At Rappahannock Community College’s forty-second Commencement, the featured speaker will be Lance Barton, the founder and CEO of the Northern Neck Food Bank. The honor of bearing the college mace in the procession has been awarded to Robert Griffin, academic dean of RCC’s Glenns Campus.
Lance Barton’s Northern Neck Food Bank is the first rural food bank in the state of Virginia, and one which is considered a model organization. He is often called upon for advisory assistance to similar organizations across the United States.
Barton came to the Northern Neck from Kansas City, Missouri, in 2002. His original intention was to stay only a few weeks. “I have lived in many places, but this is the first area that I have called home,” he says. As chair of Compassionate Ministries at the White Stone Church of the Nazarene (Lancaster County), he oversaw the church’s food and clothing pantries for six years. In 2010 he started the Northern Neck Food Bank, using a pickup truck to assist area food pantry leaders in transporting food from the Central Virginia Food Bank in Richmond. Partnerships with local farmers have made it possible for NNFB to provide fresh produce not only to the immediate area, but to food banks across eastern Virginia. Barton lives with his wife and daughter in Wicomico Church (Northumberland County).
By bearing the college mace at Commencement 2014, Dean Robert Griffin joins a distinguished group of individuals who have been singled out over RCC’s 44-year history as outstanding examples of service and leadership. Griffin has served as academic dean of the Glenns Campus since August 2011; between his 1987 arrival at RCC and that date, he has ably filled the positions of division chair, campus director, and dean of students. He plans to retire on June 30.
Dean Griffin holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education, both from East Carolina University, and a master’s degree in administration of justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition, he did post-master’s coursework in higher education at North Carolina State University and the College of William and Mary, and attended the North Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. His career includes experience as a high school social studies teacher, a probation and parole officer, a criminal justice instructor, and head of programs at two other community colleges. He has been a trainer at police academies, as well as providing training at local, state, federal, and military correctional facilities.
At RCC, Griffin has taught administration of justice courses, and many sections of the required “College Success Skills”; he hopes to continue teaching after his retirement as an adjunct faculty member. His up-to-the-minute teaching skills are evidenced by his recent success in completing the “Instructional Design for Online Learning” course. A native of Louisburg, North Carolina, Griffin lives with his wife in upper Gloucester County. His spare-time interests include cars, travel, “tech gadgets,” and reading autobiographies.
The public is cordially invited to attend the Commencement ceremony, which will be held on Friday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m., on the front lawn at RCC’s Warsaw Campus.