The Sun Shone Brightly on Barton College Graduates at 113th Commencement Exercises

WILSON, N.C. — May 17, 2015 — The sun shone brightly on graduates and their families as they gathered with the Barton College community on center campus for Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 17.

Two hundred and fifty-seven seniors participated in the 113th annual commencement exercises. Dr. Norval C. Kneten presided over his twelfth commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Gary Daynes, provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduating class. Mr. Gregg A. DeMar, chair of the Barton College Board of Trustees, presented the Board’s Approval of the Graduating Class.

The Honorable Sidney S. Eagles, Jr., of Raleigh, delivered the commencement address. Now retired as Chief Judge for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Judge Eagles has served as a judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals for over 20 years. He currently practices law in the Raleigh office of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP. A past chair and vice chair of the Barton College Board of Trustees, he served on the College’s Board of Trustees for 24 years, retiring in fall 2014.

Judge Eagles received the Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, from Barton College during the commencement ceremonies.

Participating in this year’s commencement ceremony were students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2014 and May 2015, as well as candidates who expect to fulfill requirements over the summer.

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 Cassandra Lee Gaston of Nashville, N.C., who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Management. The Coggins Cup, presented annually to the student voted best all-around by the Barton faculty and staff, was awarded to Kasey Lynn Byzewski of Virginia Beach, Va., who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training. 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 Tiere Jerome Lindsey of New Bern, N.C., who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

In celebration of teaching excellence in the classroom and faculty commitment to student success, the Lincoln Financial Faculty Member of the Year awards were presented to Dr. Elizabeth P. Dennis, associate professor of English, and Dr. Murali K. Ranganathan, professor of mathematics.

Leah Christian Farmer, senior class president, addressed the graduating class. Brenda Hobbs Whaley, 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.

The Reverend Jamie C. Eubanks, chaplain of the college, officiated at the baccalaureate service, and the Reverend Shelton R. Keyes, pastor of Hickory Grove Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), and uncle of graduating senior Charmayne Simpson, delivered the sermon on Sunday morning.

Other commencement festivities during the weekend included a luncheon for seniors and their parents on Saturday, hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Norval C. Kneten, at the Barton-Graves House. The pinning ceremony for the graduating seniors of the School of Nursing was held earlier on Saturday morning in Howard Chapel.