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CCU to hold commencement exercises in a new format May 7-8

May 3, 2021
Caroline Hopkins will be the Class of 2021 student speaker.

Coastal Carolina University commencement exercises will have a new look this spring. On both May 7 and 8, CCU will hold a University commencement ceremony in the morning followed by college-specific ceremonies in the evening. All events will be held in-person in Brooks Stadium, and COVID-19 protocols will be followed. The events will also be livestreamed. Approximately 1,260 students are eligible to participate in the exercises.

Visit the commencement website for complete details, including a full schedule of events.

The University ceremonies will feature remarks by CCU President Michael T. Benson, board chairman William Biggs, Class of 2021 student speaker Caroline Hopkins, and a representative from the alumni association. The University ceremonies will also include academic recognitions, the conferring of degrees en masse, and the playing of the alma mater.

The college-specific ceremonies are unique in nature to reflect the personalities of each of CCU’s five academic colleges, but all will include addresses from the dean of the college, and a guest speaker; and recognition of graduates. During these ceremonies, the graduates’ names will be announced, and they will be given the opportunity to cross the stage and receive their diploma cover.

On Friday, May 7, at 8:30 a.m., the University ceremony will honor graduates of the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration and the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The college-specific ceremonies will commence at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, May 8, at 8:30 a.m., the University ceremony will recognize graduates of the Gupta College of Science, the HTC Honors College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Spadoni College of Education. The college-specific ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m.

Each evening will be highlighted by college-specific celebration receptions that will start immediately following the ceremonies. On May 7, the Chanticleer Regiment drumline will lead the graduates from Brooks Stadium to their receptions; and on May 8, the graduates will recess behind the Conway Celtic Pipers. The receptions, held at various locations on campus, will provide faculty and administration from each college an opportunity to congratulate graduates and welcome their families and guests to campus.

The Class of 2021 student speaker was chosen by the University Commencement Student Speaker Selection Committee. The opportunity to serve as student speaker was open to all graduating seniors through an application process, which included the three finalists delivering their commencement speeches in front of the committee.

A native of Spartanburg, S.C., Hopkins is a biology major with minors in chemistry and statistics.

“I am honored to be selected as Coastal Carolina University’s Spring 2021 commencement student speaker,” Hopkins said. “Speaking on behalf of the student body has always been a goal of mine. Serving as Student Government Association’s executive vice president and being a member of many other organizations on campus has allowed for me to create relationships with a plethora of students, faculty, and staff from various colleges and departments.

“I am pleased to be given the opportunity to share my experience and thoughts about how our time at CCU has shaped us into who we are today. Speaking at graduation is giving me one final leadership opportunity and enabling me to leave a lasting legacy at Coastal Carolina University that I will never forget.”

While at CCU, Hopkins has been a member of the Honors program, Chanticleer Dance team, Doctors of Coastal Premed Club, American Sign Language Club, College Academic Integrity Committee, CINO Quest, and CINO Ignite; and a Palmetto Kids Afterschool Program mentor.

Following graduation, Hopkins plans to take a gap year before attending medical school. She has secured an internship at a local plastic surgery office and will live in Myrtle Beach.