Winter Commencement Honors Sullivan, Webb, 76 Graduates

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, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Jan. 3, 2012 – During the 2011 Winter Commencement ceremony in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center, Coker College conferred baccalaureate degrees on 76 new graduates.

Charles L. Sullivan Jr., retired executive vice president of Sonoco Products, presented the commencement address and was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters.

“Charles Sullivan’s extraordinary career and his personal commitment to our region’s young people should inspire and challenge us all,” Wyatt said.

Sullivan compared the graduates' experiences at Coker with those of the institution’s original founder, Major James Lide Coker, and encouraged each new alumnus to continue on his or her chosen paths with vision, passion, integrity and tenacity.

Before he retired from Sonoco in 2010, Sullivan had global operating responsibility for the Company's businesses serving consumer markets, including Sonoco’s rigid paper and plastic containers, flexible packaging, closures, pack centers, point-of-purchase and fulfillment, graphics management and laser-engraved printing cylinders. He also served as a member of the Company's executive committee.

Since joining the Coker College Board of Trustees in 2002, Sullivan served as Vice Chair from 2002 to 2006 and as Chair from 2006-2010. He also served on the steering committee of the Gateway to the New Century Campaign, the College’s recent record-breaking capital campaign, which raised $24 million.  The fundraising effort enabled the college to make significant investments in the campus community, including the construction of the 40,000-square foot, $6.5 million Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library-Information Technology Center.

Sullivan is married to Betty Young Sullivan, Coker College Class of ’71, who received Coker’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2009.  They have two children, Rosemary and Duncan, and four grandchildren.

Shawnka Myers presented the Distinguished Adjunct Professor of the Year award to Benny Webb, an adjunct professor in the criminology program at Coker since 2004.

Webb earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in social studies from Morris College and a master's degree in public administration and a concentration in public personnel management from Troy University.  In addition, Webb has earned an executive certificate in negotiations from Notre Dame University and is a graduate of the FBI Command School and South Carolina Law Enforcement Leadership School.

Webb is married to Abigail Busby-Webb.  They have three daughters, Shaylah, Beneshia and Xaviera.



PHOTO: Coker College President Robert L. Wyatt presiding over Winter Commencement 2011.


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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