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Graduates honored at Erskine College and Seminary

Erskine commencement
Commencement ceremonies took place under the towers of the Erskine Building.

Erskine College and Theological Seminary celebrated the completion of the 2015-16 academic year with a joint commencement ceremony Saturday honoring college and seminary graduates.

Erskine President Dr. Paul Kooistra welcomed family members and guests gathered under the towers of the Erskine Building, and Chairman Ron Vigus brought greetings from the Erskine Board of Trustees.

Dr. Kent D. McElhattan, chairman and co-founder of Industrial Scientific, Pittsburgh, Pa., delivered the commencement address.

Clara Formby
Clara Formby

McElhattan was introduced by the college senior with the highest grade point average, summa cum laude graduate Clara Barrow Formby of North Augusta, S.C., who completed a major in chemistry with departmental honors and also minored in biology and history.

The speaker told the graduates, “You’re so lucky to have attended this openly Christian college where your faith is encouraged and nurtured,” adding, “I hope you appreciate how fortunate you are to have had a support system to grow your faith at one of the most vulnerable times in your life.”

Erskine commencement speaker
Dr. Kent McElhattan

A former chairman of the board of the National Safety Council, McElhattan emphasized simple steps graduates can take to avoid dangers to their lives and health, including putting the phone in the glove box while driving and avoiding prescription pain medications as much as possible.

He also spoke about his company, which manufactures electronic instruments that monitor concentrations of hazardous gases in order to keep workers safe, and noted that his company’s vision statement expresses its commitment to “eliminating death on the job by the end of this century.”

McElhattan said the “most cherished management principle” of his company is that “good financial performance is the result of doing the right things for our people first, customers second, and shareholders third.”

He urged graduates to “see others as friends and not opponents” and to “treat others with dignity.”

The longtime businessman said he would not try to sell the graduates on a career in business, but noted, “Whatever your major, don’t disdain business as an opportunity to serve—as an opportunity to put your faith into action.”

Several special college awards were announced during the commencement exercises, including the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Excellence in Teaching Award, given to Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Naoma Nelsen; the Younts Excellence in Teaching Award, which went to Grady Patterson Professor of Politics Dr. Ashley Woodiwiss; the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given to Andrew Joseph Cannell of Bluffton, S.C., a Bible and religion major with a minor in philosophy; the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, given to Clara Barrow Formby of North Augusta, S.C., a summa cum laude graduate with departmental honors in chemistry and minors in biology and history; and the H.M. Young Ring, the highest honor for a member of the senior class, given to Elinor Townsend Griffin of Greenville, a magna cum laude graduate in Bible and religion with a minor in history.

Seminary awards announced at commencement included the Zondervan Publishing House Award in Biblical Hebrew, given to Seth Skogen, and the Zondervan Publishing House Award in Biblical Greek, given to Taylor Dubose; the Zondervan Publishing House Award in theology, given to James A. Brown, Jr.; the Douglas Joel Culver Award in Hebrew, given to Glenn Dire; the Ray A. King Church History Award, also given to Glenn Dire; and the Bruce G. Pierce Award for Christian Leadership, given to Elijah Ray.

Serving as faculty marshals were Dr. Loyd Melton, crucifer, and Dr. Howard Thomas, mace bearer. The Rev. Paul Patrick, chaplain, offered the invocation and benediction.

Andy Byrd, president of the Alumni Association, inducted the graduates into the association.

Foster J. Krebs of Columbia, S.C., president of the Erskine College Class of 2016, thanked Byrd on behalf of the class and also announced the class gift, a bench placed near Watkins Student Center in memory of Dean Harris, brother of 2016 graduate Jason Harris.

Elijah Ray of Woodruff, S.C., senior class representative of the Erskine Seminary Class of 2016, said he and his fellow graduates were honored to become part of the Erskine Alumni Association.

The Erskine College Choraleers, directed by Dr. Keith Timms, and Erskine College Sinfonia, conducted by Prof. David Conley, provided music for the ceremony. Graduating senior Sally Caldwell of Easley, S.C., led the singing of the Alma Mater.

Dr. Toney Parks
Dr. Toney Parks

A baccalaureate service in the Due West Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church Friday evening preceded Saturday’s commencement, with the baccalaureate sermon delivered by Associate Professor of Ministry Dr. Toney Parks of Erskine Theological Seminary.






See photos on Flickr:

Commencement 2016


Watch a video of commencement:

Erskine Commencement 2016 from Carlisle Videography on Vimeo.


Erskine College graduates were:

Bachelor of Arts

Graduates, Jan. 25, 2016: Stephen Carlisle Hardy, Iva, S.C.; Andrew Lang Hemphill, Moreland, Ga.; Peter Robert Savarese, Hilton Head, S.C.; Zane Drew Shipman, Greenville, S.C.; Moise Gerard Somadjagbi, Cary, N.C.


