Class of 2024 graduate Ethan Blankenship on campus at Blue Ridge Community College. (Photo by: Rich Keen.)

Blue Ridge Community College Announces 2024 Academic Excellence Award Winner: Ethan Blankenship

Featured Photo: Class of 2024 graduate Ethan Blankenship on campus at Blue Ridge Community College. (Photo by: Rich Keen.)

By: Benjamin Rickert, Marketing & Communications Dept.

This year, Blue Ridge Community College proudly announced Ethan Blankenship as the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award. Blankenship received the prestigious award during the College’s spring commencement ceremony on May 11, 2024.

Statewide, Academic Excellence Awards recognize and encourage scholarship among the students of the North Carolina Community College System. Students are chosen who have “set the highest possible goals and attained the pinnacle of academic success.”

Ethan Blankenship, a member of the Blue Ridge Community College Class of 2024, demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and dedication throughout his educational journey. At the spring commencement, he earned an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration degree, having previously earned four additional Business Administration certificates and a Leadership diploma along the way.

Blankenship expressed gratitude for the opportunities and support he received through his instructors and mentors.

“Blue Ridge Community College provided me an opportunity to gain maturity and experience while receiving a collegiate education,” said Blankenship. “My academic journey has been marked by exceptional support from faculty and staff both inside and outside of my program.”

Blankenship also credited his family and Christian faith for his successes.

“I strive to show continual appreciation toward these two great influences in my life,” he added. 

Throughout his studies, Blankenship’s goal was to give his best effort and to make use of all the opportunities available to him through Blue Ridge. He made exceptional use of the College’s “stackable credentials” model, whereby students can gain additional proficiencies and certifications while meeting core program requirements. Prior to his graduation, Ethan also gained industry-relevant experience through the Apprenticeship Blue Ridge Business and Banking program in partnership with Champion Credit Union.

At the commencement ceremony, Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood, congratulated Ethan on behalf of the College.

“We’re very proud of you and wish you continued success in all you do,” she said.

Moving forward, Ethan plans to leverage his multiple Business Administration credentials to advance his career and contribute positively to the community. His dedication to personal and professional excellence exemplifies the core values of Blue Ridge Community College.“To complete a degree is a true achievement,” he said, “and I hope to use it in a way that betters my community and honors my family and my faith. I am grateful Blue Ridge gave me the springboard I needed to pursue those goals.”

A full list of Blue Ridge Community College’s Business Administration and other business pathways is available at