Presbyterian College held its 2014 commencement exercises beneath the stately oaks on West Plaza as family and friends gathered to see the 281 undergraduates and 76 Doctor of Pharmacy candidates receive their diplomas.
President Claude C. Lilly told the graduates, “You and I—undergraduates and pharmacy graduates—stand on the shoulders of individuals like William Plumer Jacobs, who have gone on before, and you and I have a responsibility to support PC so that future generational will stand on the shoulders of what we have done.
“Please strive to build on your foundation using the gold, silver and precious stones of your works and values,” he added.
Dr. Lilly presented the Valedictorian Awards to Emily Marie Boggus and Joseph Edmond Barakat, recognizing their achievement for attaining the highest academic average in all coursework completed at the collegiate level.
PC’s 2014 Professor of the Year, Dr. Latha Allen Gearheart, asked the graduates to find their inspiration in all aspects of life. “I had no agenda to ever apply for a teaching position at a small, liberal arts college… but that handful of PC students I met my first year of graduate school possessed something special that still inspired me. I hadn’t placed my finger on what it was, but I couldn’t resist applying for the job here at PC, and I’m so happy and fortunate I did.
“That very special quality I sensed in PC students 18 years ago is what I still perceive today, and though I still have not quite figured out what that quality is, I know it makes me feel good. Despite the many challenges our world presents, I feel assured knowing PC graduates—past, present and future—are and will be our leaders… because all of you have experienced something I believe is very special… a PC experience.”
Gearheart said that while the “PC experience” is defined differently for each of you … I believe it shares some commonalities I hope have inspired you. One, you have all created amazing memories and relationships with fellow students, your friends, and two, you have all engaged meaningfully with phenomenal professors across all departments on both campuses.
“So I’m assigning you two final homework problems: One, when you have something good, please share it, because you may be someone’s inspiration, and two, seek inspiration from others, because their inspiration may open doors you never knew existed,” Gearheart concluded.
Leahy, a member of the Women’s Tennis Team and education major, said that PC’s motor is “more than just a catchy motto that we say while pretending that we speak Latin. Here at PC, we LIVE this motto.”
She outlined multiple examples of service, including serving as a big sister to a young boy at Thornwell Home for Children. “Being a big sister to Ty was a life-changing experience; spending my time with Ty taught me why it is important to serve one another in love. Presbyterian College provided me with a wide range of opportunities to lose myself in service… I had no idea how big of an impact giving back would have on my own life. I sometimes wonder who benefited more… my sweet brother Ty or me.”
“ Through my experiences at PC, I discovered my passion to serve others leading me to join this team—a team we like to call teachers. My experiences at Presbyterian College have taught me to serve others before myself, to be passionate about my service, to serve others in love, and to be fully committed to a team.
“As we leave a place, so defined by service, I challenge each one of you to take a part of PC with you and look for opportunities to serve others in love. I truly believe that when you step outside of what is familiar and comfortable and focus on helping others, the rewards are surprising and endless. I can guarantee you that you will be standing there asking yourself, who benefitted more?”
Founded in 1880, Presbyterian College is a Carnegie One liberal arts college and is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The institution confers B.A. and B.S. degrees in 32 courses of study and nine pre-professional programs including pre-law, pre-med, pre-pharmacy and pre-theological. The PC School of Pharmacy is in the process of gaining full accreditation status from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. For more information, visit www.presby.edu.