Graduates, May 21, 2016: Sarah Rachel Baroody, Ridgeway, S.C.; Anna Marie Bell, Greenwood, S.C.; Wendy Rae Binion, Leesville, S.C.; April Marie Bussey, Spartanburg, S.C.; Sally McKinney Caldwell, Easley, S.C.; Nathan Augustine Camnitz, Orlando, Fla.; Andrew Joseph Cannell, Bluffton, S.C.; Lynn Marie Donegan, Howard Ohio; Elinor Townsend Griffin, magna cum laude, Greenville, S.C.; Miranda Kaye Guthrie, Suwanee, Ga.; Erin Richelle Pennington Harvell, Belton, S.C.; Ross Gruffydd Henderson, Lincoln, United Kingdom; Sarah Alexis Hoyt, magna cum laude, Greenville, S.C.; Margaret Rose Jameson, Ware Shoals, S.C.; Jennifer HaleLee Jennings, magna cum laude, Greenwood, S.C.; Jennifer Ashley Karel, summa cum laude, Greenwood, S.C.; Kate Helen Keukelaar, magna cum laude, Macedon, N.Y.; Jordan Mallory Kirby, magna cum laude, Timmonsville, S.C.; Kate Marie Macsay, summa cum laude, Greenville, S.C.; Alex Mason Mooneyhan, Gastonia, N.C.; Emmanuel Ogbonna, Irmo, S.C.; Jerrika Madeline Mae Ramirez, Irmo, S.C.; Ashley Nichole Ramsey, Chesnee, S.C.; Margaret Vaughan Randall, magna cum laude, Greenwood, S.C.; Hayley Gunter Rogers, Columbia, S.C.; Tiffany Shanté Samuel, Timmonsville, S.C.; John Charles Savage Jr., Hanahan, S.C.; Martha Elizabeth Shull, Newberry, S.C.; Justin Mario Thompson, Due West, S.C.; Kassidy Mae Tidd, Summerville, S.C.; Jordan Sloan Whitesides, Dallas, N.C.; Phillip Michael Wood, Belton, S.C.

Candidates, Aug. 15, 2016: Megan J. McKinley, Bluffton, S.C.; Anthony Eugene Richards, Spartanburg, S.C.


Bachelor of Science

Graduates, Jan. 15, 2016: Kevin Cornelius Adams, Columbia, S.C.; John Robert Black, Greenville, S.C.; Leandro Mateo Bolaños Melgar, Arequipa, Peru; Luke Adam Boyce, Bungay, Suffolk, U.K.; Bradley Charles Enlow, Graniteville, S.C.; Austin Lee Gambrell, Belton, S.C.; Jason Peter Harris, Benoni, South Africa; Emily Renea Kennington, Jefferson, S.C.; Christhian Andrews Linares Nomesqui, Bogota Colombia


Graduates, May 21, 2016: Jacob Taylor Alewine, Donalds, S.C.; Jordan Danielle Baker, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Rachel Maurice Barham, summa cum laude, Black Mountain, N.C.; Maria Catherine Bedenbaugh, Prosperity, S.C.; Kristin Joy Blackman, Greenville, S.C., Konstandena Ekaterini Brown, Wilmington, N.C.; Chanel Montrice Caldwell, Winnsboro, S.C.; Amelia Chassevent, Fountain Inn, S.C.; Jonathan Robert Clark, Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K.; Stormie Nicole Claxton, Mount Pleasant, S.C.; Dustin Reid Corder, Pelion, S.C.; Samuel Thomas Cothran, cum laude, Belton, S.C.; Jennifer Lee Deppen, Martinez, Ga.; Landon Chase Dickerson, Williamston, S.C.; Jennifer Marie Ficklin, Greenwood, S.C.; Clara Barrow Formby, summa cum laude, North Augusta, S.C.; Darby Kathryn Gentry, summa cum laude, Braselton, Ga.; Connor Colle Gibson, magna cum laude, Greer, S.C.; Olnisa Suntia Gray, Newberry, S.C.; Matthew Dylan Gunter, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; James Austin Hodges, Ware Shoals, S.C.; Christina Grey Holbrooks, magna cum laude, Mooresville, N.C.; Michaela Layne Jackson, Conyers, Ga.; Brittany Nicole Jakiela, Columbia, S.C.; Joseph David Johnson, Greenwood, S.C.; Casey Nicole Knight, Fernandina Feach, Fla.; Andrew Michael Kozak, Sidney, N.Y.; Foster Jensen Krebs, Columbia, S.C.; William Reece Little, New Bern, N.C.; Debbie Christine Long, Greer, S.C.; Tyler Benjamin Lucas, Rock Hill, S.C.; Megan Elizabeth Marrah, Greenville, S.C.; Sarah Frances McDonald, summa cum laude, Round O, S.C.; Omar Edgardo Melendez, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tyndell Jocelyn Mendenhall, Newberry, S.C.; Michael Andrew Michelau, Trevor, Wis.; Nathanael James Moore, magna cum laude, Sumter, S.C.; Jamie Neil Morris, Columbia, S.C.; Claire Elyse Mueller, cum laude, North Charleston, S.C.; David Kennedy Nelson, Lake Wales, Fla.; Joshua Michael Nowak, Pfafftown, N.C.; Caleb Wayne Pate, Chesterfield, S.C., Alan Markus Pearce, Greenville, S.C.; Bonnie Katelyn Reagin, Aiken, S.C.; Andrew Paul Rogers, Belton, S.C.; Casey Christina Rosborough, Spartanburg, S.C., Krysta Lauren Schaus, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada; Michael Lester Schneck, Milwaukee, Wis.; Paul Jacob Schumacher IV, Santee, S.C.; Neal Alexander Stanley, Apopka, Fla.; Alan Michael Suchy, Greer, S.C.; Tiona Monique Thompson, Chester, S.C.; Jessica McKenzie Waldrop, cum laude, Easley, S.C.; Brice McCaslin West, Belton, S.C.; Kaylin Breanna White, West Columbia, S.C.; Nichlas Joseph Larry Erik Willenborg, Stockholm, Sweden; Joseph Alan Wilson, Charleston, S.C.; Kathryn Danielle Plowden Windham, Manning, S.C.; Ronald Brant Young, summa cum laude, Honea Path, S.C.


