Durham Tech graduates more than 350 during 60th commencement celebration

Hundreds of families, friends, Durham Tech employees, and alumni walked into the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) Wednesday evening and filled the seats to attend Durham Tech’s 60th commencement to celebrate the graduating class of 2022. 

2022 GraduatesMore than 350 crossed the stage and received their degree or diploma during the ceremony Wednesday. 

Ibrahim Cissé, 2021 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and 2002 Durham Tech alumnus, gave an inspiring commencement speech that spoke to the education and preparation he received at Durham Tech prior to his award-winning career. 

Cissé earned his Associate in General Education degree from Durham Tech, Bachelor of Science from North Carolina Central University and Ph.D. from the Physics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently the Director of Biological Physics at Max Planck Institution of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany.  

Cissé told graduates that they could achieve anything that they put their mind to and that the sky was the limit. He also told them to find their inner alternate persona like ‘Sasha Fierce/Beyonce’ to reach the next challenge and push themselves.  

“Durham Tech prepares you to do anything you want to do academically and beyond, and I believe that,” said Cissé. “You cannot build a career without a solid educational foundation and for me that foundation was rooted right here in Durham at Durham Tech and continuing at NCCU.” Ibrahim

For the first time, Durham Tech awarded three honorary degrees – one each to an esteemed alumnus, an esteemed retiree, and an esteemed community leader. 

“In honor of Durham Tech’s 60th anniversary, the Durham Tech Board of Trustees decided to bestow three honorary degrees to honor individuals who embody the values of Durham Technical Community College and who have helped to build the institution into what it is today,” said President Buxton. 

President J.B. Buxton, John Burness, Chair of the Durham Tech’s Board of Trustees, and Jenna Bryant, member of Durham Tech’s Board of Trustees, announced the three honorary recipients. The awards went to Cissé; Dorothy Brower Brokaw, a Durham Tech retiree who served the College for more than 34 years in a variety of leadership roles; and Dr. Charles A. Sanders, the former Glaxo, Inc., CEO, noted philanthropist, and former Durham Tech Board of Trustees member. 

The Board of Trustees honored these individuals for their work in the community, commitment to service, and contribution to Durham Tech. 

With lime green tassels blowing in the wind, graduates packed the stands to whistles and yells of parents, friends, and loved ones. 

GraduateVeronica Henriquez, a Durham Tech graduate, expressed her excitement in accomplishing one of her goals of graduating with her Associate in Applied Science in Office Administration and how she juggled being a mother, wife, and college student.  

“It was difficult at first, trying to adjust to a new lifestyle,” Henriquez said. “The combination of motherhood, wife, work, and studying was not easy, it was stressful trying to balance everything at the same time. After a year with the support of my husband and the advice from my friend, I was able to have control of my busy life, not a hundred percent but enough to be satisfied and keep going.” 

Henriquez next steps are to find a job in her field.  

A Durham Tech work-study student and Briggs Avenue Community Gardens volunteer leader, Gaebryl Vives, graduated with his Associate in Science and already began his new position at the NC Cooperative Extension of Durham County in January 2022.  

“Durham Tech helped to prepare me for the future by providing me with opportunities to become engaged in areas that were interesting to me. Volunteer days at the garden led me to working for the organization that runs it. Working in the food pantry got me passionate about community engagement, fighting food insecurity in my community, and being able to meet and help all different types of people. Thanks to Durham Tech I have grown as a person over the past two years,” Vives said. 

A full recording of the 2022 Commencement Ceremony can be viewed on the Durham Tech YouTube channel.  

Photos can be viewed on Durham Tech's Facebook Page under Commencement 2022 album. 

For more information, contact Desiree Towson, M.S., Communications and Public Relations Coordinator, at allisontowsond@durhamtech.edu.