Coastal Carolina University recognized 492 candidates for
graduation, the largest graduating class in the university's history,
during commencement exercises Saturday, May 6. Spring and summer 2000
candidates for graduation were recognized.
Sigmund Abeles, a world-renowned artist recognized for his
drawings, paintings and prints, delivered the commencement address and
received the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.
John Hope, Tropical Weather Expert for The Weather Channel,
received the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y, Abeles grew up in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Interested in art from an early age, he frequently visited Brookgreen
Gardens throughout his youth and spent many hours making drawings of
the sculptures there. Abeles' works have been displayed in solo
exhibits throughout the United States and are part of the permanent
collections of more than 50 museums including the Metropolitan Museum
of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston,
the Philadelphia Museum of Arts, and the British Museum in London.
In his address to the graduates, Abeles spoke on how art can be
instrumental in shaping and defining lives. "Each one of you is unique
with your own voice to find and follow," said Abeles. "The question is
how can the arts enrich your lives as you wrestle with the day-to-day
trials of coping with your futures, finding and keeping love, forming
partnerships and creating families, earning a living and at the same
time, being responsible for our, at best, delicately balanced society
and environment. I assure you, as well as offering enjoyment, art is
nourishment for the psyche and soul. Be open to it. All of you
graduates, go out and have marvelous, rewarding lives that in their own
way are a work of art."
During his 50-year career in weather forecasting, Hope, a native
of Stowell, Pa., has earned international recognition for his
achievements. His distinguished career in meteorology began in 1941
when he became a weather observer and forecaster in the U.S. Army Air
Corps. After 37 years in the National Weather Service, Hope joined The
Weather Channel in 1982 as the tropical coordinator and on-camera
meteorologist. Although officially retired, Hope continues to provide
around-the-clock coverage, as needed, during the annual hurricane
season. In January 2000, The Weather Channel established the John R.
Hope Scholarship in Atmospheric Sciences.
Robert Clinger, III, a senior finance major of Conway, S.C.,
received the President's Award for Academic Achievement. Clinger
graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.
More than 120 people viewed the ceremony live on Coastal's Web
site on the Internet. Relatives and friends of graduates from as far
away as Australia, Germany and Finland viewed the ceremony on the Web.