Moments from Fall 2023 Convocation

Blue Ridge’s Fall Convocation Prepares for Year of Opportunity

Featured photo: Moments from the 2023 Fall Convocation (Photos by Ben Rickert and Rich Keen, Marketing and Communications Dept.)

Marketing & Communications Dept.

On Monday, August 14, Blue Ridge Community College hosted its fall Convocation, which serves to unify and inform Blue Ridge’s faculty and staff in preparation for the new academic year. The hopeful “Opportunity” convocation theme was woven throughout the event.

Chairman of the Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees Chip Gould was the first to welcome the employees to the event and new semester. Chief of Staff Dr. David Stegall then spoke about challenges becoming opportunities.

“Even when you are on top, if you don’t seize the opportunity to adapt to change, it can be a quick fall from the penthouse to the outhouse. Great organizations adapt and seize the moment during uncertain times,” Dr. Stegall said. “We have the opportunity to drive positive change in our communities.”

Blue Ridge success coach Terrell Brown, engineering faculty member Carol Wheeler, and student Shannon Allison all spoke about what opportunity means to them. Brown said opportunities create the pathway to hope. Wheeler described daily interactions with students as opportunity. Allison, a second-year Associate Degree Nursing student and community leader, challenged the crowd to continually make opportunities available to all students, particularly non-traditional students.

President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood emphasized Blue Ridge’s dedication to helping students, particularly through customer service and flexibility. She also highlighted several successes in the College from the 2022-2023 academic year, including the continuation of Brighter Futures “Free College” Scholarships, a record-setting 80th commencement and the rapid expansion of the apprenticeship program.

Leatherwood encouraged the faculty and staff to remember the difference their work makes.

“Please know that each of you are vitally important not only to our College’s mission to build a competitive workforce through skills and knowledge, but also our vision: to transform lives through the power of learning,” Dr. Leatherwood said. “Your work gives people first, second, third, and even fourth chances to reach their potential.”

Learn more about opportunities at Blue Ridge at