Spring 2023 graduates move their tassels from right to left at Blue Ridge Community College on May 13, 2023.

Blue Ridge Community College Hosts Record-Setting 80th Commencement

Featured Photo: Class of 2023 graduates move their tassels from right to left on May 13, 2023. (Photo by Benjamin Rickert, Blue Ridge Community College. High resolution event photos are now on Google Drive.)

Spring 2023 Graduation Ceremonies

9 a.m.

11:30 a.m.

Marketing & Communications Dept.

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. – Blue Ridge Community College hosted its 80th commencement event this morning, May 13, to honor the spring graduates of the class of 2023. Over two ceremonies, the community recognized 329 curriculum graduates, more than ever in the College’s history. Many of the graduates earned credentials in high demand professions such as healthcare, public safety, information technology, transportation, and business. Many other students earned an Associates in Arts and Science degree to transfer credits eligible toward four-year degrees at institutions across North Carolina.

During her opening remarks, Blue Ridge’s President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood praised the graduates for reaching the academic milestone.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment for our graduates and instructors, our community, our workforce, and everyone who calls Western North Carolina their home,” she said. “Education transforms lives, and we’re making history together today.”

President Leatherwood presents a diploma during Blue Ridge's 80th graduation day.

President Leatherwood presents a diploma during Blue Ridge’s 80th graduation day celebration.

This event took place in the College’s Blue Ridge Conference Hall and included opening remarks from President Leatherwood. The commencement guest speaker was Dr. John Bryant, vice president of workforce development and community affairs at UNC Health Pardee and the former superintendent of Henderson County Public Schools.

Dr. Bryant praised the graduates for their forward-thinking self-improvement through higher education.

“Each of you are here today because you’ve chosen to invest in yourself and chosen to allow Blue Ridge Community College to match and advance that investment,” he said. “Each of you
are here today because you’ve chosen training, education and skills that are future proof.”

Bryant also encouraged the class of 2022 to practice “specific and intentional” gratitude after they crossed the graduation stage.

“Do not let today end without taking the time to thank the people who have helped you to achieve what you have accomplished today,” he said.

According to Blue Ridge’s Registrar’s Office, the College’s first graduation day took place on Friday, August 20, 1971, in the Henderson County Public Library. It honored 14 graduates, 13 of which attended. Over the years, Blue Ridge held ceremonies in other community spaces, such as East Henderson High, West Henderson High, Hendersonville High and Hendersonville’s First Baptist Church. In recent years, graduation day events have taken place during a single ceremony in December or two ceremonies in May. In December of 2008, a snow storm caused the winter ceremony to be canceled, and the graduates joined the spring class of 2009 to be honored publicly. In total, Blue Ridge Community College has held graduation activities on 80 unique days since its founding in 1969.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Leatherwood told the class of 2023 that she was “eager to see the incredible contributions that [they] will make to our community and world.”

“Remember that leaving the world around us better than we found it is what it means to be a Blue Ridge Community College graduate,” she added.

For more information about Blue Ridge Community College’s graduation, visit blueridge.edu/graduation.

Spring 2023 Graduates of Blue Ridge Community College:

Buncombe County
Emily Anne Bloemsma, College Transfer
Kelly Sabrina Burgess, Office Administration
Morgan Elizabeth Byas, College Transfer and Accounting & Finance-Bookkeeping I
Michelle Ann Coulombe, College Transfer
Chaney Dávila, Criminal Justice Technology
Sadie Elia Fox, Cosmetology
Kimberly Rose Franke, Surgical Technology
Tiffany Tara Hickman, Manicuring & Nail Technology
Mary Shannon Holley, Accounting & Finance
Mikayla Rosabeth Howell, Business Administration-Entrepreneurship
Richard Wyatt Johnson, Associate Degree Nursing
Laura Ann Kelley, Associate Degree Nursing
Ryan Quinn Landon, Automotive Systems Technology
Jeffrey Paul Link, Automotive Systems Technology and Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology
Kai Benjamin Luxenberg, College Transfer
Evan Wesley McFarland, Film & Video Production Technology
Jessica Ann Young Morris, Associate Degree Nursing
Marianna Christine Moyer, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Erin Marie Porter, Esthetics Technology
Taryn Nicole Rickey, Surgical Technology
Alyssa Lynn Ritchey, Associate Degree Nursing
Parker Caleb Russell, Criminal Justice Technology and Criminal Justice Technology-Foundations of CJC
Leighton Andres Simpson, Horticulture Technology
Elizabeth Blane Taylor, Associate Degree Nursing
Morgan Jean Thomas, Early Childhood Education
Alexandrea Lynn Thomson, Teacher Preparation
Wendy Johnson Whitt, Associate Degree Nursing

