The investiture for Dr. Nicole Roades, the sixth president at Southern State Community College, was held Monday in the Edward K. Daniels Memorial Auditorium on the college’s central campus in Hillsboro.
Roades assumed the presidency on July 1, 2022, following Dr. Kevin Boys, who held the position for 12 years.
Speaking from a perspective of gratitude, Roades began her remarks honoring those who made Southern State possible.
“As I reflect on the thoughts and ideas that may have been going through Dr. (Chet) Miller’s mind and those of others who were part of Southern State’s inception, all I can think of is ‘thank you,’” Roades said. “Thank you for recognizing that while the material benefits resulting from higher education are important, it’s often those other benefits, the intangible outcomes such as problem solving and dealing with adversity which equip us to defy the odds, that add the greatest value.”
Looking forward, Roades added, “In a few short years we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. Undoubtedly, our journey toward this milestone will be peppered with challenges… Considering all of these challenges, I suggest that enhancing our relevancy through evidence supported, value-added outcomes is our best path to a 50th anniversary and beyond. We must make it obvious that our region is better because we are in it.”
The tradition of an investiture officially marks the beginning of a new leader’s administration. Sometimes referred to as an inauguration, the investiture is an academic ceremony held to confer the official power of the office upon a new college president. An investiture reflects academic traditions, celebrates institutional history, and symbolizes the new era in the life of the institution.
Dr. Erika Goodwin, vice president of academic affairs, opened the ceremony with congratulatory remarks.
“This new academic year is particularly significant as we welcome a new president to the post. I have always admired Dr. Roades’ leadership, passion and work ethic. I know she cares deeply for Southern State, the people it serves and those that work here… This community has been her lifelong home and I can see that her roots run deep here in Appalachia. I am reminded daily of the dignity and grace she brings to the presidency… I am honored to serve at the pleasure of the president and look forward to working with Dr. Roades for many years,” Goodwin said.
Remarks were also provided by SSCC Professor Annie Rankin. SSCC Board of Trustees Chair Kyle Rudduck presented the president’s medallion, which is crafted of bronze and bears the college’s seal, to Roades. The medallion is reserved for formal occasions, such as investiture/inauguration ceremonies and commencement.
Since its founding in 1975 to today as Southern State Community College, the college has been guided by six presidents, each leaving an indelible mark on the history of the college and the communities it serves.
Submitted by Elizabeth Burkard, director of marketing, Southern State Community College.