Coker College Celebrates Winter 2016 Commencement

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Hartsville, S.C. – Jan. 11, 2017 – On Saturday, December 17, 2016, Coker College conferred bachelor’s degrees on 70 graduates and master’s degrees on 19 during its 2016 Winter Commencement Ceremony.

The ceremony was held in the Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center. Mr. Walter (Walt) N. George, III, Chair of the Coker College Board of Trustees, delivered the commencement address as well as received an honorary degree, the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.  

“I would urge you to find your cause,” said George in his commencement address. “Find your passion. Find your reason to give to others and then make it an equal part of your life plan. Make it part of your day. Make it part of who you are.”

In addition to serving on Coker College’s Board of Trustees since 2010 and as its Chair since 2015, Walt George and his wife, Susan, are members of Coker College’s Lifetime Giving Society, which honors the college’s most generous donors.  One of their generous gifts resulted in the naming of the Susan K. and Walter N. George Residential Hall, the second residential facility in The Village at Byerly Place.  

George serves as President of G3 Consulting, LLC, which he founded in 2013. G3 Consulting is a specialty consultancy, serving small and medium-sized companies, enhancing value for food and consumer product companies. The firm focuses on strategies to enhance company value by maximizing profitability and identifying opportunities for expansion or acquisition. With its innovative business model and approach, G3 Consulting is able to best match proven expertise and methods to a specific client need, making the consulting partnership both highly effective and efficient.  

Before establishing G3 Consulting, George served as President of American Italian Pasta Co., the largest pasta maker in North America, from 2001-2013.  During this time, he also served as the Corporate Vice President of RalCorp Holdings Inc.  Prior to this, he held a number of senior operating positions with Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a subsidiary of Colgate Palmolive Company.

George serves on the boards of directors of Vision Bank, Freshpet, Inc., The Morris Animal Foundation and Old World Spice and Seasoning Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Drury University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Rockhurst University. George and his wife reside in Fairway, Kansas.

“Know who you are,” George emphasized in his address. “Ensure you are who you want to be and here’s why: because when you are sure you know and you declare it to be so, then no amount of high wind can blow you off course and no detour will take you in a direction you don’t want to travel.”

Brittany Anderson, a student in the Coker College Adult Degree Program, presented the Distinguished Adjunct Professor of the Year award to Timothy Boone, Associate Lecturer of Chemistry and Physical Science.  

Ashley Lane Ruff gave the commencement address to her fellow graduates. “Perhaps for some of you, this is just one leg of your academic journey,” said Ruff. “If so, don’t stop here. Take a breath, hug your family and friends, grab a quick nap if you must, and then get right back behind the wheel and continue until you reach your dream destination. For those of us who have finished our formal education, now comes the moment we have dreamed of and worked towards. Our Coker College journey may be ending, but we have arrived at a place full of opportunity. Before us are choices that didn’t exist before we obtained our degrees. There is so much we can do, and that we ought to do.”

Release written by Media Relations Coordinator Elizabeth Coxe Hubbard.



Coker College is a student-focused, private liberal arts college located in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker combines round table, discussion-based learning with hands-on experiences to encourage active participation in and out of the classroom. A supportive, close-knit community prepares Coker students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best, in college and beyond.

Founded in 1908, Coker is a bachelor’s and master’s degree-granting institution and competes in 21 NCAA Division II sports. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as one of the Southeast's "Best Bang for the Buck" colleges.