Cumberland County
Tynia Brionne Barnes, Interpret Education

Davidson County
Kennedy Grace Hamlin, Early Childhood Education

Durham County
Shameka Denise Jones, Human Services Technology

Graham County
Rebekah G. Partin, Manicuring & Nail Technology

Granville County
Ellen Christine Alvarez, Office Administration

Guilford County
Erin D. Williams, College Transfer

Haywood County
Joseph Nathaniel Dollinger, Fire Protection Technology
Janie Warren Huffman, Accounting & Finance
Jessica Warren, Accounting & Finance

Henderson County
Michael Lee Absher, College Transfer
Stephanie E. Adcox, Business Administration-Basic
Brianna Nichole Allen, Human Services Technology
Brett William Anderson, Business Administration
Evelyn H. Angeles Alarcon, Human Services Technology-Social Services
Efren Antonio, College Transfer
Joshua Martin Bagwell, Film & Video Production Technology
Brandy Michelle Bailes, Manicuring & Nail Technology
Erin Leigh Bailey, Accounting & Finance
Israel Barcenas-Diaz, College Transfer
Amber Hudson Barfield, Early Childhood Education
Tessa Dare Bell, Esthetics Technology
Alyse Benjamin, Associate Degree Nursing
Cheryl A. Bennett, Horticulture Technology-Small Fruits & Specialty Crops
Regan L. Birkhead, Associate Degree Nursing
Kaitlyn Danielle Blanken, Associate Degree Nursing
Ellie Olivia Bowman, Esthetics Technology
Samuel Xan Bratu, Surgical Technology
Katey Leanna Brown, Associate Degree Nursing
Hannah Elizabeth Buckman, Early Childhood Education
Bryce Alexander Buckner, Automotive Systems Technology-Auto MAST Level I
Tanner Douglas Buckner, College Transfer
Matthew Blaine Burkett, College Transfer
Riley Ashton Byrd, College Transfer
Sarah Ann Carpenter, Business Administration
Briana Michelle Carson, Associate Degree Nursing
Priscila Lizett Casas, College Transfer
Autumn Rebecca Case, Visual Arts
Sara Elizabeth Case, Surgical Technology
Neftali Casimiro-Sandoval, College Transfer
Christian Ingram Collie, College Transfer
Declan Berrenger Comeaux, College Transfer
Anahi Conejo Perez, Cosmetology
Abigail Contreras, College Transfer
Nora Grace Cornelison, College Transfer
Lucas Crowe, College Transfer
Jodi Lynn Davenport, Surgical Technology
Nicole Marie De Rosa, Teacher Preparation
Abigail Noel Delaney, College Transfer
Amaya Helena Diaz, College Transfer
Kadin Incworth Rogelio Diaz, College Transfer
Ronald William Diaz, Public Safety Administration-Law Enforcement
Kira Bryant Dillin, College Transfer
Crystal Nicole Doan, Office Administration-Medical Office
Joseph Anthony Wayne Doan, Welding Technology-Industrial Plate Welding
Ashley Lauren Drake, College Transfer
Elijah John Dugdale, Film & Video Production Technology
Micah Marie Dwyer, Associate Degree Nursing
Jennifer Lynn Eagan, Cosmetology
Jacquelyn Sophia Elmore, College Transfer
Annah Marie Eubanks, Associate Degree Nursing
Lori Ann Foster-Franklin, Accounting & Finance
Garrett Kyle Fowler, College Transfer
Chassey Nicole Frazier, Surgical Technology
Jennifer Lee Fry, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Anna Marie Gander, College Transfer
America Gaona Borges, College Transfer
Alicia Adriana Gash, College Transfer
Colton John Gasperson, Fire Protection Technology
Jesse Pierce Gerard, College Transfer
Gabrielle Marie Giacomaro, College Transfer
Olivia Ruth Giacomaro, College Transfer
Anita Marie Glance, College Transfer
Evelyn Judith Gonzalez, College Transfer
Samantha Gonzalez, College Transfer
Katherine Anjelique Grady, College Transfer
Perla Coral Guevara-Perez, Accounting & Finance
Eva Rowe Hamlin, College Transfer
Maria C. Hansen, College Transfer
Eric Harper, College Transfer
Caroline Elizabeth Harrelson, Associate Degree Nursing
Anne-Marie Harris, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Cassie Lucinda Hart, Business Administration-Marketing & Retailing
William Cole Harvey, College Transfer
Anna Elizabeth Hatten, Interpreter Education
Haley K. Haulk, College Transfer
Jennifer Wood Hedden, Cosmetology
Abigail Hernandez Vazquez, Office Administration-Legal Office and Associate in General Education
Juan Francisco Herrera Palomo, College Transfer
Cole James Hetzler, College Transfer
Sonterria Lanita Heyward, College Transfer
Emily Grace Hilyer, College Transfer
Troy Peter Hofgesang, College Transfer
Brooklyn Holbert, College Transfer
Cameron Rutledge Holbert, College Transfer
Courtney Lynette Hoselton, Associate Degree Nursing
Brittney Danielle Hunter, Associate in General Education
Stephanie Shereyl Hutchins Payne, Cosmetology
Thomas Iuliano, General Occupational Technology and Business Administration-Graphic Design
Morgan Elizabeth Johnson, College Transfer
Corey Beth Jones, College Transfer
Kasha Michelle Jones, Associate Degree Nursing
Noble Curtis Keller, College Transfer
Ja’vair Quintrell-Lane Kilgore, Mechatronics Engineering Technology-Maintenance
Ericka Rivera King, Human Services Technology
