The rapidly growing Anderson University awarded diplomas to a record 385 students on May 3 during spring 2014 commencement exercises, surpassing last year's record of 325 graduates by 60.
About 5,000 family and friends of the graduates attended this 101st graduation on Alumni Lawn.
Widely known as one of the most picturesque settings for graduation in the Southeast, the ceremony took place at 10 a.m. on the front lawn of campus under the canopy of giant oak trees, surrounded by the bursting color of azaleas and other spring blooms.
The commencement address was given by Jack Shaw of Greenville, who is well known as the founder, chairman and CEO of Shaw Enterprises, a privately held company employed in the development, construction and management of commercial real estate. Many subdivisions and shopping centers in upstate South Carolina were the result of his entrepreneurial vision. He has also been an important leader in the banking industry and is an emeritus corporate director of BB&T along with having significant roles in United Carolina Bancshares and the Bank of Greer.
Shaw and his wife are active members of Taylors First Baptist Church, and he serves on the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Shaw encouraged the graduates to dream big but realize that nothing will be given to them without their hard work. "Success in life is a process, not an endowment," he added. He also urged the graduating class to seek lives of significance and service to others, following the example of Christ. "There will be another commencement one day," Shaw reminded the students. "At that commencement, my prayer is that you will receive your 'WD' degree – to hear 'Well Done, good and faithful servant' from the Master."
Honorary doctoral degrees were given to Tom and Sherrill Hall, two 1966 graduates who have worked tirelessly on behalf of Anderson University, as well as Kelly O'Quinn, who has been a generous benefactor of AU for the past 30 years.
The Michael Boles Excellence in Teaching Award, the annual recognition given to the most outstanding faculty member at AU, was awarded to Dr. Ryan Neal, of Anderson's College of Christian Studies. Graduating senior Jennifer Price of North Augusta, South Carolina, was given the President's Award, the top recognition for an AU senior.