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Sen. Luke Rankin to address CCU fall graduates

December 12, 2017
Sen. Luke Rankin

Sen. Luke Rankin will give the address for Coastal Carolina University’s Fall 2017 commencement exercises. Two ceremonies are scheduled on Friday, Dec. 15, at 2 and 6 p.m. at the HTC Center on campus. A total of 695 students are eligible to receive their degrees at the ceremonies.

Graduation candidates from the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration and University College will be recognized at the 2 p.m. event, and candidates from the College of Science and the Spadoni College of Education will be recognized at the 6 p.m. ceremony.

Rankin will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Public Service at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Charles G. Sasser, M.D., and Covia L. Stanley, M.D., M. Div., are both receiving honorary Doctors of Science degrees. Rankin has served Horry County in the South Carolina State Senate since 1992. He serves on the following Senate committees: banking and insurance, education, ethics, transportation, and judiciary; he is chairman of the judiciary committee. As a statesman, he has focused on obtaining funding for Horry County roads.

The Conway native earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1984 and a juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1987. As the first Senate appointee to the State Infrastructure Bank Board, he helped secure funding for construction of new roads and highways in the county, including the Conway Bypass, the Carolina Bays Parkway and Grissom Parkway, as well as the widening of S.C. 544 and S.C. 707. This year, he helped push through a roads package that resulted in the addition of $4 billion toward highway infrastructure.

  Sasser practiced general internal medicine in Conway from 1974 until his retirement in 2013, and he continues to practice hospice and palliative medicine in Horry County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine from Davidson College in 1963 and his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1967. Sasser served as a preventive medicine officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Clayton in the Panama Canal Zone and trained in internal medicine for his residency at the University of Colorado at Denver.

He served as chief of staff and chief of medicine at Conway Medical Center, where he currently serves as co-chair of the Medical Ethics Committee. His special professional interests are in hospice and palliative medicine, as well as narrative medicine (a medical approach that incorporates the individual stories of patients as part of the healing process).

He has served as medical director and president of the board of Mercy Hospice of Horry County, and president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Sasser is the recipient of the End of Life Care Leadership Award from the Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care; the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Distinguished Service Award; and the Conway High School Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Stanley has served coastal South Carolina as a physician and a minister for the past 20 years. A native of Brunswick County, N.C., he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/chemistry from N.C. Central University in Durham; a master’s degree in parasitology from North Carolina Central University; and a medical degree from the University of Buffalo. He also earned a master of divinity degree from Virginia Union University.

Stanley is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves Medical Services Corps (OB/GYN). In 1998, he was named the medical director of Region 6 (Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties) of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Since retiring from this position in 2013, he has served as staff physician for the S.C. Department of Mental Health.

Since 1999, Stanley has served as pastor of the Mt. Calvary No. 1 Missionary Baptist Church in Conway and is moderator of the Kingston Lake Missionary Baptist Association. He is the recipient of many honors, including the James A. Hayne Award, the highest honor for public health in South Carolina.

  The ceremony will also include the presentation of awards to outstanding graduates for academic achievement as well as recognition of retiring faculty members Cathy R. Jones and Roy Talbert Jr.

The ceremony will be streamed live at livestream. For guests who do not have tickets, a live feed of the ceremony will be presented in the Coastal Theater, inside the Lib Jackson Student Union (Room A110).