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Coastal's fall commencement set for Dec. 9

November 29, 2006

Approximately 528 students are eligible to participate in Coastal's December commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Both fall candidates for graduation as well as August 2006 graduates will participate in the ceremony.

Terri Sinclair, assistant professor of music, will be the commencement speaker. At Coastal's Honors Convocation in April 2006, Sinclair was named the 2006 Distinguished Teacher of the Year, an annual honor presented by Coastal's Student Government Association to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching. She joined the Coastal faculty in fall 2005 and is the director of Coastal's Chamber and Concert choirs. Previous to CCU, she was on the music faculties at Clemson University and Sandhills Community College. She earned a doctorate of musical arts (DMA) degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master's degree from Florida State University and a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Honorary degrees in public service will be given to Col.William J. Baxley Jr., M. Lois Eargle, Emma Lou Johnson and H. Neyle Wilson.

Col. William J. Baxley Jr., who grew up in Dillon, graduated from West Point in 1950 and earned an MBA from the University of Alabama in 1962. During his 22-year career in the U.S. Army, he served as an infantry battalion commander in Vietnam and as a colonel in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During his tour of duty in Vietnam, Baxley was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal and other medals. He was named associate chancellor of Coastal Carolina College in 1977 and dean of the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration in 1990. In recent years, he has served as dean emeritus and executive-in-residence, as well as a member of the Coastal Educational Foundation and the Wall College Board of Visitors.

M. Lois Eargle of Conway has held the position of Horry County Auditor since 1993. Active in politics and civic affairs, Eargle served four terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives and was a member of the South Carolina Highway Commission. She is president of the South Carolina Association of Countywide Elected Executives and chairman emeritus of the Horry County Republican Party. She has served as an officer of many civic and charitable groups in the region, including the March of Dimes and the Horry County Shelter Home. She has served on the board of visitors of Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina. Eargle is a graduate of the University of South Carolina's Institute of Government.

Emma Lou Johnson has been involved in education and in nurturing the fine arts in the Conway area for many years. She is a lifetime member of the Theater of the Republic's board of directors and led the effort to establish a permanent home for the organization on Main Street. Johnson is a past president of the Fine Arts Club of Conway and she is an active charter member of Trinity United Methodist Church. She attended Columbia College and established the kindergarten at Waccamaw Academy where she taught for 15 years. Johnson has earned many honors for her volunteer work and in 2002 she received the LaVerne H. Creel Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.

H. Neyle Wilson, president of Horry-Georgetown Technical College for four years, has had a 36-year career at the college, during which he was dean of continuing education, vice president for academic affairs and served in several other roles. He was named the 2005 S.C. Technical Education Association State Award Winner as the South Carolina Technical College System Educator of the Year in the Administrator/Manager Category. Wilson is involved in numerous local civic organizations including the Grand Strand YMCA board, Grand Strand Sertoma Club and Myrtle Beach Rotary Club.

Retiring Coastal professors Linda Schwartz and Stephen West and the late William D. Davis will be recognized as emeriti faculty.

Davis joined Coastal's sociology faculty in 1975 and taught a variety of courses ranging from the sociology of religion to gerontology. Schwartz joined the Coastal English faculty in 1968 and wrote several MLA documentation textbooks. West joined the Coastal faculty in 1979 and taught mathematics and statistics courses both in the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computer Science.