Alamance Community College alumni, faculty, staff, and students were honored by the College May 25 at the 2017 Celebrating Excellence Awards, hosted by the ACC Board of Trustees and the ACC Foundation Board of Directors. The annual event, this year held at the National Agents Alliance Convention Center in Burlington, honors those who have achieved distinction through hard work and dedication.
Among those who spoke at the event were Dr. Algie Gatewood, ACC president; Paul Mauney, President of the ACC Foundation Board of Directors and Publisher of the Times-News; and Carolyn Rhode, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the ACC Foundation.
2017 Distinguished Alumnus
Travis Gunter came to Alamance Community College following a stint in the U.S. Marines. Excelling through ACC’s Culinary Arts program, he has been continuously employed in the culinary industry—beginning with a stint at Durham’s Hilton Hotel–and has risen through the ranks of his field. An appearance on CNBC’s ‘Restaurant Start Up’ program led to restaurant ownership in South Carolina. Since then he has worked as an executive chef at high-end restaurants across the southeast, and currently serves as Sous-Chef at Bravo/Brio Restaurant Group in Louisiana.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is for an alumnus who has achieved a significant level of success as a direct result from the education gained at ACC.
At the Celebrating Excellence event, Gunter was awarded the Presidential Medallion. The medallion was designed by Jesse Vaughn, retired Mechanical Drafting Technology instructor, and crafted by Adam Self, Computer-Integrated Machining Department Head. Made of brass, the medallion features the college seal and a blue ribbon.
Other nominees for the Distinguished Alumni Award were:
Ravonda Cole, owner of CMIT Solutions of Chapel Hill
William S. Horn, Clinical Engineering Dept. at Duke University Medical Center (retired)
Richard Jones, owner of Richard Jones Real Estate
Tracy Salisbury, Clinic Director at Cone Health
Willie Leon Saul, President of Willie Saul and Son, Inc.
Rick Smith, President of First Savings and Loan
Also recognized were:
Rhonda Pierce, Department Head/Nurse Aide, as Excellence in Teaching recipient
Don Utberg-Hood, Computer Technology Instructor, as Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year
Beth Brehler, Director of Enrollment Management, as Staff Member of the Year
Tom Davis, Woodworking Instructor, as Workforce Development Instructor of the Year
William H. “Bill” Woodruff, Professor Emeritus
Woodruff began his tenure with the Biotechnology program two years after its 1985 inception, initially as an instructor and then as department head from 1996 until 2016. Over the years he served in high-profile director roles for regional centers such as Biolink. Known in the NC biotechnology community as the “Grandfather of Community College Biotech,” he received the Academic Development Excellence Award for 25 years of career achievement by the Piedmont Triad Office of the NC Biotechnology Center.
NC Governor Robert W. Scott Leadership Award:
Kimberly Johnson became the College’s first North Carolina winner of this award at the state banquet held in Durham where she received a $1,000 prize. A winner of ACC’s Clapp Entrepreneurial Opportunity (CEO) Initiative competition, she has been prepping her business launch of a Ninja-style exercise gym. Her campus activities have included Phi Theta Kappa, Rotaract Club, Martial Arts Society, SGA, and National Society of Leadership and Success. She expects to earn her Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Administration from ACC later this year.
Student Academic Excellence Award Recipient:
Anh Nguyen emigrated from Vietnam in 2011 and studied English for three years before enrolling in ACC’s university transfer program. A May 2017 graduate, Anh worked in ACC’s chemistry lab as a work-study student and had a GPA of 3.93 last semester. After recently passing the Pharmacy College Administration Test (PCAT), she has been accepted into High Point University’s pharmacy program for fall 2017. “I can say that ACC is the best place for students who wish to start their career dream,” she says.
Dallas Herring Achievement Award:
Marsha Dwyer initially enrolled at ACC in her 30s to learn skills for personal landscaping. With the encouragement of Horticulture Dept. Head Justin Snyder, she excelled and earned her associate’s degree. She also accompanied Snyder on a trip to Africa for an educational service project. Earning her Bachelor of Science degree from NC A&T State University this spring, Marsha plans to continue with a master’s degree program and work internationally with small farmers to assist in relieving the global food crisis.