Issue 382: 5 / 9 / 2011

The Southwest Class of 2011 Challenged to “Have a Plan” to “Change the World”

Members of Southwest’s Class ...

Members of Southwest’s Class of 2011 display their pride and sense of accomplishment right before their commencement ceremony traditional march.

Amidst a sea of black regalia, glad hearts and hopeful spirits soared as family and love ones awaited the pronouncement of their names, signaling their turn to walk across the stage to receive that piece of paper proclaiming “I did it!” More than 1,700 graduates marching to the traditional Pomp and Circumstance were encouraged to “Have a Plan” by Commencement Speaker Joseph DeVivo and to “Change the World” by Student Speaker Tinisia Branch during the Southwest Tennessee Community College 2011 Commencement Ceremony on May 7, at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, MS.

Southwest President Nathan L. Essex welcomed family members and friends and applauded the outstanding efforts and accomplishments of graduates. Among them was Jacqueline Bain, awarded a Dietetic Technician Degree 30 years after an earlier, unsuccessful attempt to go to college when she graduated from high school. Bain was privileged to graduate concurrently with her daughter, Kristen, who earned an Associate of Science degree in teaching.

Also recognized for overcoming tremendous odds was Robert Hunt, who bravely served his country in the U.S. armed forces from 1995 to 2007. Hunt was discharged due to an injury he sustained while deployed in Iraq. Matriculating through Southwest, Hunt served as vice president of the International Studies and Veterans clubs and held membership with the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, graduating with a 3.79 GPA. All graduating members of the armed forces were commended.

Other students President Essex commended were those who had dually enrolled in high school and Southwest. John McDaniel earned both an Associate of Arts degree in general education while also earning a high school diploma. Ariel Anderson, Lindsay Avis, Callie Goldsby, Josue Medrano, and Kristin Harris were awarded technical certificates in electrical electronics fundamentals as well as high school diplomas.

Powerful business leader, Joseph DeVivo, asked the question “Do you have a plan?” in his address to the Southwest Graduating Class of 2011. DeVivo detailed the events of his life, both disappointing and rewarding that led to his current position as President of Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics. He culminated his message with ten pieces of advice from his personal experiences: (1) Listen to your inner voice, (2) Find your passion, (3) Be dependable, (4) Put your company first and your career second, (5) Try to learn every day, (6) Take on the company’s largest problems, (7) Include your family in your work, (8) Focus on the job you have, not on the job you want, (9) Don’t worry, and (10) Live to be debt free. He also added "Give back to your community."

Eloquent and commanding, Southwest Student Speaker Tinisia Branch, a sociology major, encouraged her classmates to think of their diplomas, as she once heard Tom Brokaw, former TV journalist and NBC anchor, say – “tickets to ‘change the world.’” Branch remarked, “Each and every one of us has the opportunity to change the world. …Graduates of 2011 take your tickets and change the world!” Branch served as President of the Honors Academy and Services Learning Club.

View the Southwest 2011 Commencement Ceremony Photo Gallery.

View YouTube Video of  Student Speaker Tinisia E. Branch's address to the Class of 2011.


Danish Students Continue to Enjoy Memphis Local Attractions Year after Year

The Danish students tour the ...

The Danish students tour the Gibson Guitar Factory while visiting Memphis.

Danish students from Naestved, Demark, a city with a population of about 41,810, make an annual visit to Memphis every spring. This year’s 23 students and two instructors (their first visit to the Bluff City and only four in the group had visited the USA before) were overcome recently with southern hospitality, said tour leader Felicia Hankins, Southwest study-abroad graduate and International Studies Program part-time staff member. Southwest generally assigns a staff person to accompany the visitors on their outings during their stay in Memphis, something that, according to Hankins, the Danish instructors said doesn’t usually happen when they visit other countries. “They kept saying over and over again that they usually have to work so hard to keep the students all together, but they did not have a problem this time,” Hankins said. The extra pair of hands and the familiarity of the city that  the Southwest staff normally provides, help make the Danish visits go smoother.

Southwest's Danish guests visited the Gibson Guitar Factory and as “always” Elvis Presley's Graceland. CiCi’s Pizza’s eat all you want buffet was also a big hit along with seeing this season’s winning Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. A new site on the tour was the recently built Harley Davidson Company located in Southaven, Mississippi. As business majors, the Danish students were intrigued by the business owner, an optometrist who changed careers and opened the Harley Davidson Company. “They were excited about that,” said Hankins. “And of course they got to see the motorcycles.” Whetting these business students' appetite for entrepreneurship, Chef Steven Leake and Center Emphasis of Director Jeremy Burnett spoke with them about the ice carving business.

