The Rev. Lisa C. Johnson delivered the commencement address Wednesday evening at Eastern Shore Community College’s 51st annual commencement.
Around 90 people graduating from various programs received their credentials during the ceremony, held on the Melfa campus. A moment of silence was held to memorialize retired professor Robin Rich-Coates, who died May 10.
Johnson is deputy for diversity and inclusion at Goddard Space Flight Center and also manages Goddard’s alternative dispute resolution program.
She also has taught part time for ESCC and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. She also serves as pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Horntown.
Johnson holds a doctor of philosophy degree in organizational leadership, a master’s degree in education, guidance and counseling, and a bachelor of arts degree in communication arts.
Additionally, she represents District 3 on the Accomack County School Board.
Johnson told the graduates to believe in miracles, noting her own life story as an example.
“I am the fourth child born to a man with an elementary education,” she said, adding, “…I decided, just like you can, to commit to excellence.”
Now, Johnson said, “I sit behind a desk at the organization where my father was a short-order cook.”
She urged the graduates to remember “CPR,” which she said stands for commitment, pressure management, and readiness.
Student Government Association President Kelsey Kilmon gave the valedictory address.
Barbara Johnsen was awarded an honorary degree from the college.
Johnsen, who has worked in the fields of education, juvenile justice, and business, later excelled in the nonprofit arena, raising funds for her local church, the YMCA, public radio and television stations, and the Eastern Shore Community College Foundation. She also was appointed to the State Board for Community Colleges.
President James Shaeffer congratulated the graduates, telling them and their assembled loved ones, “For us, this is a celebration of the Eastern Shore.”
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The Eastern Shore Post is the only locally owned newspaper on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is published each Friday and 12,000 copies are distributed free to readers at hundreds of locations from Pocomoke, Md., and Chincoteague, Va., to Cape Charles, Va. It is posted online Thursday evening, usually by 6:30 p.m. We are in the Four Corner Plaza at 25248 Lankford Highway, Onley. Mailing address is P.O. Box 517, Onley, VA 23418