Candidates, Aug. 15, 2016: Matthew Dylan Alderson, Columbia, S.C.; Haley Mackenzie Elliott, Simpsonville, S.C.; Cameron Aude Ford, Bridgeport, W.Va.; Dylan Nigel Goodale, Vienna, Va.; Ericka Brooke McCarson, Travelers Rest, S.C.; William Edward Schuler, Spartanburg, S.C.; Thomas Warren Spencer, Greer, S.C.; Kelly Nicole Sullivan, Wellington, Fla.; Jordan Allan Williams, West Columbia, S.C.


Erskine Theological Seminary graduates were:


Master of Arts in Theological Studies


Graduate, Jan. 1, 2016: Benjamin Nathaniel Creasman, Greenville, S.C.

Candidates, Sept. 1, 2016: Michael Francis Ingham, Augusta, Ga.; Dicran Keuroglian III, Augusta, Ga.


Master of Divinity

Graduates, Jan. 1, 2016: Shelia Dianna Jones, Columbia, S.C.; Allan Chappelle Keitt, Columbia, S.C.; Elijah Ray, Woodruff, S.C.

Graduates, May 21, 2016: Carolyn V. Brantley, Charleston, S.C.; Joseph Emmanuel Carvajal, Bartow, Fla.; Elizan W. Collins, Charleston, S.C.; Patricia Bligen Jones, Charleston, S.C.; Lee Vinnie Small, Holly Hill, S.C.

Candidates, Sept. 1, 2016: Kim L. Hancock, Augusta, Ga.; Shiril Weaver-Graves, Gresham, S.C.; Darryl L. Woodberry, Marion, S.C.


Master of Theology

Graduate, May 21, 2016: Michael Emile Garreau, Greenville, S.C.


Doctor of Ministry

Graduates, Jan. 1, 2016: Lucy M. Der-Garabedian, Beirut, Lebanon; Loren Bradley Hutsell, Roswell, N.M.

Graduates, May 21, 2016: James Lee Boggess, Villisca, Iowa; James R. Carter, Monroeville, Ala.; Glen James Clary, Pflugerville, Texas.; Chester Charles Egert, Hampton, Va.; Adam Charles Erwin, Dewy Rose, Ga.; James Leslie Harvey III, Newark, Del.; Nancy C. Johnson Sabedra, Conway, S.C.; Raja Kandanada, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India; Anthony David Kelley, Florence, Ky.; Alfred Eugene Matthews, Houston, Texas; James Eugene Miller, Marshall, Mich.; Mark Eugene Nikont, Hemingford, Neb.; Mary Ellison Baars O’Malley, Pensacola, Fla.; Andrew Chung Koo Pak, Stevenson Ranch, Calif.; Peter Michael Robinson, Grovetown, Ga.; Paul Jason Roman, Ozone Park, N.Y.; Patricia Smith Tolbert, Beaufort, S.C.

Candidates, Sept. 1, 2016: Simon Kwame Obeng-Kyeremeh, Kwasibuokrom, Ghana; James Paul Ward Jr., Greensboro, N.C.














Erskine and Due West Skyline

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Erskine College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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