TCL graduates more than 300 students

Published on May 16, 2023

Beaufort County native Rufus Pinckney honored with Presidential Medallion

The Technical College of the Lowcountry graduated 321 students at its annual commencement ceremony held Friday, May 12, at Beaufort’s Waterfront Park.

Students earned certificate, diploma and associate degrees from more than 60 programs of study including nursing, computer technology, early care and education, business administration, culinary arts and many more.

Upon graduating, students also have the distinction of becoming college alumni, TCL President Dr. Richard Gough noted. He went on to say that while many alumni further their education at four-year colleges and universities, most would remain and work in the area.

“They keep our hospitals, our construction companies, small businesses, law firms and everything in between running,” he said. “TCL alumni are the fabric of this community.”

Also graduating on Friday were dual enrollment students, or high school students enrolled at TCL and working toward a certificate, degree or diploma. Of the more than 300 TCL graduates, 43, or 13% of TCL’s class of 2023 were dual enrollment students – the largest number to date.

Tori White, TCL’s 2023 Student Speaker

Tori White, one such student, served as the commencement’s student speaker. A senior at Whale Branch Early College High School, White was chosen from a pool of candidates who applied for the honor.  

White earned an Associate Degree in Arts and an Associate Degree in Science from TCL. She also earned a Certificate in Arts/General Education and a Certificate in Arts/Liberal Arts Core – also while at TCL. She plans to attend South Carolina State University in the fall. Ultimately, she would like to go on to medical school and specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, she said.

“My career goal …is to one day be able to provide accurate information to assist women of color with their health,” she said.

Beaufort County School District Superintendent Frank Rodriguez, who served as commencement speaker for the ceremony, commended White on her career aspirations and spoke about the importance of education and what it has meant to him personally.

Dr. Frank Rodriguez, Beaufort County School District Superintendent and TCL’s 2023 Commencement Speaker

“The education that you receive here empowers you to chart your own course and make a positive impact in our community,” he said.

TCL’s Presidential Medallion was also revealed and awarded at Friday’s ceremony. Given each year, the Presidential Medallion recognizes a distinguished community leader who exhibits enthusiasm, integrity and perseverance beyond the ordinary to help build a better and stronger community.

This year’s honor went to Rufus Pinckney, President of the Mather School Coastal/Lowcountry Alumni Chapter. A Sheldon native, Pinckney also serves as Board Chairman for the Mather Interpretive Center in Beaufort, and sits on TCL’s Foundation Board of Directors.

To watch the full 2023 Commencement recorded earlier click here.


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