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News Releases @ TCC


Gilbert T. Bland, Cynthia Hunter selected for civic activism

Student Madlyn Baez chosen for scholarship

(Event Video)


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (Feb. 1, 2008) – Honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., Tidewater Community College has recognized three outstanding individuals who embody King’s dreams and life work.

Gilbert T. Bland of Virginia Beach and Cynthia Hunter of Portsmouth received distinguished service awards and student Madlyn Baez of Norfolk was awarded a scholarship during TCC’s ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. recognition event held Jan. 25 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center with guest speaker Rev. Todd C. Davidson, senior pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church.

TCC Martin Luther King Jr. Community Distinguished Service Award

TCC President Deborah DiCroce, left, with award-winner Gilbert Bland, Board Chair Dorcas Helfant-Browning and Student Federation Council Chair Jared Kirby

Business owner and community leader Gilbert T. Bland is chairman of Tymark Enterprises, a Burger King franchise, and Tabansi, LLC, a Pizza Hut franchise. Bland has constructed more than 65 restaurants and owns 14 establishments with 400 team members. A respected member of the franchise community, Bland was elected to serve two consecutive terms as president of the Minority Franchise Association for Burger King Corp., which represents over 10,000 people in the United States and the Caribbean. He was also a charter member of the Burger King Diversity Action Council.

Committed to educating tomorrow's leaders, Bland directed over $500,000 in donations from various Burger King committees to historically African-American colleges and universities. In 2005, Bland was one of two franchise leaders to represent Burger King Corp. in Nairobi, Kenya. The entourage traveled there to join with the Save Africa’s Children Foundation in presenting funds to build an orphanage.

Bland has received many awards for his community service including the 1995 Lester Granger Award, presented by the Urban League of Hampton Roads for philanthropic contribution. His outside board interests include serving as chairman of the NCP Federal Credit Union and a gubernatorial appointee to the State Council of Higher Education.  

TCC Martin Luther King Jr. College Distinguished Service Award

TCC President Deborah DiCroce, right, with award-winner Cynthia Hunter, Board Chair Dorcas Helfant-Browning and Student Federation Council Chair Jared Kirby

A dedicated TCC staff member, Cynthia H. Hunter serves as coordinator of     financial aid and veterans affairs at the Chesapeake Campus. She has been a financial aid professional for more than 30 years, beginning at the Chesapeake Campus in 1977. From there, she held positions at Norfolk State University, the Educational Opportunity Center and Virginia Wesleyan College. Hunter returned to TCC in 1989 and for several years held a dual role as coordinator of enrollment services and financial aid. She has been a member of the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators since 1977 and has never missed a conference.

Hunter believes in treating others as she would like to be treated. She teaches students how to access resources so that they can become self reliant. Hunter is a much sought-after speaker for community organizations and high schools.

Active in her church, Hunter is secretary of the scholarship committee and the financial and program coordinator for all church Sunday school programs.  She is also the recording secretary for the Bethany Baptist Association, church school division.

TCC Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship 

TCC President Deborah DiCroce, right, with scholarship-winner Madlyn Baez and Board Chair Dorcas Helfant-Browning

TCC student Madlyn Baez grew up as the seventh of 14 siblings. Raised in New York City housing projects, she has first-hand knowledge of poverty and human suffering. She holds a Certified Nurse Aid certificate from TCC and is pursuing an associate degree in social work. The mother of five children and active with church and community, Baez hopes to pursue advanced studies in public health, ultimately hoping to improve and strengthen services for those living in poverty.






Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - enrolls over 38,000 students annually, the second largest undergraduate student body in Virginia. The 35th largest community college in the nation, TCC is among the 20 fastest-growing large two-year institutions in the United States. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit