WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College held its annual Academic Excellence Awards ceremony March 25 to celebrate top students for classroom achievement and volunteerism.
The program, said PCC President Lawrence Rouse, was an opportunity for PCC to recognize students who have maintained high standards with regard to their academic pursuits and civic engagement, in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
“As we all know, the 2021-22 academic year has been challenging,” Rouse said. “The students we’re honoring today have overcome unforeseen circumstances as well as the typical challenges associated with pursuing a college credential. Not only have they succeeded in their studies, they’ve done so exceptionally well while being of service to campus and their communities.”
PCC faculty and staff nominate students for Academic Excellence Awards each spring. Recipients are given a certificate and special medallions crafted by Pitt Machining Technology students in commemoration of their achievement.
“Remember, your award today is the beginning …,” said Dr. Thomas Gould, PCC Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services. “In your case, it means moving the bar higher and taking yourself to the next level.”
As part of the ceremony, PCC announced the recipients of several special awards.
Victor Long, an Industrial Management Technology major, was selected as Pitt’s recipient of a State Academic Excellence Award from the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS). A Dean’s List student with a 3.94 GPA, Long has been a volunteer with the Robersonville Ruritan Club, United Way, Love a Sea Turtle’s “Paint the Drain” program, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s “Hunting Matters! ‘Hats On’ Mentoring Campaign.”
Building Construction student Harriss Evans received the 2022 President’s Scholarship Award worth $1,000 from the PCC Foundation. Evans is a PCC Student Ambassador with a 3.83 GPA. He also volunteers with Upward Basketball and Bible School at Greenville’s Jarvis United Methodist Church.
This year’s $500-President’s Award went to Jennifer Beatty, a University Transfer student nearing graduation with a 4.0 GPA. A National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) member, she also volunteered with a recent PCC Adopt-A-Highway roadside cleanup.
Division Awards were presented to students Sarah Cooke (Arts and Sciences), Stephen Rockwell (Business), Long (Construction and Industrial Technology), Krystan Simpson (Health Sciences) and Helaina Black (Public Services and Fine Arts). Each student received $250 through the honor.
Awards were also given to Johnny McCarter III and Savannah Pitvorec for excellence in Developmental Studies courses. McCarter was also announced as Pitt’s nominee for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award from NCCCS.
PCC softball player Abigail Carpenter, a Business Administration: Human Resource Management student, and baseball’s Martin Zelenka, a University Transfer student, received Student-Athlete Awards in recognition of academic achievement, good sportsmanship, and the positive impact they’ve had on their teams and community.
Architectural Technology student Matthew Simpkins was named PCC’s nominee for NCCCS’s Gov. Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. Simpkins has a 3.91 GPA and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, NSLS, and Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. He received the Hope Lodge Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018.
PCC Alumni Association Holds Annual Awards Ceremony
The PCC Alumni Association honored graduates for professional accomplishments and service to the college and community during its annual awards ceremony March 24.
The program took featured the presentation of awards to six individuals in five different categories. Honorees were selected based on criteria established by the PCC Alumni Association Board.
“It’s always a joy to recognize the success of deserving Pitt alumni,” said PCC Development Officer John Bacon. “They have made their alma mater proud and are perfect examples of what can happen when individuals combine their PCC education with hard work and determination.”
PCC presented a Distinguished Alumni Award – its most prestigious – to Michele Marston. A 2012 University Transfer graduate, Marston helps marginalized communities achieve economic security as program administrator with Koinonia Community Solutions. She is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in economics at East Carolina University (ECU).
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Marsten volunteers with several community organizations. She is a mentor for girls through the Daughters of Worth non-profit group and helped the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge raise nearly $12,000 for its education and outreach programs.
“I would not be who I am without the opportunities I had at PCC and the people there who saw value in me,” Marsten said upon receiving her award.
Outstanding Alumni Awards were presented to 2009 University Transfer graduate Keoshia Allen and Brian Ennis, who earned an Associate in Science from Pitt in 2015 and an Associate in General Education in 2016. Allen, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from ECU, now works as Wakelon Elementary School’s library media coordinator, while Ennis is a pharmacist with O’Neal’s Drug Store in eastern North Carolina.
Tara Hughes, a 2015 Horticultural Technology graduate, received a Young Alumni Award. Hughes is a licensed landscape contractor with her own landscaping company in Kinston.
Anthony Dunn, a PCC history instructor and social sciences program coordinator, received an Employee Alumni Award. Dunn graduated from Pitt’s University Transfer program in 2002 and says the college helped him “find his way” in life.
PCC presented an Honorary Alumni Award to former trustee Max Joyner Sr. for adopting Pitt as his own through “outstanding service, substantial and continuing commitment and loyalty.” An ECU graduate, Joyner excelled in his career with Jefferson Pilot Standard Life Insurance Company. He received the state’s prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2014 and was named the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2016.
Former N.C. Gov. James Holshouser appointed Joyner to an eight-year term on the PCC Board of Trustees in 1972. His loyalty to PCC has never wavered, and in 2017, the college named the auditorium of its new Walter & Marie Williams Building after him in recognition of his outstanding financial support.