Pursue ‘the dream God has for you,’ speaker tells graduates
Members of the Erskine College Class of 2012 were recognized May 12 under the towers of the Erskine Building at the school’s 167th commencement, with proud families and friends in attendance.
Erskine President Dr. David Norman offered a welcome, and Board of Trustees Chairman Joe H. Patrick III brought greetings from the board.
“May we be mindful of God’s sovereignty in bringing us together,” Patrick told the graduates and guests.
Commencement speaker Peter Keith Greer, president and CEO of HOPE International, a global nonprofit organization focused on addressing both physical and spiritual poverty through economic development, spoke about what he has learned from a “life spent in two worlds,” one of “incredible need” and the other of “incredible privilege.”
HOPE International reaches into some of the most impoverished areas of the world with microloans to assist struggling families, while Greer’s experience in the developed world has included, for example, acquaintance with a wealthy man who spent a million dollars moving rocks around to create “the ideal fly fishing stream.”
Citing statistics that portray the United States as “in debt, overweight and medicated,” he asked, “What if the good life isn’t all that good?”
Greer is the author of The Poor Will Be Glad, a faith-based book on microfinance. He referred to Ecclesiastes 5:10—“Whoever loves money never has enough”—and observed, “We’ve swapped meaning for money.”
Happiness comes through earned success plus giving to others, he said.
Earned success consists of “productively doing what God created you to do,” and as for giving, we are “wired by our creator to give back,” Greer said.
He noted that giving produces a ‘high’ in the brain similar to that induced by cocaine. “What would you rather that your children see you doing, cocaine or giving?”
Greer concluded his advice to the graduates by urging them, “Early in your lives, be free from the American dream, because the dream God has for you is so much better.”
Interim Vice President and Dean of the College Dr. Brad Christie read each candidate’s name and Norman, Patrick and Associate Professor of Music Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall assisted with distributing diplomas and offering congratulations.
Also during the commencement ceremony, Greer was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, as was Winnie Morrison Phillips, former alumni director at Erskine. Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Bradley P. Parker read the citation for Greer and William W. Lesesne, former vice president for student affairs and athletics, read the citation for Phillips.
Amanda Reavis of Mocksville, N.C., one of three seniors who tied for the highest grade point average in the Class of 2012, introduced the speaker, taking the opportunity to pay tribute to her school.
“Because of Erskine, my life is richer intellectually, socially and spiritually,” she said. “We now have a responsibility to give back.”
Responding to the speaker were the other two seniors who achieved the highest grade point average, Anna Cason of Anderson and Vincent Chauvette of Lévis, Québec.
Cason, who majored in early childhood education, recalled her efforts to help a kindergartener understand and come to enjoy subtraction and the “earned success” that came to both teacher and student.
Chauvette said, “We all have been blessed with different gifts and abilities,” and added, “True wealth is found in the hearts of people, not in their wallets.”
Several special awards were announced during the commencement exercises, including the Younts Excellence in Teaching Award, given to Parker; the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given to Chauvette; the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, given to Reavis; and the H.M. Young Ring, the highest honor for a member of the senior class, given to Julia Price, a summa cum laude graduate from North Augusta.
Serving as faculty marshals were Professor of Sociology Dr. John Showalter, crucifer, and Kuykendall, mace bearer. The Rev. Paul Patrick, campus chaplain, offered both the invocation and benediction.
Nan Campbell, president of the Alumni Association, inducted the graduates into the association.
Senior Class President David Pendergrass of Lawrenceville, Ga., announced the class gift, a donation toward designating space for a digital information board to display updates on activities and accomplishments of students, faculty members and graduates.
The Erskine College Choraleers, directed by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Mark Nabholz, provided music for the event, accompanied by Camden Simon on the bagpipes. Erskine College Sinfonia Brass, directed by Professor Robert Glick, played the processional and recessional.
