Morton to give commencement speech

Published 7:13 pm Saturday, April 23, 2022

Vera (Dove) Morton of Farmville, who will graduate with an associate degree in Liberal Arts from Virginia Western Community College, was selected as the Student Commencement Speaker.

Morton, 67, will share her background as a recipient of the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship, which the Virginia General Assembly created in 2004 to provide educational opportunities for persons who were enrolled or eligible to enroll in the public schools of Virginia during massive resistance between 1954 and 1964.

Rather than desegregate, leaders in Farmville, closed the public schools just as she was to start kindergarten. The school did not reopen — and Morton did not begin her formal education — until three years later, in 1964, when she was automatically put in third grade. Through the years, Morton said, she acquired a solid foundation in mathematics, but she missed many fundamentals of English instruction.

“They might have held me back then, but today I’m getting ready to graduate with honors,” said Morton, who hopes to write a book about her experiences. “I still feel like I have a lot to give and encourage people. Give it a try. You won’t know if you can succeed if you don’t try.”

Virginia Western Community College will hold its graduation ceremony May 13 at the Berglund Center, its first in-person commencement after a two-year pause because of the pandemic.

The ceremony, which will honor graduates from the fall 2021 and spring and summer 2022 semesters, starts at 6:30 p.m. More than 430 students are expected to attend, with over 784 degrees and credentials awarded.

“The entire Virginia Western community is excited to gather in person and celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates,” said Virginia Western President Dr. Robert H. Sandel. “I look forward to seeing so many students walk across the stage on their big night.”

Virginia Western honored both the Class of 2020 and 2021 with virtual graduation ceremonies.

Dr. Glenn DuBois, who is retiring in June as Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, will be the keynote speaker.

Virginia Western’s commencement will be viewable online through a YouTube livestream. The link for the event is: https://youtu.be/k0RDvwJklYE