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Commencement speaker advises graduates to find family-work balance

May 7, 2016
These happy graduates are from the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine ArtsSpeaker Dennis L. Wade (second from left) recieves the honorary degree from board chariman D. Wyatt Henderson, trustee Delan Stevens and President DeCenzoMore than 1,100 students were eligible to march in spring commencement ceremonies May 6 and 7.

In his remarks to Coastal Carolina University’s Class of 2016, commencement speaker Dennis L. Wade shared his insights on a successful life based on his own experience as a businessman and civic leader. Approximately 1,120 students were eligible to walk in CCU’s graduation exercises, held on campus in the HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center in four separate ceremonies May 6-7.

Wade, president and CEO of the Jackson Companies, a family-owned Myrtle Beach recreational and real estate firm, encouraged the graduates to cultivate good attitudes, to pursue their personal passions, to embrace change, to set high standards, to have empathy for others, and to maintain a healthy balance between work and family life.

“When it comes to your family, the phrase ‘I don’t have time’ is not an excuse. Make time or you’ll regret it …. The standards to which you hold yourself are your choice and your choice alone. Only you can measure your success and happiness and no one else. Don’t compare your success and happiness with others. That’s a waste of time. Focus all your efforts on reaching your own success and you will find that failure is not an option.”

Wade closed his remarks with a quote by evangelist John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Wade was presented the honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, during the ceremony. Active in the community, Wade has served on the board of visitors of CCU’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration from 2002 to 2016 and the Coastal Educational Foundation from 2004 to 2016, including two years as chairman. He chaired the board of directors of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and received the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award in 2005. He is a recipient of the Leadership Grand Strand’s Ann DeBock Leadership Award and the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.

Five students received the President’s Award for Academic Achievement, which recognizes students with the highest cumulative grade point averages. The recipients of the award all had perfect 4.0 grade point averages, graduating summa cum laude: Jada Christmas Bynum, a marketing major of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Rebecca Marie Cwalina, a communication major of Drums, Pa.; Joshua Knutson, a history major of Andrews, S.C.; Danielle Ludlam, an exercise sport science major of Conway, S.C.; and Tara Frances Porcelli, a management major of Bayport, N.Y.

Two retiring CCU faculty members were recognized for their service: Paul C. Peterson, distinguished emeritus professor of politics; and Kenneth A. Rogers, also distinguished emeritus professor of politics.

Peterson has been teaching courses in American government and political philosophy at Coastal Carolina University for 34 years. He served two terms on the South Carolina Humanities Council and three terms on the Horry County Board of Education. A specialist on the U.S. Constitution and the political thought of the American founding fathers, Peterson was named the SGA Distinguished Teacher of the Year at CCU in 2003-04 and the outstanding professor in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts in 2005. He also served as a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.

Rogers is the author of three books, and his primary research interests include the homeland security and energy security implications of highly radioactive waste. He chaired the Department of Politics and Geography at CCU for six years and was instrumental in expanding the department’s curriculum, including the establishment of the bachelor’s degree in intelligence and national security studies at the University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Russian language school at the University of Syracuse, and he served for several years as a political-military affairs analysis and as chief of an INF Treaty inspection team in the former Soviet Union.