Big Sandy Community and Technical College President Dr. Devin Stephenson, center, speaks to faculty members Kay Johnson and Randy Mills during the colleges Fall Convocation on Tuesday, August 4 at the Mayo Auditorium. Birmingham-Southern College Director of Athletics Joe Dean Jr. served as the keynote speaker for Big Sandy Community and Technical Colleges (BSCTC) Fall Convocation on Tuesday, August 4 in the Mayo Auditorium.

Dean, who served as an assistant mens basketball coach at the University of Kentucky with coach Joe B. Hall from 1977-83, has been a color television analyst for Southeastern Conference affiliates (now the SEC Network) for 21 years.

I remember these mountains very well, said Dean, who has served as athletics director at Birmingham-Southern for the past 17 years. He recalled making several trips to the community of Virgie in Pike County recruiting Todd May. Those days were something very special.

The Fall Convocation was a day-long event for all BSCTC employees. Dean stressed the importance of teamwork, unity and always working for the students.

[The students] are why we are here, he told employees. The work you are doing will change lives for generations to come.

BSCTC President Dr. Devin Stephenson, who is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, laid out his vision for BSCTC.

We want to be a premier institution when it comes to general and technical education, transfer and workforce, community and economic development, he said. We want to be an influencer and work with our partners in the region and across the Commonwealth to bring opportunities to the people of the Big Sandy region.

Dr. Stephenson, who assumed the role of president on June 1, performed with the Big Sandy Singers and Band during the event. He is a classically trained pianist. Dr. Stephenson and Dr. Nancy Johnson, provost of BSCTC, recognized employees for accomplishments over the last academic year. Dr. John Shiber, Elizabeth Cole and Amanda Catron were honored with NISOD awards. NISOD is an organization that promotes and celebrates excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges. Joshua Ball, C.W. Vanhoose and Linda Dyer were recognized for being named New Horizons award recipients.

Faculty promotions were announced by Dr. Johnson. Those included: Judith Valade and Mary Stepp Wallen, professor; Jeremey Dempsey, Carmen Fields, Kitty Jennings, Jane Pixley and Matthew Smith, associate professor; and Harold Baldridge, Leslie Bays, Roberta Durham, Josh Fitzpatrick and Dr. Fallon Watson, assistant professor.

New employees were also recognized by Laura Ford Hall, chairperson of the Big Sandy O.N.E. (Orientation for New Employees) program. Those recognized were: Lindsey Anderson, adult education specialist; Jennifer Herald Kostner, English lecturer; Aaron Brooks, diesel technology instructor; and Shawna Rodenberg, English lecturer.

Dr. Stephenson encouraged all employees to be unified through one college, one mission and one vision.

We must respect our past, but we also must look forward to what is in front of us, he said. If you get stuck in tradition, you become history.

BSCTC is currently enrolling students for the fall semester. New and returning students can take advantage of a Registration Blitz on August 10-11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; August 12-13 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and August 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Classes start on Monday, August 17.