A Beautiful Commencement Day for Barton College Graduates and Their Families

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WILSON, N.C. — May 11, 2019 — Blue skies and favorable temps set the stage for a beautiful morning, as graduates and their families gathered with the Barton College community on center campus for Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 11.

Two photo albums (for pre-commencement events and commencement day) are available at the links below.



Two hundred and forty-six undergraduate and graduate students participated in the 117th annual commencement exercises. Dr. Douglas N. Searcy presided over his fourth commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Gary Daynes, provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduating class. John Lee, chair of the Barton College Board of Trustees, presented the Board’s Approval of the Graduating Class.

The Reverend Canon Nontombi Naomi Tutu, Missioner for Racial and Economic Equity at the Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, was the featured speaker. Hear the Reverend Tutu’s inspirational speech to Barton graduates in Part One of Barton’s Facebook Live Stream video.

Part One – https://www.facebook.com/bartoncollege/videos/vb.117639991642523/618627368614751/?type=3&theater

Part Two – https://www.facebook.com/bartoncollege/videos/vb.117639991642523/363162504316426/?type=3&theater

Participating in this year’s commencement ceremony were students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2018 and May 2019, as well as undergraduate candidates who expect to fulfill requirements over the summer. Also participating were graduates of the Master of Business Administration degree in Strategic Leadership, Master of Science in Nursing degree, and Master of School Administration degree programs.

The three highest honors presented to Barton students: the Hilley Cup, the Coggins Cup, and the Hemby Leadership Cup, were awarded during the program.

The Hilley Cup, presented annually to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Brandy Reneé Godwin of Zebulon, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.

The Coggins Cup, presented annually to the student voted best all-around by the Barton faculty and staff, was awarded to Stephen Ezekiel Foy of Richlands, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications.

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 this year to two students: Riley Marie Bane of Wilson, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education (K-12); and Asia Jeanie Robinson of Rocky Mount, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

In celebration of teaching excellence in the classroom and faculty commitment to student success, the Lincoln Financial Excellence in Teaching Fund Faculty Member of the Year awards were presented to Gerard Lange, professor of art in the School of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts and director of the Whitehurst Family Honors Program, and Shawn McCauley, assistant professor of English in the School of Humanities and director of general education.

Senior class president Sarah Elizabeth Humphries of Elizabeth City addressed the graduating class. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Tracy O’Shields Mitchell, class of 1998, president of the Barton College Alumni Association and its Alumni Board, brought greetings to graduating seniors on behalf of the Alumni Association.

Earlier in the week, commencement festivities began with the Hooding Ceremony for the Master of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership graduates in the School of Business, which was held on Wednesday, May 8. The Hooding Ceremony for the Master of School Administration graduates in the School of Education was held on Thursday, May 9.  The Hooding Ceremony for the Master of Science in Nursing graduates and the Pinning Ceremony for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates in the School of Nursing was held on Friday, May 10.

Barton College Chaplain David Finnegan-Hosey officiated at the baccalaureate service on Friday evening, May 10, followed by a reception for graduating students, hosted by President and Mrs. Douglas N. Searcy at the Barton-Graves House.


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