WILSON, N.C. — Daniel J. Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation, will be the featured speaker at the 109th annual commencement exercises of Barton College scheduled for Sunday, May 22, on center campus at 1:30 p.m. Wilson Gymnasium is the rain site. Dr. Norval C. Kneten will preside over his eighth commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Terrence L. Grimes, vice president for academic affairs, will present the graduating class of approximately 235 seniors.

Participating in this year’s commencement ceremony will be students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2010 and May 2011, 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, will be awarded. The Coggins Cup is presented annually to the student voted best all-around by the Barton faculty and staff. The Hilley Cup is presented annually to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average. The Hemby Leadership Cup is 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.

The Jefferson-Pilot Faculty Member of the Year awards will also be presented. The awards, given annually to two faculty members, include a cash stipend for international study.

Whit Coolbaugh, class of 2002, president of the Barton College Alumni Association and its Alumni Board, will bring greetings to graduating seniors on behalf of the Alumni Association.

Barton’s Commencement Day program will begin with the baccalaureate service Sunday morning at 11 a.m. in Howard Chapel. The Reverend Hollie E. Woodruff, chaplain of the college, will officiate at the service and deliver the baccalaureate sermon.

Lunch will be served in the Hamlin Student Center Dining Hall from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at no charge for seniors and $5.00 each for family members and guests.

The Commencement festivities will include a luncheon for seniors and their parents on Saturday afternoon, May 21, at 11:30 a.m., hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Norval C. Kneten at the Barton-Graves House.

The pinning ceremony for the graduates of the School of Nursing will be held in Howard Chapel on the Barton College campus on Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m., followed by a reception in Hardy Alumni Hall for nursing graduates and their family and friends.


About the speaker - Daniel J. Gerlach serves as president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. Since 2008, he has led this foundation, which utilizes one-half of North Carolina’s share of tobacco settlement funds to assist the state’s tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and rural communities.

His tenure has been marked by major Foundation initiatives to provide middle-mile broadband access across rural North Carolina, promote capital access through loan guarantees to North Carolina small businesses, support diversity in agriculture through grants to promote local foods and agri-biotechnology, accelerate the Foundation’s Community Assistance Initiative that serves the state’s poorest counties, target short-term training and aerospace workforce development through community colleges, and reform the Foundation’s college scholarship program to include paid internships and leadership development opportunities.

Since its inception, the Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded 1,042 grants totaling more than $484 million to 501(c)(3) nonprofits and governmental entities. The Foundation has provided 49 scholarships to Barton College students since inception. After working as a budget analyst for the New York State Assembly for five years, Gerlach spent seven years as the founding director of the nonprofit North Carolina Budget and Tax Center. He then served for seven years as Senior Advisor for Fiscal Affairs to North Carolina Governor Michael Easley, helping to lead efforts on budget, tax, and economic development policy. Gerlach currently serves on North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue’s Budget Reform and Accountability Commission, and the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers’ Board of Directors. He also serves as chair of his church finance council. Gerlach holds a Master of Public Administration degree in State and Local Public Finance from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and English from the University of Notre Dame. He has served as an adjunct instructor of public administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

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