On Thursday September 29, 2011, The Midlands Technical College Foundation presented “A Celebration of Distinguished Graduates” to honor six men and women who began their education as students at Midlands Technical College and have achieved great success as community leaders in their selected fields. The event was held at the new Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College Harbison Campus, and over 300 were expected to attend.
Thomas E. Persons, chair, Midlands Technical Foundation Board, said “This is a really special night for Midlands Technical College. This is the first time that a technical college has recognized graduates.” The MTC Foundation Board developed the idea and sponsored the event to demonstrate to the community and to the students of Midlands Technical College the success that can be achieved with the foundation of a technical college education.
Marshall (Sonny) White presented the awards to the 2011 Honorees saying “These graduates exemplify the Midlands Technical College motto, “You can go anywhere from here.”
The six Midlands Technical College graduates honored as “Distingushed Graduates” were:
Anne F. Castro, vice president and chief design architect, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (business, 1978).
Anne F. Castro earned her degree from Midlands Technical College in “data processing,” a degree she says no longer exists. She began her career with BlueCross BlueShield 30 years ago and has risen to the position of vice president and chief design architect with the educational foundation she received at Midlands Technical College.
James R. Metts, Sheriff, Lexington County, South Carolina (chemical engineering technology, 1970, public service, 1975)
Sheriff James R. Metts began his education at Midlands Technical College, earning two degrees: chemical engineering technology and public service. He attended the University of South Carolina where he earned a BA and a masters in Criminal Justice. Metts completed his PhD in education from USC. He is a graduate of the FBI Academy, the National Sheriff’s Institute, and the National Sheriff’s institute. He has served as sheriff of Lexington County since December 15, 1972. He was presented with the Order of the Palmetto by Governor David Beasley in 1998 and the Order of the Silver Crescent by Governor Mark Sanford in 2004. This award recognizes “exemplary performance, contribution and achievement within the community.” Metts thanked Midlands Technical College for giving him the opportunity to begin his education when he was a young man. He currently serves as a criminal justice instructor to students at Midlands Technical College.
Ronald L. Rhames, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Midlands Technical College (business management, 1970)
Dr. Ronald L. Rhames earned his associate degree in management from Midlands Technical College in 1970. He continued his education at Benedict College in Columbia where he earned his BS in business and economics. He then earned his master of science in administration at Central Michigan University and his PhD in business administration from Nova Southeastern University. He now serves as Midlands Technical College senior vice president and chief operating officer.
Upon accepting his award, Dr. Rhames said, “The faculty and staff at Midlands Technical College are a caring group of people; we believe each student deserves an opportunity to succeed.” To future students he said, “I hope you consider Midlands Technical College. It was a turning point in my life. Midlands Technical College helped me to have focus and now my life has come full circle. You will receive quality training and can become anything you want to in this world.”
John R. Roof, entreprenuer, (retail management technology, 1972)
Upon receiving his award, John R.Roof shared that when he began to interview for his first job as a young man, a future employer suggested that he attend Midlands Technical College to further the possibilities for his career. After graduating from Midlands Technical College, Roof began his business career with the JB Martin Company and achieved the level of national sales manager. He has succeeded as an entrepreneur in the Midlands thoughout his career. He has brought a chain of 10 Exxon stores into the Columbia area and owns Southern Visions Realty.
Bernice G. Scott, former chair, Richland County Council, director of Community Relations and Public Affairs, Austin & Rogers, P.A. (public service, 1976)
Bernice G. Scott served on the Richland County Council for over 20 years. She earned her degree from Midlands Technical College in public service in 1976. Since then she has had an extensive career in public service serving the people of Richland County and the Midlands. Scott began her career with the Richand County Court Administration and now works as director of Community Relations and Public Affairs for Austin & Rogers, P.A.
Randy Scott, chief of police, City of Columbia, South Carolina (public service, 2002)
Randy Scott currently serves as the chief of police for Columbia, SC. After completing his degree in public service from Midlands Tehnical College in 2002, Scott earned his BA from Limestone College and a masters degree from Troy University. He is a graduate of the FBI Academy and has served with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department for 15 years. Upon receiving his award, Scott said that by attending Midlands Technical College, “I was able to have a foundation given to me to be able to go on to college and graduate school.”
The Program for the “Celebration of Distingushed Graduates” included a video presentation of each honoree and musical performances by “The Cocktails” USC Female A Capella Ensemble.
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