With picture perfect weather this morning, what is likely the largest crowd ever assembled on the Anderson University campus observed the 101st graduation ceremony under the historic oaks on Alumni Lawn at Anderson University. Attendance was estimated at nearly 5,000 people. The growing university awarded diplomas to a record 385 students on Saturday during commencement exercises, surpassing last year’s record number of 325 graduates by 60.
Widely known as one of the most picturesque settings for graduation in the Southeast, the ceremony took place at 10am 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 the development, construction and management of commercial real estate. Many significant subdivisions and shopping centers in the Upstate 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 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.
Honorary doctoral degrees were given to Tom and Sherrill Hall, two ’66 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.