Approximately 536 students are eligible to participate in Coastal Carolina University's fall commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 in the HTC Center on campus. December candidates for graduation will be recognized at the ceremony, the first to be held in the new student recreation and convocation center that opened in August.
A real-time webcast of the commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at www.coastal.edu/commencement.
Commencement speaker Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot, will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters. South Carolina legislator W. Bryan White will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Public Service.
Known around the world simply as "FlyGirl," Vernice Armour served two tours of duty in Iraq flying attack helicopters in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 1993, while a student at Middle Tennessee State University, Armour enlisted in the Army Reserves and later the Army ROTC. After graduating in 1997, she became the first African-American female to serve as a police officer in Tempe, Ariz., before joining the U.S. Marines in October 1998.
Earning her wings in July 2001, she graduated number one in her class and became the Marine Corps' first African-American female pilot. In March 2003, she flew with HMLA-169 during the invasion of Iraq as America's first African-American female combat pilot. Leaving the Marine Corps in June 2007 after completing two tours of duty in Iraq, Armour launched her company, VAI Consulting and Training LLC.
Armour has appeared on Oprah Winfrey, CNN, NPR and other news outlets. She is the author of the book, "Zero to Breakthrough: The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter."
In 2001, Brian White began his service for District 6-Anderson County in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Born in Anderson County, White grew up working in the family business, White's Aviation, a full service charter airline serving throughout Southeast. In 2003, White joined Capstone Insurance Services LLC in Greenville as a licensed insurance agent, specializing in commercial insurance.
Since joining the House of Representatives, White served in many capacities before being elected chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in 2011. In his capacity as chairman of Ways and Means, White is one of the five sitting members on the State Budget and Control Board.
The ceremony will also recognize two retiring Coastal Carolina University faculty members: Virginia Gayle Disney, emeritus professor; and Charmaine Tomczyk, emeritus librarian.
For more details and ticket information, visit www.coastal.edu/commencement.