PDCCC inaugurates Conco, celebrates 40 years

Published 7:09 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

Drs. Paul William and Diana Conco, in background, receive faculty and guests after the inauguration ceremony and anniversary celebration on Friday afternoon at Paul D. Camp Community College. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS


FRANKLIN—The highlight of Dr. Paul William Conco’s inauguration on Friday at Paul D. Camp Community College was the audience’s participation.

First, those present readily sang along as student Kenneth Barnes led in the seventh president’s song choice, “Keep on the Sunny Side.”

Later, on cue, many of the more than 200 attending tossed multi-colored confetti that marked the investiture and college’s 40th anniversary. Both activities were in keeping with Conco’s theme of service.

In his address, Conco referenced the quote of “seeing farther by standing on the shoulders of giants.” That is, he and the college’s faculty and staff will “build on the work of others.”

“We’re all about our students and the communities we serve,” and that by doing so, “we can keep on the sunny side,” Conco said.

He made a point of thanking his mother “whose mantra was ‘Go to college. Go to college. Go to college.’”

Conco remembered a book she had at home, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” and Norman Vincent Peale’s theme, “Believe in Yourself,” which has stuck with him.

Conco told how it took several years to earn his associate’s degree and it’s the one that gives him the most satisfaction. That in turn inspired him to pursue education to the level of a doctorate. His wife, Dr. Diana Conco, has also been dedicated to learning; she is a retired professor of nursing.

He acknowledged that many students endure hardships in seeking knowledge to better their lives. However, Conco encouraged them to “press on.”

Among the many guests was Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia Community Colleges.

DuBois commended his friend’s “selfless passion.”

“It’s all about the people we serve,” he said.

DuBois injected humor by dispelling “rumors” that Conco wanted the college named for himself, or that “Coffee” is his middle name.”

The chancellor described the president as “a force of nature, an eternal optimist and dedicated to a life of servant leadership. In short, he lives the leadership creed.”

Other features of the program included the PDCCC chorus singing the school song, reminiscences of alumni through the decades and a poem written and read for the occasion.