On the morning of Saturday, December 15, during its 2018 winter commencement ceremony, Coker College conferred bachelor’s degrees on 63 graduates. In a separate hooding and commencement ceremony on the evening of December 14, Coker College conferred master’s degrees on 52 graduate students.
The ceremony was held at 8:00 a.m. in the Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center. Dr. Hector E. Flores, president of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics presented the commencement address.
Flores reflected on the many gifts of education, describing it not as a transaction, but as an “intricate and wondrous web of relationships, starting with the relationship we build with and within our evolving selves, moving through the friends we make, the losses life chooses for us, the mentors we choose to embrace and follow.” He continued, “It is at our peril...that we risk forgetting what is most precious about the durable gift of education, how it enables us to affirm our common humanity and to engage in lifelong transformation and reinvention.”
Dr. Flores is the president of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM). He joined GSSM on April 15, 2016, after a career of over thirty years in higher education, as faculty, researcher, and academic administrator.
Before moving to Hartsville, Flores was dean of graduate studies at Rochester Institute of Technology (2011-2016). He has also served as faculty and administrator at Louisiana State University, The Pennsylvania State University, Arkansas State University, and Texas State University. He’s the author of over 100 technical manuscripts in his area of expertise, plant biology and the biochemistry of plant roots. He has also edited five books in his area of expertise, and secured about $10 million in federal and foundation grants. In addition to his research accomplishments, Dr. Flores has served in numerous professional societies and as a science consultant to the U.S. State Department. He also served as program director for the National Science Foundation.
Angelique Desiree’ McDonald (‘21) presented the 2018 Distinguished Adjunct Professor of the Year award to Shannon Flowers, adjunct professor of criminology and sociology. Daniel Burton ('18) delivered an address as a representative of the class of 2018, and said, “We have all overcome challenges to get here...they teach us who we really are.” Danielle Cottingham (‘19) performed the national anthem and the Coker College alma mater.