More than 700 graduate from Charleston Southern

More than 700 graduates and undergraduates received diplomas at Charleston Southern University’s spring commencement ceremonies May 3 and 4.

Graduate degrees were conferred Friday, May 3, and undergraduate degrees were conferred Saturday, May 4, on Buccaneer Field.

President B. Keith Faulkner, CSU’s fourth president and a 1998 alumnus, was the guest speaker at both ceremonies at his first commencement as president.

Faulkner said, “We applaud your many years of hard work. This ceremony represents a defining moment. This new season of your life is filled with responsibilities and promise.

“Grit may matter as much or more than talent,” he said. “You started class in COVID. No one went untouched by COVID, but you persevered and held fast to your dreams. Today, completing it must feel amazing. You did the hard work and put in the hours.”

Faulkner said, “Yesterday, you were our students. Today, you are our peers. You’ve joined a small but influential group of people who have earned a higher education degree.”

Faulkner also announced the university is naming CSU’s newest residence hall for the late Barbara “Binky” C. Mead on what would have been Mead’s 80th birthday. He said, “Binky spent 55 years as a servant leader at this university. She blessed our students in many ways, and we are grateful for Ms. Mead’s legacy of hope.”

Abby Barnett, a 2024 political science major from Roseville, Mich., gave the senior address. Barnett served as president of the Student Government Association for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Barnett said, “Class of ’24, we finished strong; we have finished. We can become even more than we can imagine.” With a nod to May 4, she said, “May the Fourth be with you, and God bless.”

To conclude the ceremony on Saturday, Emily Thomas, associate professor of mathematics, was recognized as winner of the 2024 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Student stories of note:

  • Dane Hartley earned CSU’s first Bachelor of Technology in aeronautics-aviation maintenance management degree. Professor Lloyd Richardson, chair of the department of aeronautics, said, “In two years, Dane successfully completed a Bachelor of Technology degree in aviation maintenance management while employed as a certified aircraft maintenance technician. Following commencement, Dane will have the work experience and credentials to lead and manage in the critically understaffed aviation maintenance industry. His prior Associate of Arts degree in aircraft maintenance technology set him up for a fantastic work and study experience at Charleston Southern University.”
  • Logan Ferguson, a cybersecurity major, was Charleston Southern’s first student to win a SMART Scholarship with the Department of Defense. As part of the scholarship, Ferguson earned a guaranteed job with the Department of Defense. Sean Hayes, chair of the computer science department, said, “Logan has been an exceptional student. For his senior project, he created a password manager that generates and saves personal passwords while checking their strength and searching breach databases for any issues.” He also was a part of CSU’s cybersecurity team competing against other universities.
  • The seniors on the CSU women’s golf team — Elsie Verhoeven, a psychology major from Belgium, and Caroline Engelbredt, a human resource management major from Denmark — were leaving immediately after commencement to play in the NCAA regionals May 6-8 in North Carolina. The CSU women won the Big South Conference for the first time since 2010.