An appropriate honor

Published 10:48 pm Friday, May 23, 2014

Emanuel Chestnut never could have imagined his military career as an information systems technician would be the perfect setup for a civilian career in student services with Tidewater Community College.

But it turned out that working with the young sailors and soldiers he was responsible for while in the military gave him the perfect training and skill set for moving into the educational field. Since joining TCC, he has worked on each of the school’s campuses and now serves as the interim dean of student services on its Norfolk campus. The Suffolk resident was recently named the college’s administrative employee of the year.

Much of Chestnut’s civilian career has involved providing counseling for Tidewater Community College students, and he now thinks of many of those students on campuses all around Hampton Roads as his adopted children.

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“That is the most satisfying aspect of this job,” he said this week. “If they don’t have anybody there to guide them, it could lead to them not reaching their goals. You see them grow and gain confidence and ultimately walk across that stage to receive their degree, whether it be a certificate or a diploma.”

It might seem as if there’s a long way to go from IT support to college counselor, but Chestnut has made the transition feel seamless. Indeed, he almost makes the one seem like just the way to prepare for the other, but that likely has as much to do with the personality and personal skills he brought to both careers.

Tidewater Community College is fortunate to have such a man working with its students. It was good for the college to honor him for that work.