Lander University conferred more than 270 degrees during its 155th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6, in Finis Horne Arena.
Representing the spring class were students from China, the United Kingdom, France, Guatemala, Venezuela, Switzerland, Croatia and the Czech Republic – and 10 U.S. states including California, New York, Maine, Illinois and Ohio.
A standing ovation was held in honor of Cheyna Eve Fore, of Hodges, who was due to receive her bachelor of science degree in sociology, but was killed in an automobile accident two days before graduation.
Kevin Marsh, chairman and chief executive officer with SCANA Corporation, delivered the commencement address. To the graduating class, Marsh emphasized the importance of living a life built upon personal leadership and remaining faithful to deeply held values, while embracing diversity.
“There is no app you can download for the answers to the problems you’ll face in life, but there’s nothing better for solving a problem than using your brain,” he said. “The only way to go through life is to live it. So live it to the best of your ability; do it with honor and respect, and you’ll be fine.”
University President Richard Cosentino recognized student veterans, five finalists for the Thayer Award – Lander’s highest academic honor and awarded to the graduate with the highest grade point average – and several awards to members of the faculty.
Finalists for the Thayer Award are Shelby Brant, of Greenwood; Miranda Cox, of Lexington; Kaeli Findley, of Edgefield; Michael Harris, of Greer; and Sarah Snowden, of Lexington. The winner will be announced once final grades are calculated.
The Young Faculty Teaching Award, given annually to a young faculty member who demonstrates the qualities associated with effective teaching, was awarded to Dr. Joshua A. Brooks, assistant professor of finance.
The Young Faculty Scholar Award, presented to a young faculty member with the best record of scholarship, was awarded to Dr. Diana Delach, assistant professor of environmental chemistry.
Dr. Elizabeth McDonald, lecturer of biology, was presented with the Moore Award for Excellence in General Education Teaching.
Gina Dunn, assistant professor of mathematics, was named the 2017 Distinguished Professor, an award given in recognition for exemplary performance as a classroom teacher and scholar, and for services to Lander and beyond.