Commencement Speaker, August 2017
John Hutchens Jr., a Coastal Carolina University biology professor and ecologist, was the commencement speaker for the 2017 August commencement. Earlier in 2017, Hutchens was selected as a recipient of the HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award for his research, in collaboration with James Luken since 2006, on the examining prey capture of the carnivorous plant: the Venus flytrap.
Hutchens joined the Department of Biology at Coastal Carolina University in 2002. Hutchens earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia. He conducted stream ecology research at the Natural Resources Research Institution in Duluth, Minn., and with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnat, Ohio, before coming to Coastal Carolina University.
In Hutchens’s commencement speech he asked the approximately 390 students to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in this world of highly technological advances. Hutchens also encouraged the soon to be graduates, to go outside and take notice of what they see. This was a testimony to the high speed world we live in and the opportunities, both professional and personal health related, we might miss.