WILSON, N.C. — May 7, 2018 — Jane Smith Patterson, a 2017 recipient of the distinguished North Carolina Award for Public Service, will be the featured speaker at the 116th annual commencement exercises of Barton College scheduled for Saturday, May 12, on center campus at 1:30 p.m. Wilson Gymnasium is the rain site. Dr. Douglas N. Searcy will preside over his third commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Gary Daynes, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will present the 2018 Class of 253 undergraduate and graduate students.
Participating in this year’s commencement ceremony will be students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2017 and May 2018, as well as undergraduate candidates who expect to fulfill requirements over the summer. Also participating will be graduates of the Master of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership degree, Master of Science in Nursing degree, and Master of School Administration degree programs.
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 Lincoln Financial Excellence in Teaching Fund 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.
Tracy O’Shields Mitchell, class of 1998, president of the Barton College Alumni Association and its Alumni Board, will bring greetings to graduating seniors on behalf of the Alumni Association.
Commencement Day on Saturday will begin with a Hooding Ceremony for the Master of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership graduates in the School of Business at 9 a.m. in the Bridgestone Americas Atrium in the Kennedy Family Theatre on campus.
Barton’s Commencement Day activities will continue on campus with the baccalaureate service on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. in Howard Chapel. The Reverend Blythe Taylor, clergy liaison for the college, will officiate at the service.
Earlier in the week, the Hooding Ceremony for the Master of School Administration graduates in the School of Education will be held on Thursday, May 10, at 7 p.m. in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center.
A reception for graduating students will be held on Friday, May 11, from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Douglas N. Searcy at the Barton-Graves House. Reservations are required for this reception.
Also on Friday evening, the Pinning Ceremony for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates and the Hooding Ceremony for the Master of Science in Nursing graduates in the School of Nursing will be held at 7 p.m. in Howard Chapel.
About the Speaker —
Jane Smith Patterson has devoted three decades of her career to the fields of science, technology, and information infrastructure. She served as vice chair of the Clinton-Gore National Advisory Council on Information Infrastructure Applications Committee, in addition to being involved in the application of digital infrastructure as it impacts student learning at home and in the classroom. Patterson also served as the chair of the Global Spatial Data Initiative, an organization designed to normalize metadata across six continents. Currently, she serves as a partner with Broadband Catalysts.
Previously, Patterson served as a cabinet officer and a senior advisor to the Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., during his four terms as Governor of North Carolina. During Governor Hunt’s tenure, she oversaw the world’s first fiber network in a state within private sector companies (the NCIH in 1994). Patterson was a vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. And, Patterson was pivotal to the development of the Microelectronic Center of N.C., now known as the N.C. Research and Education Network, and the N.C. High School of Science and Mathematics. She also was an organizer of the N.C. Health Information and Communications Alliance and the N.C. Aquarium Society, and served as the founding chair of both of those organizations.
In the private sector, Patterson was the vice-president of ITT Telecom Network Systems Group, and a vice president of ALCATEL, NA, where she assisted in the development of plans to bring ALCATEL to the American market place from France. Working with ITT, she oversaw the deployment contract for the first digital network by the North Atlanta Treaty Organization in 1986. She developed the USA’s first statewide organization — the Rural Internet Access Authority, later called the e-NC Authority — devoted to deployment of the Internet in rural areas of North Carolina.
She has published books and articles on the applications of information infrastructure in the United States, England, Japan, and Australia. Having had oversight of the N.C. Board of Science and Technology, she has consulted with many states, countries, and corporations on the deployment of information infrastructure technology to drive innovation in science, technology, and education.
Patterson was requested by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the Council to recommend White House Fellows and by President Jimmy Carter to serve on his Inaugural Host Committee. She previously served as president of the Rural Telecommunications Congress, focused on support for deployment of the Internet in rural America. She currently serves on the DigiLEARN Board, an initiative of former Governor Beverly Perdue to transform classrooms through the use of teachers as Digital Scholars and on the National Board of Schools, Health, and Libraries. Patterson is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She has served as a trustee of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for 33 years.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Patterson also holds a master’s degree from North Carolina State University, and she completed additional post graduate studies at Harvard University, as well as service on a J.F. Kennedy School of Government early research team of networked enabled government.
A native of Columbus County, N.C., she is married to Henry N. Patterson, Jr., and they have two adult sons, Henry N. Patterson V, and Braxton Smith Patterson.