And one of the most pleasurable aspects of their visit is the time the guests get to spend with their host families. “They love spending time with their host families. That is a highlight for them as well," said Hankins.

View more photos of the Danish Students' Visit.

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Happy Trails to You

Neal Cordell drives in the ...

Neal Cordell drives in the first stake of the Maxine A. Smith Center Nature Trail.

An area of the beautifully forested 100-acre Maxine A. Smith (MAS) Center was designated for a nature trail. Associate Director of the center Barbara Kernan was assigned to lead the effort to create the trail by the Executive Director of Extended Programs Harry Taylor. Associate Professor of Education and Legal Studies Neal Cordell, gave his expertise by  walking the designated area and roughing out a ¾ mile hiking path. Assistant Professors Joyce Johnson and Jason Jennings (Natural Sciences) gave their insight, as well as Assistant Professor Vicki Armstrong (Landscape and Turfgrass Management). The Saluqi Baseball Team will be instrumental in marking the circumference of the trail and the Science Club will classify and mark flora and fauna to be seen in the area. According to Cordell, “the trail can be used as an outdoor classroom, exercise area or a place to rest.

The first stakes were driven on April 14, 2011 and the group blessed the trail appropriately with “Trail Mix.” Weather premitting, the trail is expected to be compelete during Summer 2011. The Maxine A Smith Nature Trail is located on the SW corner of the college’s property at 8800 East Shelby Drive.

View Happy Trails Photo Gallery

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The 2011 Faculty and Staff Awards Reception

Southwest President Nathan L. Essex ...

Southwest President Nathan L. Essex (left) presents the esteemed Jim Willis Spirit Award to Vanessa Dowdy.

The 2011 Faculty and Staff Awards Reception was held in its usual venue, the Verties Sails Gym on April 29. This year's event honored award recipients, retirees and others participating in the voluntary buyout. The following awards were presented:

Support Staff Awards - Presented by William Youngson

Police/Public Safety Awards - Presented by James Bolden

Faculty Awards - Presented by Joyce Johnson

Vice Presidents Divisional Awards

View the 2011 Faculty and Staff Awards Reception Photo Gallery

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Avoiding Dishonest Moving Companies

Reprinted from a Special to The Commercial Appeal
By Randy Hutchinson
President of the Better Business Bureau

Here are two customer complaints that illustrate typical problems with dishonest moving companies:

“I was supposed to be charged $95. After the furniture was loaded and en route to Memphis from Senatobia, the driver called me and said I had to pay $130 because some furniture was oversized. They said my furniture would not be unloaded if I didn’t pay the extra fee.” This actual customer complaint is an example of what the BBB calls the “hostage goods” scam.

“They damaged $1,000 worth of household appliances and furniture. They damaged my neighbor’s yard.” The mover involved in this complaint promised to make things right, but never did.

Most movers are reputable and work with the customer and the BBB to resolve problems that arise. But some are crooks, some are incompetent, and the worst are both; and they generate a high number of unanswered and unresolved complaints. The BBB has assigned a D or F rating to ten local movers.

We offer the following advice for selecting a reputable mover:

The customers I cited above dealt with two different movers. One was cheated, the other mistreated. One had a relatively small number of possessions moved, the other a house full. The only common element in their tales of woe was that they didn’t check with the BBB before engaging the mover.

In just a few minutes and at no cost, each would have found that their mover already had an F rating and was obviously not accredited by the BBB. We could have provided them with a list of BBB accredited movers who would have made their move a far more pleasant experience.

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Mixing Household Cleaners Can Damage Lungs

Submitted by Tim Tyler, Public Safety Specialist

Household chemists beware - the fumes produced by mixing ammonia and bleach product can cause serious lung problems. When bleach and ammonia are combined, the doctors explain, they create a gas called chloramine.

When inhaled, this gas releases ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and oxygen free radicals in lungs. Small amounts of chloramine may cause mild irritation, but it can corrode the tissues of the lung and damage the cells.

The result; inflammation of lung tissues and build-up of fluids that can obstruct the airways.

*Reprinted from the New England Journal of Medicine

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The Scoop Moves to Summer Schedule

Today marks the beginning of the Scoop’s summer schedule. Look for the Scoop bi-weekly, with the next publication coming out on May 23 (editorial deadline May 18).

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