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February 9, 2016   
Posted: May 5, 2001

Coastal Carolina University recognized 491 candidates for graduation during commencement exercises Saturday, May 5. Spring and summer 2001 candidates for graduation were recognized.

Walter Edgar, an author and historian, delivered the commencement address and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Genevieve Chandler Peterkin, author and environmental activist, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Human Letters, and musician Bill Pinkney received an honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Edgar is the Claude Neuffer Professor of History and director for the Institute of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is the author or editor of 14 books on South Carolina and the American South, including South Carolina: A History, published in 1999. He founded and served as the first director of USC's acclaimed Public History Program. Edgar earned a master's degree in 1967 and a Ph.D. in 1969 in history from the University of South Carolina. Edgar joined the USC faculty in 1972 and was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies in 1980. He has served on the boards of the South Caroliniana Society, the Historic Columbia Foundation and the Columbia Museum of Art.

In his address, Edgar asked the graduates to consider their place in history as the first graduating class of the millennium. He described South Carolina's progress in cultural, racial and social issues during the past generation and praised his fellow honorees, Peterkin and Pinkney, for their work, "a rich legacy in story and song, words and music."

Peterkin is a longtime resident of Murrells Inlet. Her acclaimed memoir, Heaven is a Beautiful Place, written with William P. Baldwin, is a personal account of the area's rich history and culture. Peterkin earned a bachelor's degree in English from Coker College and a bachelor's degree in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She serves on the board of directors of the Coastal Conservation League and the Freewoods Foundation.

Pinkney is one of the founders of the Original Drifters, the legendary soul ensemble which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Pinkney was decorated for his service in World War II. He is the only living member of the Original Drifters, formed in 1953. The group was closely affiliated for many years with the Atlantic Record Company and produced many classic recordings for the label, including "Under the Boardwalk," "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway" and "There Goes My Baby." The music of the Drifters is closely associated with South Carolina's state dance, the Shag.

Mary Brown, a senior elementary education major of Conway, and Crystal Edge, a senior computer science major of Loris, were co- recipients of the President's Award for Academic Achievement. Brown and Edge both graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.

The ceremony was broadcast live on Coastal's Web site on the Internet. Relatives and friends of graduates from as far away as Italy viewed the ceremony on the Web.

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