A teacher's teacher takes the helm at Thomas Nelson Community College
Oct 13, 2012 (Daily Press (Menafn - Newport News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Thomas Nelson Community College inaugurated its eighth president on Friday in a ceremony that drew chuckles and applause from the audience gathered in Templin Hall.
Dever, who taught English and literature at TNCC from 1975-1995, chose a quote from Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" as the event's theme: "Something of great constancy."
"Our essence lies in the countless students whose lives have been transformed by the power of education. ... The college can make this difference in people's lives because it itself is grounded in constancy of purpose, yet open to change," he said during his address.
Dever was appointed TNCC president in October 2011, succeeding Alvin Schexnider. Prior to taking the helm at the school he was executive vice president at Northern Virginia Community College for seven years.
During his first year at TNCC, he demonstrated an ability to bridge gaps among different departments, students and faculty, said Student Government Association President Valerie Francis.
"For students, it means he knows what he is doing," she said.
State Sen. Thomas K. "Tommy" Norment, R-James City, called Dever a man of unwavering passion for higher education and an advocate for community colleges. Norment called community colleges the gateway to career paths for hundreds of thousands of Virginians.
"There has never been a more critical time to provide higher education opportunities, Norment said.
He praised Dever as "an administrator that came out of the classroom" and said the community was fortunate that Dever was leading TNCC.
Dever said he envisions TNCC producing graduates "who will be both productive and contributing members of society"; focusing on vital programs such as science, technology, engineering and math; and partnering with local high schools to offer students early college and dual enrollment opportunities. He also harked to sending TNCC students on to the state's four-year universities and colleges, and he spoke of working closely with Peninsula businesses and industries.
Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois presided over Dever's investiture. DuBois called Dever a "teacher's teacher" who never forgot where he began when he became an administrator.
DuBois gave Dever the traditional symbols of the president's office, a gavel and medallion, but he said those were reminders of the past. He also gave Dever a blank journal, saying it symbolized the work he was embarking on as president. "Your success as president still remains unwritten."
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