
*Other KCTCS accomplishments include the North American Racing Academy (first college-affiliated horse racing academy in the United States), the Kentucky Coal Academy, Kentucky Fire Commission and the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services.
Prior to his selection as the founding president of KCTCS, Dr. McCall served as president of South Carolina’s comprehensive technical college system and provided leadership for that state’s economic development training programs. Earlier in his career, he was president of Florence Darlington Technical College in Florence, S.C. and as president of Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin, Va. Dr. McCall was also a dean and a faculty member of community and technical colleges in Virginia.
A native of Wilmington, N.C., Dr. McCall received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, his master’s in physics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, and his doctorate in education administration from VPI.
Dr. McCall noted how glad he is to be able to attend Southeast’s 48th commencement. “I am delighted to have been asked to deliver the commencement address to the graduates of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College,” he said. “I am happy to be able to commend the graduates on their hard work and determination. Also, it will be my honor to share this occasion with Bruce Ayers during his final time of presiding over the graduation occasion at Southeast Kentucky.”
The event coordinator, Professor Kathy Guyn, made note that preparations for the 2013 commencement began some months ago. She said seating for the event is on a first come, first serve basis with the tent opening at 4 p.m. in order to accommodate the expected large gathering. Also, she said, while limited parking will be available on the campus, secondary parking will be available at the old Cumberland High School parking lot with a free shuttle bus service between the location, the campus and return.
For additional information regarding the 2013 SKCTC commencement, contact Chris Jones, director of public relations, phone 606/589-3003.