Longtime Vol State Professor Gives Commencement Address

Submitted on May 05, 2012 at 11:39 AM

The fortieth annual commencement ceremony at Volunteer State Community College was held Saturday and it featured a feisty and well-respected professor. Dr. Robert Ruff is retiring this year after 39 years of service with Vol State. He worked closely with student clubs and organizations throughout his career, both as advisor and mentor. He is best known for his tough and energetic social science classes. He spoke of his path to teaching and had some advice for the graduates

"As you graduate and as you decide what you will do with your life, make sure it is a passion. Make sure it's something you like to do," said Ruff.

The class was the largest ever at the college with more than 1400 graduates. Thousands of graduates, loved ones, friends and well-wishers filled the Pickel Field House for the ceremony. Hiba Ghanem of Hendersonville was named the Outstanding Graduate for 2012. The education major was lauded for her community service and dedication to the field.

Sixty-nine year-old Helen McBride of Hendersonville walked the stage to receive her degree. She made the decision to attend college after her husband passed away in 2007. She plans to present her 91 year-old mother with the degree, the first of its kind in her family.

"I just said- I'm going to college. It's something I always wanted to do my entire life and I'm doing it now," said McBride. "Being involved with these students, mostly younger people, was great. Their outlook is amazing. They taught me so much and I think I taught them some things as well. The interaction was amazing."

Volunteer State Community college has more than 70 programs of study and offers two-year degrees, certificates and paths to university transfer. For more information visit www.volstate.edu

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Pictured: Hiba Ghanem of Hendersonville is presented the Outstanding Graduate award by Faculty Speaker Loretta Calvert.

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