Coker College Celebrates 103rd Spring Commencement

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – May 14, 2011 – In an outdoor ceremony on the lawn of Davidson Hall, Coker College President Robert Wyatt presented diplomas to 159 graduates and conferred a doctor of Humane Letters on this year’s Commencement Speaker, Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Addressing a crowd of about 2,500, Edelman applauded Coker College’s focus on service learning, global engagement and on redefining success.  She urged the Class of 2011 to face the challenges ahead with honesty, discipline, and a willingness to make change by working hard and taking risks.

“My generation had to learn to get off the dime,” Edelman said. “Your generation will have to learn to get off the paradigm.”

During the two hour ceremony, several individuals received special recognitions.

Assistant Professor of Communication Dick Puffer received the Master Professor Award.  Each year the student body nominates deserving professors for the award, and the graduating class votes on the top five nominees.  The other nominees this year were Professor of Education Joseph Rubinstein, Associate Professor of History Kevin Kenyon, Professor of Social Work Jeanne Cook and Professor of Psychology Jill Banks.

Michal Millen Baird and Sydney Greenwalt received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in recognition exemplary of character and service.

Three individuals – Roderick James Bryant, Brandi Cowick Nichols and Whitney Danielle Wallett – were recognized as first honor graduates, members of the Class of 2001 who had earned the highest academic cumulative grade point average. All three had achieved a cumulative GPA of 4.0.

The Alumni Cup was awarded to Hanna Elizabeth Beard, Roderick James Bryant, James Patrick Flynn, Brandi Cowick Nichols and Whitney Danielle Wallett. The Alumni Cup is awarded by the Coker College Alumni Association to the five members of the graduating class who have earned the highest academic averages for their junior and senior years.

In his final remarks, Wyatt offered a heartfelt observation to the students and their families.

“At the conclusion of Commencement, when the College’s history is officially updated to reflect the successes of its students, faculty and alumni, your President’s work could not be easier,” Wyatt said.

“In fact, under this amazing Carolina sun, I really wouldn’t need anything more than a piece of glass.  A little mirror held in any direction whatsoever offers clear proof to declare the bright, bright future of these students and of this institution.”

Established in 1908, Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom.

Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

 
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