A total of 245 students participated in Coastal Carolina University's fall commencement ceremony today at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Commencement speaker Debbie Stanley, an instructor of education at Coastal, urged graduates to consider college not a preparation for a specific job, "but rather, a preparation for life.
I hope you take lifelong friends, countless memories, and priceless experiences which have taught you to live, love, learn and laugh," she said.
Four students received the President's Award for Academic Achievement, which recognizes students with the highest cumulative grade point average. The recipients of the award were Jessica Keffer, a marine science and biology major of Greensburg, Penn.; Michelle Petty, an elementary education major of Hartsville; Brendan Pinter, a political science and Spanish major of Myrtle Beach; and Duane Lyon, a psychology major of Myrtle Beach. All four students earned 4.0 grade point averages.
Retiring education professor Sally Hare was named Distinguished Professor Emerita. Hare was the Grant and Elizabeth Singleton Distinguished Professor and director of Coastal's Center for Education and Community. She earned three degrees at the University of South Carolina, including a Ph.D. in education.
Louis Gilles, retired professor of business administration, was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Gilles joined Coastal in 1974, serving nearly 20 years as an accounting professor in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration. He earned a bachelor's degree from Baker University, a master's degree from Columbia University, an MBA from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.
Commencement speaker Stanley was named the 2005 Distinguished Teacher of the Year, an annual honor presented by Coastal's Student Government Association to faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching. She joined the Spadoni College of Education in 1992 after teaching in public schools. Stanley earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in reading, both from the University of South Carolina.