Northeast State sees record spring graduation applications

There’s a rush on caps and gowns at Northeast State Community College this spring.

A record 907 students filed applications to graduate this spring – an amazing increase of more than 300 applications submitted in 2008.

“We have experienced a tremendous increase in graduation applications from last year and it is a result of several items,” said Billy Benton, Northeast State registrar. “We no longer have a graduation fee, we initiated a Graduate Now campaign for alumni and traditional students, and students want a degree or certificate from Northeast State.”

Northeast State eliminated the $25 graduation fee for students this year with approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents. The admissions office reported 667 graduation applications were submitted by students completing degree requirements in the upcoming spring and summer semesters. The office received 176 applications from students who completed degree requirements last fall plus additional applications from students completing all required courses to graduate during the 2007 and 2008 summer terms.

Upcoming graduates’ top three majors are the University Parallel track, Health-Related Professions – with concentrations of Surgical Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Dental Assisting, Cardiovascular Technology, and EMT-Paramedic – and Industrial Technology. The applicants include approximately 290 students who will graduate with honors.

Northeast State will also graduate its first class of nursing students this spring. The nursing division reported 31 students will earn their associate of applied science degree two years after entering the program.

Northeast State had 670 total graduates in spring 2008. The trend toward higher graduation numbers also suggests Northeast State’s commitment to student retention is bearing fruit with more people opting to graduate. The college’s spring commencement graduate ceremony will be held May 12 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Center on the campus of East Tennessee State University.

Graduates will have an opportunity to pick up their cap and gown, order invitations/class rings, meet with members of the Alumni Office, Financial Aid, Career and Employment Services, Transfer Advising, Institutional Advancement, and others at the “Grad Finale” event held March 23 from 1 – 5 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts.

“We are excited to be graduating a record number of students this year because it shows the tremendous accomplishments of our students and the growth of Northeast State,” said Benton. “The increase shows the importance of earning an associate degree or certificate in order to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year institution.”


Baseball historian Phil Dixon visits Northeast State

With spring training right around the corner, Northeast State Community College will welcome award-winning baseball historian Phil Dixon to campus on Tuesday, Feb. 24 for two discussions about the Negro Baseball Leagues and how their stars changed the game forever.

Dixon is widely regarded as one of America's foremost experts on baseball history. He has authored The Ultimate Kansas City Baseball Trivia Quiz Boo, The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History, 1863-1955, and The Monarchs, 1920-1928 Featuring Wilber "Bullet" Rogan, The Greatest Ballplayer in Cooperstown. He has won the prestigious Casey Award for the Best Baseball Book of 1992, and a SABR MacMillan Award for his excellence in baseball research.

The African-American struggle for civil rights during the 20th century parallels major league baseball’s integration in 1947 when Jackie Robinson donned a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey to break the color barrier. Robinson’s story is well-known, but others may know little about legendary Negro Baseball League players such as Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson.

Formerly in public relations with the Kansas City Royals, Dixon now serves on the Board of Governors for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. His soon-to-be released series of books are entitled "Phil Dixon's American Baseball Chronicles, Volumes 1 to 10.

Dixon will present his work at noon in Basler Library and at 7 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium on the College’s main campus 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The event represents the College’s month-long commemoration of African-American History Month. Admission is free and open to the public.