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Outgoing CCU president to deliver CCU's commencement address

April 30, 2007

Coastal Carolina University will recognize approximately 850 candidates for graduation during commencement exercises Saturday, May 5 at 8:30 a.m. in Brooks Stadium. May and August candidates will be recognized.

Ronald R. Ingle, who is retiring as Coastal's president on June 30 after 14 years of service, will deliver the commencement address. Ingle became president in 1993, when the institution became an independent public university. He has led the institution to unprecedented levels of growth and achievement, and today Coastal has an enrollment of more than 8,000 students from 44 states and 32 countries. Ingle has been instrumental in the development of strategic partnerships which have strengthened Coastal Carolina's long tradition of cultural diversity and university-community collaboration. He has also been an avid supporter of the university's NCAA Division I athletic program that has garnered national accolades for performances in the classroom and on the playing field.

Receiving honorary degrees are: James C. Benton Sr., Myrtle Beach businessman, Doctor of Public Service; Maj. Gen. James F. Hackler Jr., retired Air Force commander and civil leader, Doctor of Public Service; Josephine Humphreys, novelist, Doctor of Humane Letters; and Judith K. Ingle, an educator of 32 years and wife of Coastal's president, Doctor of Public Service.

Benton, a Myrtle Beach native, graduated from Myrtle Beach High School and attended Clemson University. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1955. Returning home, he began a career in the family construction business his father started in 1938, C.L. Benton & Sons Inc. The company has been instrumental in the growth of the Grand Strand, especially the rebuilding following the devastation of Hurricane Hugo. He retired from the business in 1999 but continues to be actively involved in the community.

Hackler is president and chairman of the board of Caro-Strand Corp., Possum Trot Inc., Indian Wells Golf Club and Heather Glen Inc. He earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and attended the NATO Defense College and U.S. National War College. He served as a fighter pilot in World War II and was the first Operational Group Commander of the newly formed 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in 1955. He is a pioneer of the Grand Strand's golf industry, and he has been actively involved in the community as commissioner of the Horry County Airport Commission, chair of the Jetport Terminal Building Planning Committee, a member of the Board of Visitors for Coastal's E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, and more. His military decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross.

Humphreys, a native of Charleston, is a writer known for her moving and eloquent stories about life in the American South. She is the author of four novels: "Dreams of Sleep" (1984); "Rich In Love" (1987), which was also made into a movie; "The Fireman's Fire" (1991); and "Nowhere Else on Earth" (2000). She studied creative writing with Reynolds Price at Duke University, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1967. She earned a master's degree from Yale University, and she studied at the University of Texas. Humphreys is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Judith K. Ingle has spent her 32-year career serving and advancing the public schools of South Carolina. She is curriculum director and assistant principal at Carvers Bay High School in the Georgetown County school district. She has also served as curriculum coordinator of language arts, director of the alternative high school, administrator and language arts teacher at Irmo High School. A native of Florence, Ala., she earned a bachelor's degree from Georgia State University and a master's degree from the University of South Carolina. She is a co-founder of Women in Philanthropy, a local organization that awards scholarships to deserving Coastal students. She has been an active supporter of Coastal Carolina, and a member of the Board of Visitors of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

In case of inclement weather, commencement will be split into two ceremonies, both in the Palace Theater in Myrtle Beach. The first ceremony, at 9 a.m., will be for degree candidates in the Wall College of Business. the Spadoni College of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies. The second ceremony at 1:30 p.m. will be for candidates in the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. If the rain plan is implemented, admission will be by ticket only.

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