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Erskine College graduates were:
Bachelor of Arts
Graduates, Jan. 28, 2012: Macy Elizabeth Dreier, magna cum laude, Boiling Springs; Reid Preston Flinn, Rock Hill; Christian Borisov Ranguelov, Vienna, Austria; Matthew Christopher Terry, Anderson
Graduates, May 12, 2012: Catherine Anne Baldwin, Savannah, Ga.; David Nathan Bliss, Franklin, Tenn.; Justin Matthew Boazman, Greenwood; Jasmine Keshay Brown, Laurens; Robert Knox Burnett, Due West; Laura Jane Caskey, cum laude, Lancaster; Maria Nicole Cinquemani, Lexington; Matthew Brian Diaz, Greer; Aimée Michelle Dumouchel, summa cum laude, North Charleston; John Kenyon Evans, Pine Lake, Ga.; Adrianne Elise Harbin, Rock Hill; Jodie Lynn Hickman, Anderson; Shaniqua Annette Holmes, Donalds; Johnathon Michael Hornby, Grayson, Ga.; Tiffany Killy Hutchinson, Anderson; Katelin Marie Manley, summa cum laude, Hickory Tavern; Bailey Elizabeth Miller, Greenwood; Jamie Elizabeth Murray, Hermann, Mo.; Matthew Gall Nelson, Simpsonville; Alexis Breanna Nicholson, cum laude, Greenwood; Christopher Ryan Northey, cum laude, Mount Holly, N.C.; Brandon Kai Oberle, Greenville; Jonathan Mark Oliphant, summa cum laude, Taylors; David Michael Pendergrass, Lawrenceville, Ga.; Julia Faith Price, summa cum laude, North Augusta; Kendall Wade Ramsey, York; Morgan Danielle Riddle, Greenwood; Emily Blair Robinson, summa cum laude, Belmont, N.C.; Brittaney Marquia Ross, Greenville; Oliver Ben Smalls III, Charleston; Emma Elizabeth Torrence, Charlotte, N.C.; Stephanie Elease Vaughn, Ware Shoals
Candidates, Aug. 15, 2012: Elizabeth Lane Bradley, Richburg; Robert William Holecko, Clearwater, Fla.; Marion William MIddleton III, Anderson; Benjamin Kyle Waters, Greenville
Bachelor of Science
Graduates, Jan. 28, 2012: William Lawrence Brunson, Darlington; Patricia Marie Cardinale, magna cum laude, Rock Hill; Woodie Tyler Evans, magna cum laude, Manning; Michael Brady Johnson, Charleston; Lisa Marie Kmonicek, Greenville; John Matthew Wantz, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Graduates, May 12, 2012: Joseph Perrin Anderson III, magna cum laude, Belton; Janna Lynn Bontreger, summa cum laude, Greenwood; Michael Lee Branyon Jr., Due West; Brittany Erin Brown, cum laude; Rebecca Catherine Brown, cum laude, Anderson; Sarah Elizabeth Brown, Clarks Hill; Sandra Linn Campbell, Pilot Point, Texas; Anna Elizabeth Cason, summa cum laude, Anderson; Vincent Chauvette, summa cum laude, Lévis, Québec; Angelo Paolo Ciarrocchi, summa cum laude, Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Fabio Ciarrocchi, cum laude, Johannesburg, South Africa; Charles Kenneth Cultertson III, Pendleton; Luke Austin Danielwicz, Spartanburg; William Raleigh Davenport, Honea Path; Kyle Robert Evans, Charleston; Michael Chase Griffith, Due West; Brandon John Hansen, Princeton, Minn.; Michael Dean Harmon Jr., cum laude, Taylors; Rebecca Althea Harrill, Florence; Graham Andrew Howard, Lexington; Randy Allen Hudson Jr., cum laude, Lincolnton, N.C.; Ray Mitchell Hunt, cum laude, Honea Path; Alesia Diane Jerrells, summa cum laude, Blythewood; Elizabeth Gail Loftis, Rock Hill; Adrianne Dale McCarley, Anderson; Nicole Ann Miller, summa cum laude, Simpsonville; Cole Dixon Moore, Kings Mountain, N.C.; Shantavia TaPorsha Morgan, Columbus, Ga.; Kaitlyn Marie Overley, Clayton, N.C.; Jourdan Taylor Page, cum laude, Anderson; Nina Paton, Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Filip Pejovic, Prijepolje, Serbia; Amanda Jean Reavis, summa cum laude, Mocksville, N.C.; Tessa Rheault, Lévis, Québec; Blaine Taylor Richey, Honea Path; Rebekah LeeAnne Sanchez, magna cum laude, Columbia; Jessica Helen Schult, Lutherville, Md.; Charliann Megan Scott, summa cum laude, Huntersville, N.C.; Bryan Robert Seither, Simpsonville; Jerod Timothy Sellers, Rock Hill; Kate Elizabeth Setzer, Irmo; Chinaka Sherish Springer, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; Jessica Lynn Swanner, magna cum laude, York; Elizabeth Nell Tatum, Glennville, Ga.; Portia LaLiah Thomas, summa cum laude, Camden; Talisa Asha Vire, magna cum laude, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; SíAra Shalai Washington, Mount Pleasant; Cade Matthews Weatherly, Lexington; Brent O’Neal Wells, Ware Shoals; Emily Claire Wentzky, summa cum laude, Anderson; Taylor Middleton Wolfe, cum laude, Gastonia, N.C.
Candidates, Aug. 15, 2012: Thomas Gregory Baird, Boiling Springs; Samantha Erin Collier, Columbia; Robert James McCarthy, Beaufort; Zachary Michael McCarthy, Spartanburg; David Ryan Patterson, Belton; Kirby McClanahan Thompson, Charleston