BRTC held its Spring Commencement this past Thursday evening in the Randolph County Development Center. BRTC awarded 38 degrees and certificates to 221 graduates. Some students completed more than one certificate. Separate commencement ceremonies were held for nursing, respiratory, and law enforcement graduates.
Degrees were conferred by BRTC President Dr. Eric Turner and awarded by Vice President for General Education Dr. Roger Johnson. Degrees awarded included two-year Associate of Arts, Associate of Business, and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as one-year technical certificates, and one-semester certificates of proficiency.
Robert Johnson, candidate for the Certificate of Industrial Electricity/Electronics, served as graduate candidate spokesperson. He thanked BRTC for being a friendly, compassionate, and willing institution then gave his classmates this advice: “Life is like a journey. It will take an unexpected direction….[and] All worthwhile journeys have roadblocks.” He encouraged his classmates to conquer these roadblocks by overcoming their fear. Johnson is a 1980 graduate of Rivercrest High School, a veteran Marine, and owned a financial business in California.
Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Dr. Brett Powell served as guest speaker. Dr. Powell gave graduates three pieces of advice: “Don’t let personal challenges become limitations,” “be a yes man or woman” by saying “yes” instead of “no” to opportunities, and “you aren’t finished learning.” Finally he explained that the graduates are one of the 38.8% of Arkansans who have a post-secondary degree and congratulated them on their success.
Powell was named director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) on January 30, 2015, following a nation-wide search conducted by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB). Before coming to ADHE, Powell served as vice president for administrative services at Ouachita Baptist University from 2006 to 2015, associate vice chancellor for finance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and director of financial services at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Powell is a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, vice chair of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet and serves on several other state boards and task forces. He also serves as a board member for the Arkansas 529 College Savings Plan and the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Powell holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, and a Master of Business Administration and a Doctorate of Education in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is also an certified public accountant.
Powell and his wife Stacey are the parents of one daughter, Chandler, who is studying Communication Science and Disorders at Ouachita Baptist University.