Collin Nathaniel Knox, Accounting & Finance-Bookkeeping I and Associate in General Education
Isabella Grace Kuzia, Cosmetology
Portia Larteley Lartey, College Transfer
Henry L. LeBlanc, College Transfer
Isabella Julia Marie Leonard, College Transfer
Haley Joyce Letterle, Associate Degree Nursing
Natasha Yvonne Levi Perkins, Criminal Justice Technology
Megan Pope Lewis, Associate Degree Nursing
Crystal Lynn Maciel, Early Childhood Education
Kaiya Dell Mann, College Transfer
Austin Tyler Marshall, Film & Video Production Technology
Christopher Robert Martin, Fire Protection Technology
Elizabeth Dorothea Martin, Human Services Technology
Liliana Martinez Salgado, Teacher Preparation
Miguel Angel Martinez-Quintana, Welding Technology-Industrial Plate Welding
Breanne Elise Mauzy, Esthetics Technology
Rachel Marie Maxwell, Accounting & Finance
Torrie Isaac McCall, Associate Degree Nursing
Christopher Douglass McDowell, Fire Protection Technology
Matthew Brian McKenzie, College Transfer
Lakota Hope Merrill, Esthetics Technology
Kaile Jenai Miller, Interpreter Education-Fundamentals of ASL
Yordan Alexander Mintz, College Transfer
Faith Autumn Mirich, College Transfer
Marisol Moreno-Jimenez, College Transfer
Nathanyel Hayes Morgan, Criminal Justice Technology
Colby Wayne Morse, Business Administration
Sophia Emerson Nall, College Transfer
Madeline Rose Nossiter, College Transfer
Louis Todd Nyberg, Fire Protection Technology
Jakob Christian Olsen, College Transfer and Business Administration
Emmanuel Ornelas, College Transfer
Ella Elizabeth Oursler, College Transfer
Alejandrina Oviedo, Early Childhood Education-Administration, Early Childhood Education-Infant & Toddler, and Early Childhood Education-Preschool
Emilie Kaleen Owen, College Transfer
Emma Grace Parker, College Transfer
Victoria Tiana Parra, Cosmetology
Michael Dale Peace, Fire Protection Technology
Grace Ellen Pearce, College Transfer
Fatima Peña-Torres, College Transfer
Arely Perez, College Transfer
Sergio Perez, Automotive Systems Technology
Zikander Mevyt Perez Sanchez, College Transfer
Stephanie Perez-Ibarra, Cosmetology
Ethan Eugene Perry, Interpreter Education-Fundamentals of ASL
Kristen N. Phillips, College Transfer
Regan Larissa Raffield, College Transfer
Berit Berning Raines, College Transfer
Garrison Lee Rapp, Automotive Systems Technology-Auto MAST Level I
Ashlyn Leeann Redmon, Associate Degree Nursing
Norma Jacqueline Renteria, Associate Degree Nursing
Allison Reneè Reynolds, Early Childhood Education
Brandi Nicole Rhodes, Associate Degree Nursing
Kristina Lea Craig Richardson, Associate Degree Nursing
Emma Frances Robinson, Horticulture Technology and College Transfer
Ayden Rodriguez, College Transfer
Dafne Michelle Rodriguez, Early Childhood Education-Preschool
Luiz Fernando Rodriguez, Film & Video Production Technology and Associate in General Education
Mariah Nicole Rogers, Esthetics Technology
Matthew Kirk Ryan, Associate Degree Nursing
Justin Paul Rychanek, College Transfer
Christian Steven Salas-Orihuela, College Transfer
Victoria Rolanda Saldana, Manicuring & Nail Technology
Rosana Sanchez-Tomas, Manicuring & Nail Technology
Jose Julian Santeliz Cifuentes, College Transfer
Monica M. Santiago Javier, Accounting & Finance-Payroll
Pearlie Jean Scott, Human Services Technology
Natasha Stella Seifts, Manicuring & Nail Technology
Nikia Allen Selbrade, Accounting & Finance
Adam Sheinsohn, Computer-Integrated Machining
Paige Erika Shipley, College Transfer
Katy Helen Silvers, Visual Arts
Haley Christine Singleton, Theatre
Jessica Rae Singleton, Cosmetology
Eric Michael Sizemore, Mechatronics Engineering Technology
Nicole Solano-Islas, Nursing
Adelfa M. Solis, Manicuring & Nail Technology
Briana Sosa-Trejo, College Transfer
Cassidy Mareia Souther, College Transfer
Leah Grace Spray, Teacher Preparation
Cassidy Gabrielle Stanley, Cosmetology
Danielle Chiaramonté Still, College Transfer
Dylan De Vos Stokes, College Transfer
Ralph Edward Streadwick, College Transfer
Patrick L. Sullivan, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Leia Rose Thompson, College Transfer
Angela Tinoco-Hernandez, Teacher Preparation
Jhonathan De Jesus Trujillo Torres, College Transfer
Natalia Vaca-Trejo, College Transfer
Casey James Varble, College Transfer
Jonathan Yahir Ventura, College Transfer
Brittany Leigh Waldroup, Accounting & Finance and Accounting & Finance-Bookkeeping II
Jessica Leanne Walker, Accounting & Finance
Naomi Chin Waller, Cosmetology-Instructor
Brittney Leigh Watkins-Krukowski, Associate Degree Nursing
Brittany Kuykendall Watson, Accounting & Finance
Grace Rhiannon Welch, Interpreter Education-Fundamentals of ASL
Robert C. Whitaker, Jr., Horticulture Technology
Wyatt Montgomery Wood, Cosmetology
Miranda Leigh Wright, Business Administration-Marketing & Retailing
Tabitha Paige Love Young, College Transfer
MaryGrace Michele Youngblood, College Transfer

