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Venus flytrap expert is CCU summer commencement speaker

July 31, 2017

Approximately 390 students are eligible to participate in Coastal Carolina University’s summer graduation ceremony on Friday, Aug. 4, at 6 p.m. at the HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center. John Hutchens, Ph.D., professor of biology at CCU and an expert on the Venus flytrap, will deliver the address.

Hutchens, the 2017 recipient of the HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award, joined CCU’s Department of Biology in 2002. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia. He conducted stream ecology research at the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth, Minn., and with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnati, Ohio, before coming to CCU.

At Coastal, Hutchens has published research about interactions between invertebrates and plants as well as ecosystem processes in local streams, wetlands and adjacent terrestrial habitats. He has guided research for 10 CCU undergraduate honors theses and served as the major adviser for eight graduates of the coastal marine and wetland studies master of science program. Since 2006, Hutchens has examined prey capture of the carnivorous plant, the Venus flytrap. Flytraps only live in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina, creating a unique opportunity for study by CCU students and faculty.

Each year, the recipient of the HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award gives the summer commencement address. The award is presented annually to a CCU faculty member who demonstrates outstanding teaching through scholarship and mentoring.

The ceremony can be viewed via a live web stream at commencement.