Coker’s Celebration of Academics Renamed

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Apr. 16, 2014 – Coker’s Celebration of Academics is being renamed in memory of Jim Lemke, former professor of political science and philosophy who passed away on Jan. 26.

“During this year’s Celebration of Academics, it is fitting that, as we recognize the academic achievements of our students, we also pause to recognize Professor Jim Lemke’s role in spearheading and leading this uniquely Coker Tradition,” said Coker College President Robert Wyatt. “It is my privilege to announce that Coker’s Celebration of Academics is being renamed The Dr. James W. Lemke Celebration of Academics.”

Lemke spearheaded the annual Celebration of Academics, a campus-wide event showcasing faculty and faculty-mentored scholarship in the liberal arts and sciences. The three-day event includes student-faculty research and service-learning project presentations, the “Last Lecture” series honoring retiring professors and a Performing Arts Showcase.

“In 2011, when I was learning about Coker College, the Celebration of Academics was the lead feature on the College's homepage. I immediately saw something that distinguished the Coker approach to the life of the mind from hundreds of other independent colleges,” said Coker College provost Tracy Parkinson. “Dr. Lemke devoted immeasurable time and energy to an event—a series of events—that accentuate the features of a vibrant learning community: collaborative work between faculty and students, a priority on dialogue and engagement in the learning endeavor, and a commitment to measuring the institution's success by the success of its students.”

The Celebration of Academics was developed initially to commemorate the inauguration of Coker College president Robert Wyatt. The event was designed to cultivate and demonstrate the signature characteristics of the Coker Experience, including, in particular, the special nature of Coker’s round table learning.

“He invested so much into the event every year and managed to outdo himself each time,” said Jennifer Borgo, assistant professor of biology. “I could tell it was a labor of love. For me, the Celebration will always be tied to my memories of Jim.”

A member of the Coker College faculty from 1972-2014, Lemke earned a bachelor of science degree in political science from Southeastern Louisiana University and a doctorate in political science from Louisiana State University.

For more information, contact Kyle Saverance at 843-383-8017 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Release written by media relations coordinator Elizabeth McCarley.


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.

For more information, contact Kyle Saverance, Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  /  Office: 843-383-8017

Apply Online Now




Visit Coker College


Campus Visit

Open House


For Open House information or to visit the campus of your choice please contact Elaine Hodges (843) 857-4194 or

Request More Information



Contact Information

Office of Admissions (DAY)
Phone: 843.383.8050
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908
Fax: 843.383.8056

Office of Admissions (Adult Degree Program)
Elaine Hodges |
Phone: 843.383.8030

Admissions Staff

Office of Financial Aid
Phone: 843.383.8055
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908
Fax: 843.383.8159

Financial Aid Staff

Coker College
300 East College Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550