On the evening of December 13 in the Watson Theater of the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center, Coker University conferred master’s degrees on 49 graduates, and on the morning of December 14, in a separate commencement ceremony in the Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center, the university conferred bachelor’s degrees on 74 graduates. These graduates are the first graduating classes since Coker College changed its name to Coker University on July 1, 2019.
At the graduate hooding and commencement ceremony on the evening of December 13, the commencement address was given by two graduates from Coker University’s M.S. in Management and Leadership program, Chris Taflinger and Geoffrey Hughes. Taflinger is a Senior Category Manager at Sonoco Products Company in Hartsville. Hughes is a Human Resources Manager at Anderson Brass Company in Hartsville.
At the undergraduate commencement ceremony, the commencement address was given by Dr. Pamela Davies, President of Queens University of Charlotte from 2002 to June 2019. As the 20th president of Queens, Dr. Davies distinguished herself through her commitment to providing innovative and high-quality education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her academic discipline is in the field of strategy, with a special interest in competitive strategy and leadership; she has led the strategic planning efforts of numerous organizations over her career. Dr. Davies is very involved in community organizations locally, nationally, and globally. She was named Charlotte Woman of the Year in 2018 and has received numerous awards over the years including North Carolina’s highest honor, the Order of the Longleaf Pine.
Dr. Davies’ speech challenged graduates to “not only do well, but do good.” She shared that joy comes from serving others and encouraged Coker’s graduates to, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “be the light in the world that drives out the darkness.”
McKenzie Hite, ‘20, presented the 2019 Distinguished Adjunct Professor of the Year award to Kyria Flynn, associate lecturer of psychology. Sada Garcia, ‘19, delivered an address as a representative of the class of 2019. Garcia, an education major and an elementary school teacher recalled the moment she knew she wanted to become a teacher, “In [my fourth grade teacher] Ms. Bradley’s classroom, my differences were embraced, I knew that I was safe, loved, and cared for...It was because of her that I knew that I had to become a teacher.” Ms. Bradley was in the audience to see Garcia graduate.
Isaiah Washington, ‘21, performed the national anthem and Coker’s alma mater.
For more information about Coker University, please visit coker.edu.