Vance-Granville Community College will hold commencement exercises dedicated exclusively to new graduates of Adult Basic Skills programs on Thursday, May 4. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.
Those being honored at the ceremony will include students who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.
Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, an author and professor who spent part of his childhood in Oxford, will serve as the guest speaker. Tyson is currently Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School. He also holds a faculty position in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His most recent book is The Blood of Emmett Till, published early this year.
Tyson is the author of Blood Done Sign My Name, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Southern Book Award for Nonfiction and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. His Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power was the winner of the James Rawley Prize for the best book on race and the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the best first book in U.S. history from the Organization of American Historians. His Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, published with David S. Cecelski with a foreword by Dr. John Hope Franklin, won the 1999 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina NAACP and the board of advisors for the UNC Center for Civil Rights.
Speaking on behalf of the graduating students during the ceremony will be Spencer Bojan Boyd of Oxford. Boyd completed the Adult High School Diploma program online and is already enrolled in the College Transfer program at VGCC. Boyd is a native of Serbia and was adopted at the age of six by a family in Johnston County, who later moved to Granville County. He was born without a right leg and with a distorted left leg, which was later amputated. Boyd’s future plan is to continue his education at the four-year level and become a certified prosthetist in order to help other amputees.