Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Germanna Community College student John W. Tyler of Stafford County has been selected as one of two national 2011-2012 Terry O’Banion League for Innovation in the Community College Student Technology Champions.
“The League received a record number of nominations this year and the competition was strong, but John’s accomplishments and personal story rose to the top,” said the League’s LaRita Phillips. “The selection committee was impressed by John’s dedication and passion for the technology field. His perseverance when faced with adversity is inspirational.”
Tyler will receive an award of $1,000 and will be honored at the League’s annual Innovations Conference in Philadelphia on March 5. Germanna Associate Professor Anita L. Sutton, who nominated Tyler, will attend the conference and will also receive recognition. The other League Student Technology Champion to be honored is Justin G. Cree Carl of Sandberg College, in Gaylesburg, Ill.
Tyler has maintained a 3.85 grade point average at Germanna in spite of going through hardships that included battling cancer.
“The struggle has been monumental while going through treatments,” Tyler said. “If not for the faculty and instructors, especially Gerald Miller and Anita Sutton, my accomplishments through Germanna may never have been possible. Germanna is an institution that cares about people, and employs some of the brightest and most caring people I have ever met. There are a lot of people who deserve recognition, including the faculty. There are many people going through hardships that choose to fight every day, such as single mothers struggling to make a better life, students with disabilities, students with medical issues and depression, and other cancer patients. At Germanna, anyone is welcome and can have an opportunity to change their stars.”
The New Orleans native was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, moving here in 2005.
He began classes at GCC in 2006, but had to take some time off in 2008 because of financial and medical problems. He returned to Germanna in 2010 and changed majors from science to technology. Tyler is 35 and has a 3-year-old daughter Aydan Emily Tyler. He and his fiancée, 27-year-old Alicia LaPatra, were expecting the birth of their second child this week.
“I fought my way off the streets of New Orleans, where I spent most of my childhood, to get a GED and eventually went to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College,” he said. There he earned a trade certificate as an Electrical Lineman.
“I worked as a line-jumper and established a home for myself until Hurricane Katrina came through and I lost everything. I moved to Fredericksburg shortly after with a car and three changes of clothes and my financial life has been a nightmare ever since. I have been fighting cancer [Lymphoma] for a little over two years, and just before I received notice of this award was informed that I am in remission. I beat it!”
Tyler lives in Stafford’s England Run North subdivision.
In spite of everything he’s been through, his GPA at Germanna is 3.85.
He’s pursuing a degree in Information Systems Technology – Networking, and also a certificate in E-commerce, both of which he will be completing this semester. He’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Psi Beta, and a member of the Student Government Association.
Tyler was recognized by the League for his pursuit of excellence in technological innovation, because of his courage in the face of adversity and due to financial need.
“John’s spirit and ability to overcome adversity are best demonstrated by the difficulties he is facing in his personal life,” GCC Associate Prof. Anita Sutton said. Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on John and his young family. They survived Hurricane Katrina and moved to Fredericksburg, for a new start. Over the past year-and-a-half, John has continuously battled Lymphoma. John receives treatments several times a week, including some hospital stays. However, through all his cancer treatments, no matter how sick he feels, John remains a positive influence in the classroom; a model student. He attends class, completes required work in a timely manner, performs independent research, and maintains an outstanding GPA. His work is always completed at an outstanding level.
“He pushed himself beyond what I asked,” Sutton said.
Sutton said that even when Tyler was undergoing chemotherapy treatments, he helped and encouraged other students, particularly one who also had cancer and is now recovering.
“That showed what a caring human being he is,” Sutton said, adding that no one would have known he had Lymphoma if not for a wool cap that read “Cancer sucks.” He wore the cap because he had lost his hair due to treatments.
“John is also a husband and father. In fact, John and his wife are expecting their second child this March,” Sutton said. “ He is the main provider for the household. The cancer treatments, Hurricane Katrina, and the current economy have taken a toll... In his own words, his family is having serious financial troubles, in short a financial nightmare. John’s greatest wish is to graduate and improve his family’s financial status. Through all these difficulties, John remains a positive influence on his peers in the classroom. He embodies the spirit of a true Computer Technology Champion.”
Tyler was recognized last year for his efforts creating the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce Workforce NOW ( He recently did a non-profit website for the local Thurman Brisben Center for the homeless ( and has continued to donate work on non-profit sites.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fred Rankin to be honored as GCC Educational Foundation's Distinguished Person of the Year on Feb. 10

The Germanna Community College Educational Foundation will award its 2012 Distinguished Person of the Year award to Mr. Fred M. Rankin III, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mary Washington Healthcare, at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10 at the Fredericksburg Country Club.

"Fred Rankin is a difference-maker," GCC President David A. Sam said. "He's made a difference in our community and he and Mary Washington Healthcare have made a difference for Germanna's 15,000 students. I don't think he knows how much of a positive impact he's had on our college and our area."

In 1992, Mr. Rankin was named president of Mary Washington Hospital. In 1995, he was promoted to and continues in his current position with Mary Washington Healthcare. Under Mr. Rankin's leadership, Mary Washington Healthcare has been Germanna's biggest corporate benefactor, investing $1.4 million in the college.

"Mr Rankin and Mary Washington Healthcare have been critical partners in developing Germanna's highly-respected nursing program and helping us double the program's size," said Michael Catell, director of GCC's Educational Foundation and Alumni Relations,

The event will begin with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner and the award presentation.

Go to or call 540/834-8988 for reservations or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities.

Germanna Educational Foundation Distinguished Person Of The Year BanquetDate: Friday, Feb 10th, 2012

Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Fredericksburg Country Club

Cost: $75 Per Person

Share in a very special evening to honor this year's recipient Fred M. Rankin III. President and Chief Executive Officer, Mary Washington Healthcare.

The reception will be followed by dinner and award presentation.