CCU holds first of two in-person spring commencement ceremonies
During his remarks to the Class of 2021, President Michael T. Benson said: “I sincerely hope the events of today will remain with you forever, both as a wonderful memory of your time at Coastal but also as a constant reminder of the need to keep learning. Just because you leave the University with a diploma today does not mean your quest to acquire knowledge, better yourself, and expand your abilities has been certified and completed. On the contrary, as the name of today’s proceedings suggests – commencement – this is where the real learning begins. Now is the chance to see where that Coastal degree can take you. And, it’s a chance for you to show the world just how valuable higher education is to you and to our society.”
Caroline Hopkins, a biology major with minors in chemistry and statistics from Spartanburg, S.C., served as the Class of 2021 student speaker.
“Being a graduate of Coastal Carolina University means so much more than the diplomas we are about to receive. The situations we have faced since we stepped on campus have shaped us into the people we are leaving Coastal as today. … Today is a milestone for each of us. Later, we will toss our caps and walk off the teal turf for the last time. As we take those steps, I encourage you all to pause and let it soak in – cherish the memories we’ve shared here.”
Ten students are receiving the President’s Award for Academic Achievement, which recognizes graduates with the highest cumulative grade point averages. The award recipients all have perfect 4.0 GPAs, graduating summa cum laude: Michelle Lynne Andrus, elementary education, York, S.C.; Juan Felipe Castellanos, economics, Bogota, Colombia; Cayley Alexis Cody, communication, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Somer Rose Dalla-Bona, finance, Bokarina, Queensland; Mayleigh Jayne Flanigan, marketing, Conway, S.C.; Ryver Cauley Morrow, marketing, Hoschton, Ga.; Bailey Madison O’Brien, management, Springfield, Pa.; Gabrielle Nicole Parker, English, Murrells Inlet, S.C., Tessie Nicole Thomas, early childhood education, Green Sea, S.C., and Lucken James Wilson, philosophy, Conway, S.C.
The inaugural Provost’s Faculty Innovation and Excellence Awards recipients are being recognized the during the ceremonies.
Teaching Innovation and Excellence Award: Amber McWilliams, senior lecturer of chemistry; Logan Woodle, assistant professor of visual arts; Jennifer Schlosser, assistant professor of sociology; and Gary Moore, teaching associate in health science.
Student Success Award: Tiffany Hollis, assistant professor of foundations, curriculum, and instruction.
Inclusive Pedagogy: Carolyn Dillian, chair/professor of anthropology and geography; and Ina Seethaler, assistant professor/director of women’s and gender studies.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Rhonda Miller, assistant professor of special education.
Research Excellence: Zhixiong Shen, associate professor of marine science; and Michelle Barthet Parker, assistant professor of biology.
Public Engagement, Outreach, and Service: Carolyn Dillian, chair/professor of anthropology and geography; and Katie Clary, assistant professor of history.
Outstanding University Service: Bob Jenkot, department chair/associate professor of sociology; and Clayton Whitesides, associate professor of anthropology and geography.
Retiring CCU faculty members Amy Edmunds, David Evans, Sandra Nelson, and Sharon Thompson were also recognized. Edmunds joined the faculty in 2010, and her tenure was distinguished by service to both the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the Gupta College of Science. Evans joined the CCU faculty in 1997 and served as associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics in the Gupta College of Science. Nelson joined the CCU faulty in 1992 and was an associate professor of physical education teacher education in the Spadoni College of Education. Thompson joined the CCU faculty in 1991 and served as a professor of public health and coordinator of the Swain Scholars program in the Gupta College of Science, as well as serving as coordinator of the public health program for 14 years.