CHARLESTON, SC (courtesy charlestonsouthern.edu) — Charleston Southern University graduated its largest class in university history with more than 770 graduates May 4 at North Charleston Coliseum.
Princeton McBride, a double major in Christian studies and public health, from Sumter, and president of the Student Government Association, gave the senior class address.
McBride said, “We’re on a new voyage, a different journey.” He said many may not know what comes next, but as advice he quoted, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Communication studies graduate, Caroline Walsh, of Summerville, also addressed the graduates. Walsh said, “We have all had people walk beside us on our journey, people who believed in us. I, literally, had my Dad, who many of you know, by my side each day.”
Walsh lives with cerebral palsy. Her life began in chaos, the product of a drug-addicted mother, but was adopted very young by the Walsh family. They were told she wouldn’t make it past her toddler years, if that.
“People in my life, especially my family, taught me not to let my disability define me or let my physical challenges keep me from following my dreams,” Walsh said. “Never allow whatever struggles you face in life to stop you from pursuing your dreams; always believe in yourself. We have been given the tools and can do whatever we set our minds to. Just look at me!”
Caroline Walsh’s father, Bill, was surprised with an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree for his faithful assistance in his daughter’s education.
Guest speaker for the event was Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He serves as principal adviser on reserve matters to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff, and he has full responsibility for the supervision of all U.S. Air Force Reserve units around the world.
Scobee is the son of Dr. June Scobee Rodgers and the late Dick Scobee, an American test pilot and astronaut who perished in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. Scobee Rodgers is a 1970 CSU alumnus, and in 1987 she was the first woman and the first graduate to serve as guest speaker at commencement.
Scobee referred to his mother’s time as a student at Baptist College, now CSU. He said, “I was 3 years old when I started at CSU and 6 when I graduated.”
He said he once asked his father how he went from being a mechanic in the Air Force to being an astronaut. “Dick Scobee told me, ‘I did the best job I could do at whatever job the Air Force gave me; prepared myself for whatever was next, and got the training I needed.”
Scobee shared this advice: “Put your plan into action. Caroline Walsh did, and her father made a difference. Do a good job; enjoy the journey; put your faith into action and help your children or someone else’s children succeed.”
Scobee graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986 and earned his master of business administration from the University of South Carolina in 1997. His distinguished Air Force career includes 248 combat hours as an F-16 pilot. He and his wife, Janis, have three children.
Edward “Eddie” Driggers received the Distinguished Service Award. Driggers attended CSU and is the special assistant to the Mayor of North Charleston. Driggers is a former North Charleston Police Chief and has been a chaplain with Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and with a Federal Response Disaster Medical Assistant team. He and his wife, Lennis, have two sons and two grandchildren.
The Myrtle E. Hamrick Award
Hollie K. Roy
Music Education – Instrumental major from Conway, S.C.
The John A. Barry Scholar Award
Joshua R. Rogers
Biochemistry major, Honors student, from Ridgeville, S.C.
The Hunter Cup
Grace E. Clark
Elementary Education major, Women’s Soccer team member, from Greensboro, Ga.
Carolyn Killen Hunter Outstanding Christian Teacher Endowed Scholarship and Award
Hope K. Ivanova
Early Childhood Education major, senior, from Bulgaria
Susan Kelley Jones
Emerita Professor of Psychology
Distinguished Service Award
Ely Edward Driggers Jr.
Honorary Doctor of Leadership Degree
Richard William Scobee