Laurel Ridge Community College celebrates Class of 2024

For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2024

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

graduate photo
Shoaib Zamani received his diploma May 10.

More than 1,000 people have joined the ranks of Laurel Ridge Community College alumni following commencement ceremonies on May 9 and 10, outdoors on the Middletown Campus. Health professions graduates had their commencement ceremony on May 9, with all other disciplines following on May 10. 

There were 1,003 students in the Class of 2024, and thankfully rain held off during the ceremonies both days. Nursing, surgical technology and medical laboratory technology graduates had pinning ceremonies following the health professions commencement, while emergency medical services graduates had a coin ceremony.

“Commencement exercises are held to recognize the successful conclusion of hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of hard work, sacrifice and dedication from students,” President Kim Blosser told graduates. “For college personnel, this is the event that brings us our greatest satisfaction and pride. What we know about students who complete a college credential is that, above all, it takes resilience and perseverance.

“I know that many of you have been fighting through challenges your entire college career, and we are so proud of you for continuing to move forward toward accomplishing your goals. Thank you for the resilience, grace and compassion you have demonstrated. Whatever your journey entailed and wherever it takes you next, you have earned this moment.”

Student Government Association Co-President Brandi Yasem, who is transferring to Shenandoah University and hopes to become a cardiovascular surgeon, gave the commencement speech on May 10.

“Earning your degree is no small feat,” she told her classmates. “You should be proud of yourselves for persevering to the end. You made it.

“Success is not just about money and material possessions. It’s about pursuing your passions, building meaningful relationships and making a positive impact on the world around you. Although our time at Laurel Ridge has come to an end, our journeys are far from over. Learning is a lifelong process. In order to grow, we must continually expand our minds.”

The commencement speaker for the health professions graduates was Jason Dolan, a firefighter-paramedic who made a career change to nursing. He will be continuing his education at West Virginia University and hopes to become a nurse practitioner.

“The most important thing about this field, healthcare as a whole, is the impact we have on people,” Dolan said. “We get to connect with people who need our help. We can leave a lifelong impact on a spouse, a family, or even inspire others to join the field of healthcare.”

One of his professors asked him why he wanted to become a nurse when he already had a career in fire and EMS.

“I’m becoming a nurse for my patients, for the people that I treat,” said Dolan. “I want my impact to last longer on that timeline of care.”

Two graduates were named the Outstanding Graduates for the Class of 2024 on May 10. Margaret Cain was the Outstanding Graduate for the Fauquier Campus, and Sydney Patton for the Middletown Campus.

History and Humanities Professor Nicole Martin described Cain as one of the most gifted writers she’s ever had in class. In addition to being academically gifted, she is a prolific volunteer, and served as a mentor to her fellow students. Her goal is to become a writing coach.

Cybersecurity Professor James Allen described Patton as patient, diligent and versatile, a student who stands out among her peers. With women making up only 25 percent of cybersecurity professionals worldwide, and with a global shortage of 3.5 million workers, the field needs more women like her, he noted. Patton hopes to return to Laurel Ridge as an adjunct cybersecurity professor.

The college also awarded an honorary associate degree in humane letters to Anne Connor Hall on May 10. Hall and her late husband, John, raised their children in Warrenton, and she continues her 49-year real estate career with Long & Foster.

“As a volunteer, Anne has dedicated her life to making Fauquier County a great place to live, to learn, to work and to heal,” said President Blosser. “Many nonprofits, schools, and healthcare organizations have benefitted from Anne’s passion to help others – perhaps none more than Laurel Ridge Community College and the Fauquier Campus.”

The fundraising efforts of Hall, who was named the Fauquier Citizen of the Year in 2010, have led to more than $3 million in support coming to the Fauquier Campus.

“She provided leadership for the most successful fundraising event in the college’s history, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for an endowed scholarship for Fauquier County residents,” President Blosser said. “Anne also raised significant funding to support our two new facilities at the Fauquier Campus – our beautiful academic building for science, engineering and health professions, Hazel Hall, and the Skilled Trades Center.”

Of the 1,0003 students in the class of 2024, 253 are Frederick County residents; 178 are Fauquier County residents; 134 are from Winchester; 115 hail from Shenandoah County; 91 from Warren County; 42 from Page County: 40 from Clarke County; 11 from Rappahannock County, and another 139 are from outside the Laurel Ridge service region.

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Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.

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