WILSON, N.C. — May 14, 2022 — Despite the threat of rain, blue sky and sunshine filtered through trees to set the stage for a beautiful morning, as graduates and their families gathered with the Barton College community on center campus for the 120th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 14.
J. Eric Boyette, Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, was the featured speaker. He reminded Barton’s graduates to accept challenge and run with it, to have fun along the way, and, while they challenge themselves, to also enjoy what they are doing. He also encouraged the graduates to never stop learning.
Two hundred and fifty-five undergraduate and graduate students participated in the annual commencement exercises held on Saturday morning. Dr. Douglas N. Searcy presided over his seventh commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Kevin N. Pennington, vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduating class. Eric Sellers, chair of the Barton College Board of Trustees, presented the Board’s Approval of the Graduating Class.
Participating in this year’s Commencement Exercises were students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2021 and May 2022, 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 degree in Criminal Justice, Master of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice Sciences, Master of Science degree in Kinesiology, 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 Austin Thomas Hicks of Zebulon, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
The Coggins Cup, presented annually to the student voted best all-around by the Barton faculty and staff, was awarded to Kelly Siobhan O’Sullivan of Elk Grove Village, Ill., who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Gerontology.
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: Jasmine Renee Keller of Clermont, Fla., who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and in Sport Management; and Leslie Rose Wellendorf of East Canton, Ohio, who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in Nursing.
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 Dr. Chelsie A. Batten, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Quantitative Literacy Center, and Dr. Tamara Avant, Dean of the School of Sciences and Professor of Psychology.
Senior class president Kelly Siobhan O’Sullivan addressed the 2022 graduating class.
Kathy Turner, class of 2012 and class of 2018, president of the Barton College Alumni Association and its Alumni Board, brought greetings to graduating seniors on behalf of the Alumni Association on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Baccalaureate Service was held on Friday evening, May 13, in Howard Chapel.
On Thursday, May 12, the Hooding Ceremony for the Master of School Administration graduates in the School of Education was held. On Friday, May 13, four ceremonies were held, including 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; the Hooding Ceremony for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice graduates and the Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice graduates in the School of Sciences; the Hooding for the Master of Science in Kinesiology graduates in the School of Allied Health and Sport Studies; and the Hooding Ceremony for the Master of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership graduates in the School of Business.