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Award-winning writer is Coastal Carolina University commencement speaker

April 22, 2009

Approximately 1,000 students are eligible to participate in Coastal Carolina University's spring commencement ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 9 in Brooks Stadium. May and August candidates will be recognized in the ceremony.

Edward Ball, an award-winning author, will deliver the commencement address and receive the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. Clay D. Brittain Jr., Hilda M. Carter and Arthur Herbert (Doc) Lachicotte Jr. will receive the honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service.

Ball won a National Book Award for Nonfiction for his first book, "Slaves in the Family." Born in Savannah, Ga., Ball earned a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. Ball was an art and film critic on The Village Voice and has written for many publications including The New York Times, New York magazine, Premiere, Artforum, Elle and many others. He taught in the writing program at the University of Iowa and in the film studies program at William Paterson University. "Slaves in the Family" is an investigation of 175 years of slave owning on his family's plantation near Charleston. Ball's other books include "The Sweet Hell Inside: The Rise of an Elite Black Family in the South" and "The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA."

Clay D. Brittain Jr., a pioneer in the Myrtle Beach area's tourism industry, is chairman of the board emeritus of the Myrtle Beach National Company and has been involved in many leading business enterprises in the Grand Strand area including the Sea Captain's House and the Chesterfield Inn. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., Brittain attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been active in the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. A longtime supporter of Coastal Carolina University, Brittain was named an honorary founder of the University in 1995. He has been a member of the Coastal Educational Foundation since 1976, including a term as president. Brittain was instrumental in the establishment of the University's PGA Golf Management Program. The Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism was established at Coastal Carolina University in 2001.

Carter has been involved in the civic life of the Grand Strand for more than 40 years. A native of Wilmington, N.C., she has been a newspaper columnist, a television show host, a beauty pageant organizer, and an enthusiastic promoter of the culture and lifestyle of the Myrtle Beach area. She is known statewide for her work in pageant competitions, having often served as a judge, tutor and consultant. Carter serves as vice president of the Beach Music Association International and is a longtime advocate for the recognition of beach music. She has taken an active part in many area civic organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Red Cross. She was instrumental in establishing the scholarship component of the Miss Myrtle Beach Pageant. Carter was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent, the state's highest award for volunteer and community service, by Gov. Jim Hodges.

Born in Pawleys Island, Lachicotte earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Clemson University and served in World War II. Throughout his long career in business and real estate, Lachicotte has given priority to preserving the history and beauty of the land. His business activities have included manufacturing the Original Pawleys Island Rope Hammock and the development of real estate and golf course properties. He is involved in Ponderosa Inc., owners of Pirateland Family Campground and the Caledonia and True Blue golf courses. Lachicotte's considerable community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Georgetown Marine Institute, the Georgetown County Water and Sewer District and the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Foundation. He is a trustee emeritus of Brookgreen Gardens and a former member of the Clemson University Board of Visitors. In 2007, Lachicotte was named a South Carolina Economic Development Ambassador for Georgetown County by Gov. Mark Sanford.

In case of severe weather there will be four ceremonies at Kimbel Arena located on the Coastal Carolina University campus. Tickets will be required due to space limitation. The severe weather ceremony times are as follows: 8:30 a.m. - Wall College of Business; Noon - Spadoni College of Education; 3:30 p.m. - Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies; 7 p.m. - College of Natural and Applied Sciences.

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