By Speakin’ Out News staff; photo credits: Shelly Williams and courtesy photos
(HUNTSVILLE, AL) – – Inauguration of Dr. Patricia Gordon Sims as the Fourth President J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College and Scholarship Luncheon was held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the Von Braun Center, East Hall. The community along with local leaders, college presidents, and elected legislators were well in attendance for this special occasion.
J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, a student-centered, two-year public institution, offers flexible and affordable university-transfer and technical degrees, certificates, adult and continuing education, and customized workforce training to fulfill the diverse needs of the community. The purpose of the luncheon was to provide scholarships to well-deserved students.
Jemison High School Jazz Band, under the direction of Mr. Reginald Pearson, gave musical selections before The Mistress of Ceremonies, Mrs. Brenda M. Martin began the 11:30 a.m. program with warm greetings.
Posting of the Colors was by Jemison High School ROTC/Honor Guards, followed by the National Anthem performed by Mr. Calvin Drake. Mr. Drake also performed other song selections, “Lord, I’m Available To You” by Rev. Milton Brunson & the Thompson Community Singers and “Never Give Up” by Yolanda Adams.
Dr. Patricia Sims’ pastor, Rev. Dr. O. Wendell Davis, Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, gave Invocation, Blessing of Food, and Benediction.
Greetings were given by the following: Minority Leader, Rep. Anthony Daniels (D-53); Rep. Laura Hall (D-19); Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle; Madison County Commissioner JesHenry Malone, District 6; Ms. Crystal Brown, Board of Trustees, Alabama Community College System; and Mrs. Joyce Rentz, J. F. Drake Community & Technical College, Mathematics Instructor.
After lunch was served, the following presidents of colleges gave Dr. Sims congratulatory salutations: President, Alabama A&M University, Dr Andrew Hugine; President, Athens State University, Dr. Robert Ingle; President, Calhoun Community College, Dr. Joe Burke; President, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Dr. Robert Altenkirch; and President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Dr. Belle Wheelan.
Installing Official Judge Sybil Cleveland swore Dr. Patricia Gordon Sims as Fourth President of J. F. Drake State Community and Technical College. Presentation of Presidential Medallion and Mace, and the Presidential Charge was by Chancellor Jimmy Baker, Alabama Community College System. Mr. Baker encouraged attendees to continually support Drake, not just by words but by actions. He called on elected officials to do their part to ensure Drake State’s legacy.
Afterwards, Dr. Sims gave her inaugural address.
Premier sponsor, Mr. Frank Williams, Executive Manager & Managing Partner of Landers McLarty Dealerships, confirmed his support of Drake State by forging a partnership, that will allow students an opportunity to learn and train in the automotive field.
Final remarks were given by Mr. William Smothers, Publisher, Speakin’ Out News who served as the General Chairperson, The Inaugural Committee. “The scholarship luncheon has raised $32,000 in a short period of time for scholarships”, Mr. Smothers said. He continued, “We want Drake not to just survive; but thrive to be vibrant, vital, and strong… it’s going to take, not only the community, but the state”.