Coker holds last college gradation

May 12, 2019

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – More than 130 students of the Class of 2019 were the last to claim a degree from Coker College, which becomes Coker University on July 1.

The college held its commencement Saturday morning, with several hundred people attending.

“This morning we will mark an important milestone in the lives of our graduates as they become members of the 111th and final graduating class of Coker College.” Coker President Robert Wyatt said. “In the years to come when you think of this time in your life remember the different moments, the different achievements and the different people who became close to you.”

Marlene Ross was the commencement speaker, and Wyatt described her as his friend and mentor.

Ross has spent years mentoring higher education presidents and provosts from around the country after she spent 24 years with the American Council on Education (ACE).

She presented several points to the graduates:

“Give to other, continue learning, take educated risks and grow,” she said. “Be sure to give back to those who have helped you along the way including your university. Go forward and continue to make yourself, your family and your university proud of your achievements.”

She later received Coker’s highest honor – a doctor of humane letters degree.

One of Coker’s highest honors is the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which is typically bestowed upon one student and one community member who exhibit “selflessness, generosity of service, nobility of character, integrity, and depth of spirituality.”

The 2019 Algernon Sydney Sullivan student award was given to Destany Gause.

The 2019 Algernon Sydney Sullivan community member award was given to two recipients this year, Lori Huffer and Johnna Shirley.

Student Government Association President Temaris Dixon presented the 2019 Master Professor of the Year award to Dr. Shawn Lay, professor of history.

Geathel Galbreath, Elizabeth Kincaid, Gabriel Castro, and Joao Victor Santos each made brief remarks as representatives from the Class of 2019. Paigelyn McElveen performed the national anthem and the Coker College alma mater.

The Coker College Brass Ensemble performed processional and recessional music.