Graduating student Erika Cashwell and Leah Bolling Ross, a 1974 graduate who now serves as executive director of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, will serve as guest speakers for the 2013 Commencement Ceremony at Virginia Highlands Community College on Friday, May 10.
About 200 students will receive certificates, diplomas and degrees during the 6:30 p.m. ceremony at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center on the VHCC campus.
Erika is earning an Associate of Arts & Sciences Degree in Business Administration and a Certificate in General Education. She plans to continue her education at the University of Virginia-Wise at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. While enrolled, Erika has been the historian for ENACTUS, a student entrepreneurship club, and has served as a Peer Ambassador. She also has a job at Wolf Grounds Coffee Shop, the student-operated business venture on campus.
Erika is the daughter of Dewey and Sandy Cashwell of Bristol, Virginia.
Ross earned an Associate of Arts & Sciences Degree in Accounting from VHCC before beginning a lifetime of work that has allowed her to share her leadership skills and enthusiasm with businesses and community agencies throughout the Tri-Cities region. Following her graduation from VHCC, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Tusculum College.
During her career, she has led recycling efforts for Waste Management of the Tri-Cities, served as Property Manager for Bristol Regional Medical Center, and has been an events coordinator for King College. She was hired in 2005 to lead Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, which is now one of the country’s largest and most successful outdoor music festivals. With the recent merger of Bristol Rhythm & Roots and The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, she is now strategically positioned to help Bristol realize its long-time dream of building a country music museum downtown.
Despite her busy work schedule, Leah has earned a long list of community awards for her volunteer service including the Junior Achievement 10 Year Service Award, Keep Bristol Beautiful Volunteer of the Year, Bristol Motor Speedway Extra Mile Award, and the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award.
Leah and her husband, John, live in Blountville, TN, and have two children.
Other highlights of the evening will include the presentation of the VHCC Distinguished Service Award, the highest non-academic award presented by the college, and the 2013 VHCC Alumni Awards.
For additional information, please contact the VHCC Public Relations Office at (276) 739-2456.