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Campus Events: Commencement

Anderson University awarded honorary degrees to two lifelong friends of the University on Saturday, May 4, the second of two Spring Commencement ceremonies to cap the 2023-2024 academic year. 

The two honorees are nationally significant wildlife artist Sandy Scott, whose sculptures are on display on the Anderson University campus; and the late Irvin Cauthen, a local businessman and philanthropist. 

“Ms. Scott and Mr. Cauthen represent the best in all of us, two people who have given their talent, treasure and time to make the world a better place,” said Anderson University President Evans P. Whitaker. “Anderson University is deeply honored to highlight their personal achievements and recognize them as cherished members of the AU family.” 

About Sandy Scott  

Surrounded by mountains, lakes and streams in her Wyoming and Canadian lake country studios, Sandy Scott is an avid outdoorswoman and licensed pilot, living the life she depicts in her work. She is the daughter of an Oklahoma rancher and was trained at the Kansas City Art Institute. Early in life, she worked as an animation background artist for the motion picture industry and as a commercial artist. She has lived in the West most of her adult life and, when not in the studio, travels the world in search of art and adventure. She can be found afield with her beloved Brittany Spaniel and her business partner and best friend, Trish Smith. 

A fellow of the National Sculpture Society and member of the National Arts Club, her work is in many important collections and museums, including the Gilcrease Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the National Cowboy Museum, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum, R.W. Norton Museum, Brookgreen Gardens and the Briscoe Museum. The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and the U.S. Military Academy West Point are among the many hosts of her public and private commissions and installations. 

The Briscoe Museum recently awarded Sandy the Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement. She also received major awards from the National Sculpture Society in recent years, including the Marilyn Newmark Memorial Award for Realistic Sculpture in the Classical Tradition and the Agop Agopoff Memorial Prize for Classical Sculpture. She is also the recipient of the Society of Animal Artists Award of Excellence. Scott was awarded the Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture at the Eiteljorg Museum’s 2019 Quest for the West Art Show. 

About Irvin Cauthen (September 23, 1933 — January 14, 2024)  

Irvin Cauthen always felt a calling to community service and outreach. Most of this stems from his upbringing in Winter Haven, Florida, where he was born and reared in his parents’ general store. The store provided the local community with needed services and products, such as groceries, gas and livestock. The doors were always open, even during the Great Depression. Mr. Cauthen learned first-hand from his parents about goodwill and kindness to others. It was not uncommon for credit to be extended, terms adjusted and debts forgiven to ensure that families could provide for themselves in times of uncertainty. 

A graduate with a double major in business and engineering from Georgia Tech, Irvin would start his career as an engineer. He was hired by NASA immediately after leaving college, and he worked in Cape Canaveral at the Space Center, dealing with rocket designs and propulsion systems. After some time, he felt a call to return to his roots and enter the convenience store business. He joined a partnership to open Quick Way Stores, which quickly spread across the southeast. 

Mr. Cauthen later moved to the Carolinas, where, in the late 1970s he started Plez U Food Stores. At one time, there were close to 20 stores across the Upstate region of South Carolina. He employed thousands of people over the years and made it a point to have a caring relationship with all his employees. Memories of “penny candy” and cherry Icees have been synonymous with the Plez U stores over the decades. 

An annual supporter of Anderson University for decades, Mr. Cauthen started a charitable fund through the Foothills Community Foundation in the early 2000s to support educational and charitable organizations, including Anderson University. In 2006, he joined the foundation’s board and served continuously until 2019, when he was unanimously elected Board member Emeritus. 

Irvin cherished spending time with his wife, Jorene, to whom he was married for 66 years, his two children, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. He was a longtime active member of the Kiwanis Club and Anderson’s First Baptist Church. 

Although Irvin passed away earlier this year, his faith, actions, and character provide a template for those who feel called to go above and beyond by serving others. He is a model American entrepreneur, churchman, family man, and community benefactor. His grandson, Mr. Brian Cauthen, received the posthumous degree on behalf of his beloved grandfather and the entire Cauthen family. 

Brian is also a member of the Anderson University Board of Regents that, along with the Board of Trust, chart the University’s future and pursue its vision of being one of the nation’s premier comprehensive Christian universities. 

Web Commencement Cauthen