Class of 1969
VANCE-GRANVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Public Information Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2012
For more information, contact: Andrew Beal, PIO
Father and son graduate with honors on same day from VGCC
Among the many graduates honored at Vance-Granville Community Collegeâ€™s commencement exercises in May were a father and son celebrating the achievement of their goals at the same time. Sharing this unique experience were Ronald Moskal and his son, Nicholas Whaley, both of Louisburg. They even walked across the stage dressed in matching gold honor stoles, indicating that they graduated as members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Moskal also served as president of the collegeâ€™s PTK chapter.
Father and son reached the same finish line but had very different starting points. Moskal, who had been a store manager in the automobile business, enrolled at VGCC in order to return to the workforce in a new field, after an injury placed him on disability. â€œI looked into VGCC and found that its locations were convenient for me, but also, it has high-quality programs,â€ Moskal said. â€œI found the Bioprocess Technology program interesting because I want to work in a laboratory setting, and itâ€™s a chance to get in on the ground floor of an emerging industry.â€ Meanwhile, his son, Nick, was completing three years of military service and was unsure of where to pursue his education. â€œI have a passion for history, and I knew I wanted to go into education,â€ Whaley said. â€œI thought about going straight into a large four-year university.â€ His father encouraged him to consider VGCCâ€™s College Transfer program. â€œI decided that doing two years of College Transfer would be a great stepping-stone towards my goals, and I was correct, because I feel that the community college experience is challenging, but at the same time, less stressful in certain aspects,â€ Whaley said, noting VGCCâ€™s smaller classes and friendly, accessible instructors. â€œThis has been a great opportunity to introduce myself to the college environment and prepare to move up to the four-year level, where I can continue to pursue my education.â€ He now plans to transfer to UNC-Asheville, with the goal of teaching history at a college or university. Whaley calls his Associate in Arts degree â€œa solid foundation to stand on.â€ With his Bioprocess Technology degree in hand, Moskal is applying for jobs but is also considering continuing his education at East Carolina University. He notes that his son is not the only person he has referred to VGCC. â€œThere are adults in my neighborhood who have lost their jobs, are depressed, and donâ€™t know what to do,â€ Moskal said. â€œIâ€™ve talked a couple of them into coming back to college here. One has already graduated. I think a lot of them thought they couldnâ€™t do it at their age. But Iâ€™m 60 years old, and I want to tell people of all ages that if you want to go to college, you can do it!â€
Moskal recalled that he and his son had one Algebra class together at VGCC. â€œI think I helped him because he didnâ€™t think he was good at math,â€ the father said. â€œSince then heâ€™s taken Statistics and got an â€˜Aâ€™ in it, and Iâ€™m proud of that. I think we pushed each other.â€ He described both of them graduating on the same day as â€œphenomenal.â€ â€œVGCC has given me a chance to start another life, another career,â€ Moskal said. â€œBioprocess is not offered everywhere, and itâ€™s a challenging field. I want to go into a field that I have to keep on learning. VGCC gave me the tools and the education to pursue that for many years to come, something that will make me happy and do something with my life that I always wanted to do.â€ As Whaley emphasizes, â€œEducation never stops.â€
From left, Nick Whaley and Ron Moskal, on VGCCâ€™s Main Campus shortly after they both walked across the stage at graduation exercises on May 11, 2012. Whaley graduated with an Associate in Arts, Moskal with a degree in Bioprocess Technology. (VGCC photo)
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