Jackson County
Matthew Todd Nations, Fire Protection Technology

Madison County
Travis James Fox, Fire Protection Technology

Polk County
Shane Michael Arrington, College Transfer
Danielle Nicole Billings, Horticulture Technology
Grayson Lee Bradley, College Transfer
Jason Luke Burton, Automotive Systems Technology
Anna Rose Davenport, College Transfer
Riley Taylor, Automotive Systems Technology
Kyerra Miller Thomas, Early Childhood Education

Randolph County
Emily Elisabeth LaClair, Interpreter Education-Fundamentals of ASL

Stanly County
Roxanne E. Linnell, Office Administration

Transylvania County
Christina Linn Balducci, Human Services Technology and Human Services Technology
Rhiannon Elizabeth Barnes, Associate Degree Nursing
Laurie Jean Benton, Horticulture Technology
Jacquelyn Belle Brant, Business Administration
Keri Elizabeth Bryson, Cosmetology
Sharee Danielle Carrington, Cosmetology
Matthew Chadwick Case, Automotive Systems Technology
Jackson Dennis Clark, Welding Technology
Samuel M. Coyne, College Transfer
Jerod Emanuel Crain, Criminal Justice Technology
Kayla Lynette Crump, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Sarah Grace Cudd, College Transfer
Chloe Arianna Lucinda Drennen, College Transfer
Kadee Somer Glass, Information Technology-Graphic Design
Joseph Frederick Hall, Associate Degree Nursing
Clinton James Harron, College Transfer
Nancy Jean Hein, Accounting & Finance
Alina Suzanne Dorothy Kupras, College Transfer
Patricia Gail Lail, College Transfer
Gregory Allen Marshall, Horticulture Technology
Zachery Wayne Miller, College Transfer
Colton James Newman, Accounting & Finance
Makenzie Marie Owen, College Transfer
Thomas Avery Pressley, College Transfer
Evelyn Marie Rackley, Esthetics Technology
Scarlett Rose Rathbone, Accounting & Finance
Jessica Garrison Reigle, Accounting & Finance
Noah S. Shular, Welding Technology
Taylor Lee Tipton, Accounting & Finance
Emily Paige Whiteside, Associate Degree Nursing

Wilkes County
Nathaniel Warren Johnson, Fire Protection Technology

Yancey County
Shaina Lynn Harris, Fire Protection Technology and Public Safety Administration-Emergency & Fire Management

Anna M. Hooker, Interpreter Education

Ullisa Mereya Ruiz, Early Childhood Education

South Carolina
Cody Austin Lee, Automotive Systems Technology
Liesl Ohlenschläger, Esthetics Technology
Casie Marron Parker, Associate Degree Nursing