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FTCC President Dr. Mark Sorrells shakes hands with a graduate while handing him a diploma folder.

FTCC President Dr. Mark Sorrells shakes hands with a graduate while handing him a diploma folder. [Photo by Brad Losh]

Fayetteville Technical Community College celebrated the graduation of 1,961 students Friday during its 61st Annual Commencement Exercises.

The event was split into two ceremonies at the Crown Coliseum. Tammy Thurman,  the Senior Community Relations and Government Affairs Manager for Piedmont Natural Gas, delivered the keynote address at each ceremony. Thurman, a community service mainstay who has served on a number of boards and committees, is a member of FTCC’s Board of Trustees and a cancer survivor.

Thurman invoked the words of Robert F. Kennedy and Maya Angelou to inspire and congratulate the graduates, capping her speech with a call for the graduates to choose faith over fear.

“You are now faced with standing on fear or faith,” Thurman said. “Fear is behind you and faith is in front of you. Which path will you take? Which way will you lead? Challenges are inevitable, but defeat from those very challenges is optional. As you think about the future and your next steps, I want to tell you that I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future.”

FTCC President Dr. Mark Sorrells, presiding over the first Commencement since taking over the head office in January, conferred the academic achievements at the end of each ceremony before overseeing the turning of the tassels.

“By the powers invested in me by the state of North Carolina and the Board of Trustees of Fayetteville Technical Community College, I hereby confer upon you your high school equivalency diploma, high school diploma, curriculum certificate, diploma, or associate degree with all its rights, privileges and responsibilities and declare you graduates of Fayetteville Technical Community College,” Sorrells said. 

FTCC recognized 1,961 graduates across both ceremonies, awarding 3,406 certificates, diplomas or associate degrees from its curriculum programs. The numbers include students who completed their coursework at the end of the fall semester, as well as spring finishers.

Of those students, 652 earned Honors designation and 171 earned Highest Honors.

Students Tesia Dresser and Troy Hobbs III received special recognition during the ceremonies. Dresser received the President’s Award during the first ceremony, while Hobbs received the N.C. Community College System Academic Excellence Award during the afternoon event.