ANDERSON --- Dr. Valerie Ramsey, a 1988 Tri-County Technical College graduate who went on to become the first alumna to serve on her alma mater's governing board, will deliver the College's summer commencement address.

She will talk about how Tri-County helped her to overcome barriers and ultimately rise above her circumstances at the commencement set for Wednesday, July 29, at 6 p.m. at the Anderson Civic Center.  Approximately 377 students will receive degrees, diplomas and/or certificates.  In addition to families and guests of the graduates, alumni and other friends of the College are invited to attend the ceremony.

Dr. Ramsey, of Easley, retired in 2009 as the chief business officer for the College of Health, Education and Human Development at Clemson University.  Since 2011 she has been an adjunct professor at Southern Wesleyan University, teaching adult and graduate studies courses in the school of business and the school of education. 

She was appointed to Tri-County Technical College's Commission, the nine-member governing board of the College, in April 2014 by Governor Nikki R. Haley.  She previously served on the Commission from 2005 - 2009.  She is the first Tri-County Commissioner to serve on a national committee with the Association of Community College Trustees. 

A graduate of Tri-County's Arts and Sciences Division, she says her passion for her alma mater remains strong over the years.  "I believe in the College and what it is doing. I always have and I always will.  I am a strong advocate for the students.  I can personally identify with the average, non-traditional Tri-County student.  I believe in Tri-County and I believe it is an awesome vehicle to transform lives.  I'm a living example that anything can happen." 

Back in 1975, a 21-year-old Ramsey entered Tri-County's secretarial classes through the federally-funded Comprehensive Manpower Program.  She was a single parent who was looking for a chance at a better life that would one day enable her to support herself and her then-five-year-old daughter.

"Today I can still recall that same feeling I had when I rode up Highway 76 on my way to my first college classes.  Every time I visit the campus it takes me back to that day when my life turned around," said Dr. Ramsey, who credits the College as the vehicle that propelled her to rise above her circumstances.  "Tri-County is more than an institution of higher learning," she said.

"It's not always how you start out, but how you finish.  Tri-County is the foundation for all my educational experiences and where my life was changed," said Dr. Ramsey, who received Tri-County's 2006 Distinguished Alumni award highlighting her dedication to her alma mater. 
Since Dr. Ramsey's retirement, she chaired the Board of Directors of the Pickens County United Way from 2011 - 13.  Previous appointments include Audit and Finance Committee for the Association of Community College Trustees (2010- 11); Tri-County's representative on the SC Association of Community College Trustees; and a member of the Board of Regents for Leadership Pickens County (2008 - 11). She also was dean of Oolenoy River Baptist Education and Missionary Association of Christian Education from 2011 - 13.  In 2006 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Tri-County and in 2004 was named Clemson University's recipient of the Board of Trustees Award for Staff Excellence.

Dr. Ramsey holds bachelor's degree in human resource management from Southern Wesleyan University, as well as a master's in human resource development from Clemson University.  She earned a doctorate in educational leadership in higher education from Clemson in 2003.  Dr. Ramsey earned a master of ministry degree at SWU in 2008.