NOVA hosted the 2015 Fall Convocation: Start Strong, Stay Strong on August 20. This year, NOVA celebrates its 50th Anniversary and anticipates the arrival of new President Scott Ralls.
Convocation began with a welcome from College Senate Chair Matthew Todd and a group of students who shared their moving stories of NOVA. Each student had to overcome many obstacles to achieve their dreams. The group included one student who grew up despising school, but had a professor who encouraged her; one who came from a family of Ph.Ds, and just the stress of succeeding caused her to fail; a woman from Kenya who saw college as a means to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS; a veteran who suffered debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder; a young woman in and out of foster care who struggled with addiction and became a young mother, but turned it around when her own child was born; a student born only partially sighted and came to America hoping to regain his sight; and an au pair who came to the U.S. from Poland, who studied every second she was not taking care of children and funneled every cent into tuition. Each story recounted the importance of flexible and compassionate faculty.
After these moving stories, faculty and staff were recognized for their Outstanding Service to the College. Teaching Faculty Awards went to Keith Brown (AL), Maryanne Smith (MA) and Barry Sellinger (AL). The Administrative Faculty Award was given to Kimberly Wright (AN), and Peggy Hrolenok (AN) received the Adjunct Faculty Award. The Classified Staff Awards were given to Claudia Chirinos (AN), Loretta Gray (MA) and Janice Cottingham (CS).
Acting President Mel Schiavelli recognized Callan Bentley, recipient of the 2015-2016 Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professorship and the SCHEV 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award. Schiavelli also recognized Kristyn Moskey and Christina Hubbard, recipients of the Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship 2013-2014 and 2015-2016, respectively.
Steve Piscitelli, author, facilitator and history professor at Florida State College, delivered an inspirational keynote, and 2014-2015 President’s Sabbatical Award recipients Robert Loser (CS), Dr. Tatiana Stantcheva (AL) and Lisa Williams (AN) shared the results of their individual studies.
Ralls delivered an online address apologizing for not being present but expressing his enthusiasm for joining NOVA in just a few weeks. He encouraged those present to observe new students as they register – nervous and hesitant – and watch them transform over the coming months and years.
“As community college faculty and staff, we get a front row seat to the American dream,” he said.” You get to see encounters in hallways and classrooms. Many of our students are overcoming unbelievable obstacles to realize that dream.”
To view the entire convocation video, go online to NOVA-TV.