Making The Grade
The Prince George’s Community College Foundation’s Partners for Success Awards Gala Remembers Those Who Reach Beyond Obstacles
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMIR STOUDAMIRE
Every two years the Prince George’s Community College’s Partner For Success Gala demonstrates the college’s impact in elevating lives and finds ways to give thanks to those who help PGCC achieve those great accomplishments with their students.
This year’s gala—acknowledging the college’s 60th anniversary -- included all those messages and several important themes that went a bit further.
PGCC President Dr. Charlene Dukes and keynote speaker Actor Debbi M. Morgan shared sentiments about possessing the strength to overcome obstacles to achieve previously unimaginable goals. Morgan overcame abuse in her home as a child and Dukes was the first in her family to graduate college. Both women faced financial challenges and fought to pull themselves up with modest resources.
Dukes talked about sharing meals with her college roommate when times were tough while Morgan – who appeared at the gala via prepared video – talked about surviving domestic violence as a child and the acting recruiter who saw her talent and pushed her to higher levels.
Both Dukes and Morgan have developed extraordinary careers. Dukes has been recognized as one of the most influential women of the Washington, D.C. metro area. Her work with the college has gained national attention as a model for higher education. Morgan, who began her acting career at age 16, has appeared in dozens of film and stage productions including television’s Good Times and What’s Happening and All My Children and film such as Eve’s Bayou, The Hurricane and Love & Basketball.
The message was simple: Success can be achieved in spite of the obstacles. Dukes sees daily examples of the winning spirit in PGCC students who make success happen in spite of domestic set-backs, financial issues, physical handicaps and many other issues that delay progress.
With the opening of PGCC’s Culinary Arts Center and the re-opening of the newly renovated Lanham Hall, PGCC leaders have much to share with their partners in the success of the college’s 60 year history.
The first integrated educational institution in Prince George’s County initially had only 185 students in 1958 when PGCC came into being. Today, the college has some 40,000 students annually and more than 100 associate degree, workforce development and continuing education offerings in the county.
The college, whose original mission was to provide accessible and affordable quality education to residents of the county and region, has maintained the mission and expanded its operations. There are now five degree and extension centers in addition to its 831,000 sq. ft. main campus that holds 16 permanent buildings, 250 full-time faculty and 800 adjunct faculty.
See photos from the gala here
More About the Partners for Success Gala
Who: Prince George’s Community College’s Foundation, Inc.
What: Partner for Success Awards Gala - honoring Rushern L. Baker, III (CE); Melonie D. Johnson, President & COO, MGM National Harbor; and a special tribute to David H. Hillman (Founder, Southern Management Corporation).
When: October 19, 2018
Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Riverview Ballroom
Keynote Speaker: Debbi M. Morgan
Blue Owls, an exciting all-female vocal group who preform a wide variety of musical styles including Motown, R&B, modern pop, and soul. The group was formed as a trio in the fall of 2017, and are now a quartet of current vocal majors at Prince George’s Community College aspiring to have professional careers in the music industry.
Just’s Friends – a band consisting mostly of Omega Psi Phil Fraternity brothers who perform jazz, R&B, funk, old school, new school, go-go, and hip-hop. (this band played live during the dance segment of program, before the closing remarks).