WILSON, N.C. – Despite a brief rain shower near the beginning of the program, the Barton College community celebrated commencement on center campus in grand fashion on Sunday, May 24.

Some 228 seniors participated in the 107th annual commencement exercises.  Dr. Norval C. Kneten presided over his sixth commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Terrence L. Grimes, vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduating class.

Barbara Lyons Goodmon of Raleigh, president and executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, delivered the commencement address.  Dr. Goodmon was presented with the Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, by Barton College during the commencement exercises.

Commencement speaker Barbara L. Goodmon and President Norval C. Kneten.

In her address to the Class of 2009, Dr. Goodmon told the graduating seniors that this was “a great time to be a young adult just beginning your journey. You have the opportunity to help determine change. In fact, opportunity is not a strong enough word – you have a responsibility to help bring about change. You have spent four or more years at Barton College developing the tools and competence to help make the world a better place. Your education has given you the skills to be flexible and creative about your future in this fast changing world. You have many challenges ahead of you, but remember sustainable change is driven by young people, not by the people who like it just the way it is.  In fact, the ranks of the satisfied folks are shrinking daily. Things will never be the same again; they will be better.”

She also encouraged them to remember the importance of taking chances along their journey in life, to live and work with passion and compassion, to be involved in their neighborhoods, churches, schools, and communities, to reach out to help others, to always vote, to commit to lifelong learning, to take care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health and to never do anything without integrity.

Barton graduate gives thumbs up.Participating in this year’s commencement ceremony were students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2008 and May 2009, as well as candidates who expect to fulfill requirements over the summer.

The three highest honors presented to Barton students: the Coggins Cup, the Hilley Cup, and the Hemby Leadership Cup, were awarded during the program. The Coggins Cup, presented annually to the student voted best all-around by the Barton faculty and staff, was awarded to Paola Marte from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management.  The Hilley Cup, presented annually to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Chelsea Katherina Hsieh of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.  The Hemby Leadership Cup, presented to the graduating senior, who in the estimation of the college community (including students, faculty and staff) has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout a career at Barton College, was awarded to Jeremy Joseph Lowe of St. Petersburg, Fla., who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.

Dr. Bettie Willingham and Dr. Alan LaneThe Jefferson-Pilot Faculty Member of the Year awards, presented annually to two faculty members, were awarded to Dr. Alan Lane, associate professor of history in the Department of History and Social Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences and the director of general education and the quality enhancement plan, and Dr. Bettie J. Willingham, associate professor of education in the School of Education.  The awards include a cash stipend for international study in conjunction with Barton’s international emphasis.

Jared Parker Morgan of Winterville, senior class president, addressed the graduating class and also offered appreciation for the support and guidance from professors, staff, families, and friends on behalf of his fellow classmates.  Phillip H. Warren of Dunn, class of 1971, president of the Barton College Alumni Association and its Alumni Board, brought greetings to graduating seniors on behalf of the Alumni Association.

The Reverend Hollie Woodruff, chaplain of the college, delivered the baccalaureate sermon earlier Sunday morning.

Other commencement festivities during the weekend included a luncheon for seniors and their parents on Saturday afternoon, hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Norval C. Kneten, at the Barton-Graves House.  The pinning ceremony for the graduates of the School of Nursing followed on Saturday evening at First United Methodist Church.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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