Graduates celebrate during Commencement May 18 with record-breaking numbers

May 20, 2013

Graduates celebrate during Commencement May 18 with record-breaking numbers


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Mark MeadowsU.S. Rep. Mark Meadows speaks at the A-B Tech Commencement ceremony May 18. 

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows encouraged graduates to pursue three Ps – passion, perspiration and perseverance - during his address at A-B Tech Community College’s commencement exercises May 18 in the Sherrill Center at UNC Asheville. About 1,078 students were recognized as candidates for 1,124 degrees and diplomas, the largest class in the College's history.

“I want to give you a charge and talk a little bit about what lies ahead. First and foremost there must be a passion for what you ultimately do. Money is only a motivator for only six weeks so it’s only that passion that really sustains you,” Meadows said.

He spoke about perspiration as the hard work that goes along with the passion.“You have to truly invest in the small things and do the small things over and over again when at times you don’t feel like it. There are times you came to class when you didn’t feel like it. There were times when you had many, many obstacles in your way and yet you kept on going. That hard work paid off and that’s what keeps you going.

“And the third P I want to share with you is perseverance and the goal that you reach is always worth it. If you look at the passion, the perspiration and the perseverance – those three things and that that persistence that draws them all together – the results will be there. Some of you overcame roadblocks to be here and I want to applaud you. When you do that, you set yourself apart,” he said.

Meadows is a freshman Congressman representing the 11th District of North Carolina.  He is a member of the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure.  

Meadows was born in Verdun, France, and raised in Florida. After studying business management at the University of South Florida, he moved with his wife, Debbie, to Western North Carolina. 

In 1986, Meadows started a small restaurant. He later sold it, and used the proceeds to start a development company, Highlands Properties, a real estate company specializing in construction and land development. Meadows served as the Macon County Republican Party chairman, on the Republican Party Executive Committee, and as a delegate to both the North Carolina and national Republican conventions.

A-B Tech President Emeritus K. Ray Bailey, who also serves as a member of the State Board of Community Colleges, presented the North Carolina Community College System Staff Member of the Year Award posthumously to Mona Cornwell. Mona was the Director of Community Relations and Marketing until she died April 2. Accepting the award on her behalf was her husband, David Cornwell.

“I was proud to cast my vote for Mona Cornwell,” Bailey said. “To many faculty and staff at A-B Tech, she was the go-to person on campus. Mona was my friend and my colleague, as she was yours. She was the most humble person I ever met.”

A-B Tech President Dr. Hank Dunn recognized four employees who were chosen for awards by their peers. Business Computer Technologies Instructor Kathie Doole was named Faculty Member of the Year and Biology Instructor Adina Reilly was the Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year. Occupational Training Instructor Deanna Rice was the College’s Continuing Education Instructor of the Year and Manager of Customer and Instructional Technology Support Cris Harshman was Staff Member of the Year.





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