Hundreds of Students Turn Their Tassels

Scott Ralls Presides Over His First Graduation as Wake Tech President

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 4, 2019) – More than 1,600 students graduated today at Wake Tech’s Spring Commencement exercises. Four ceremonies were held in the gym on college’s Southern Wake Campus. Graduates ranging in age from 17 to 72 received degrees and diplomas in an array of program areas including health sciences, business, computer technologies, and skilled trades. Others received Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees for seamless transfer to universities.

“Graduates, you and I share something in common today,” Wake Tech President Scott Ralls told the crowd. “This is our first time participating in a Wake Tech graduation.” Dr. Ralls became Wake Tech’s fourth president on April 11, replacing Dr. Stephen Scott who retired last fall.

Dr. Ralls shared advice with graduates and his early observations after meeting with members of the Wake Tech Student Government Association. “I’ve learned something that employers, our community, our region and state will also soon realize as they encounter you when you leave today – never, ever, underestimate a Wake Tech graduate!”

Among the graduates were ten students who received emergency financial assistance through Governor Cooper’s Finish Line grant program. The program, launched last summer, is designed to help community college students who face unexpected financial emergencies complete their education. “Without the funds,” said grant recipient Minnie Jones, “I would not have been able to graduate.” Jones received an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Human Services Technology.

A mother and daughter graduated on the same day. Adele Abreu received an AAS degree in Office Administration during the 11:00 a.m. ceremony, and her daughter Hannah received an AAS degree in Criminal Justice Technology during the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.  Abreu’s other daughter, Samantha, graduated in 2017 with an AAS degree in Nursing and now works at WakeMed. Adele works as an assistant to the vice president of Information Technology at Wake Tech, while her husband Gabe is a sergeant on the Wake Tech campus police force.

Seventy-two-year-old Shirley Fuller, whose tragedy made news when she lost all she had – including her college textbooks – in an apartment fire last year graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. It’s her second Wake Tech degree; she earned a degree in Business Administration two years ago.

Former Lenovo intern Shantal Grullon earned a degree in IT Storage and Virtualization. Shantal started at Wake Tech as a high school student in the Career and College Promise program. When her paid internship at Lenovo ended, she was offered a permanent position. She, like many Wake Tech students, graduates with a degree, no debt, and a full-time job.

Shanita Dildy-Goings became the 14th student in the Fostering Bright Futures program to graduate. The program provides support for students who have aged out of the foster care system because statistically, only about 3% of those students are successful in earning a college degree. Dildy-Goings plans to transfer to UNC-Wilmington.

In the evening, another 120 students participated in a fifth ceremony for High School Equivalency and Adult High School graduates. For the first time, all five ceremonies were live-streamed on To view recordings and photos of the ceremonies, visit



Wake Tech News Update logo
January 2024

Latest News from Wake Tech