Dr. Darrel W. Staat
Spring has been a bit unusual in South Carolina this year. Instead of sunny days with increasing heat, we’ve experienced unseasonably cool temperatures. However, these cooler days have not hindered in the least a very significant annual rite of passage in our state. I’m talking about graduation.
As the president of the SC Technical College System, I have had a number of exciting and interesting opportunities. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to new places, meet new people and try new things. Even so, I have to be honest. No opportunity means more to me than the opportunity to share in the success of our students by celebrating this important milestone with them.
For many of the graduates of our sixteen technical colleges, this represents the first time that anyone in their family has walked across the stage to receive a college diploma. The System boasts the vast majority of South Carolina’s first-generation college students.
The SC Technical College System makes a quality higher education affordable and accessible for South Carolinians. Over the next few weeks, our colleges will be sending graduates out into the workforce with the necessary skills for in-demand jobs or on to a four-year institution to continue their educational endeavors. Whatever the case, the System has provided our graduates with a solid foundation for their future success.
Graduations represent the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. This May, if you listen closely, you may hear the familiar tune of pomp and circumstance as thousands of technical college students cross the stage, receive their diploma and prepare to start their new lives as college graduates.
It’s a time of celebration and one of my favorite times of the year. I am proud to lead a System that has such a significant impact of the lives and livelihoods of so many South Carolinians.