Clary shares message of resiliency, perseverance during Fall 2022 commencement ceremonies at CCU
Charles Clary, recipient of the University’s 2022 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award and associate professor of visual arts in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, delivered the keynote address at all three ceremonies.
Approximately 700 students were eligible to participate in the exercises. The 9 a.m. ceremony recognized graduates of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences. The 1 p.m. ceremony recognized graduates of the Conway Medical Center College of Health and Human Performance, the Gupta College of Science, and the HTC Honors College. The 5 p.m. ceremony recognized graduates of the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration.
Clary’s address centered around resilience.
“From hurricanes and a global pandemic, to all-nighters and endless zoom invites, not to mention your own personal and daily struggles, you’ve arrived,” he said. “Your resilience is already astounding and should be commended on every level.”
Clary reflected on his own story of resilience, from growing up in a tumultuous home environment to being told he’d never make it as an artist and the sudden death of both of his parents due to smoking-related cancers within two weeks of each other. Despite these struggles, Clary found success in the art world, amassing high-profile commissions and receiving numerous “best in shows” and other awards throughout his career, including a recent three-month artist residency in Lacoste, France, through the Savannah College of Art and Design.
“Resiliency is a funny thing,” said Clary. “We learn to overcome, to pick ourselves up, to push through the seemingly insurmountable, and rise above. Uncertainty, I’m sure, is at the forefront of your mind. You will rise and fall, as do all things, but you will persevere. Life will try and knock you down at every turn, but you will persevere. Your resiliency will inspire all those around you to never give up, and they will persevere. I see before me such inspiration and hope for our future.”
University President Michael T. Benson addressed the graduates and reminded them that CCU will always be part of their journey.
“I sincerely hope a bond has been formed between you and this institution,” said Benson. “Your diploma is more than just a piece of paper: it is your ticket into the world of educated persons and an invitation to join – for life – the Coastal Carolina University family. From this time forward, the name, the traditions, the influence of this University are freely yours, just as your achievements, your successes, and, indeed, the tenor of your life, will reflect forever on CCU.”
Seven students were recognized during the day’s ceremonies with the President’s Award, an honor given to students who successfully completed their collegiate work with a 4.0 grade point average to graduate summa cum laude. They are:
• Sarah Allen from Ontario, Canada, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies.
• Payton Clemons from Mullins, S.C., who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in recreation and sport management.
• Lewis Lambert from Lancaster, S.C., who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in hospitality, resort, and tourism management.
• Wayde Prince from Surfside Beach, S.C., who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in finance.
• Olivia Schreiber from Woodlyn, Pa., who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in education in elementary education.
• Samantha Senig from Myrtle Beach, S.C., who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design and a Bachelor of Arts in art studio.
• Mackenzie Volpert from Highland Park, N.J., an honors graduate who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre arts.