200 participate in Presbyterian College’s 134th commencement


Presbyterian College held its 134th commencement for its College of Arts and Science on Saturday, May 14. The College conferred 200 undergraduate degrees.

“Today you’re going to receive a diploma, which although it is a piece of paper, is much more than a piece of paper,” PC President Bob Staton told graduates. “It represents all the time, effort, and energy you have put into preparing yourself for life.”


“Life won’t always go the way you want it to go,” Staton added. “How you deal with those instances will define who you become. Today is a special point of pride as a PC alumnus to give you a diploma and welcome you to our family.”

Dr. Don Raber, provost for the College recognized three students as valedictorians for the class of 2017. Those students were Nicole Elizabeth Alleva of Carmel, N.Y.; Matthew Christopher Andrews of Florence, S.C.; and Jordan Leatherwood Sartain of Greer, S.C.

In following its tradition, the recipients of the college’s Outstanding Senior and Professor of the Year awards, named at its honors convocation held in April. This year’s addresses were presented by Christopher Harvel Parnell, outstanding senior and Dr. Erin McAdams, associate professor of political science.

“The people are what make Presbyterian College,” Parnell said. “They are what make it special.

“The true reality of time is that we always believe we have more than we do,” he said. “Our time will be measured by how we serve our family, our community, and our society. Class of 2017, we are standing at the precipice of uncertainty in a world of uncertainty, and it is now that I implore you to make good use of your time.”


Parnell challenged the class, “Let us not start the countdown to retirement, but let us do something good.”

McAdams, whose address, “A Pioneer’s Journey,” drew inspiration from her maternal grandmother’s journey to America from Greece, opened by telling the graduating class, “You should feel proud. We’re all very proud of you. This education is not something you were given, you have earned it.”

“This is the day of your commencement, and I encourage you to be pioneers in your lives,” McAdams said. “Be willing to push your boundaries.”

“Some may think being a pioneer must make you fearless,” she added, “but they’re wrong. You need that fear to motivate you.”

“No matter how much you accomplish, there is always more to do,” McAdams said. “As a PC graduate, you are not only empowered to make a difference, you are obligated. Be a pioneer, and I promise you the best years of your lives are yet to come.”



Presbyterian College is located on a striking 240-acre campus in Clinton, between Columbia and Greenville, S.C. Offering challenging academics and a culture of honor, ethics, and service that prepares students to be leaders in communities, PC offers its students the benefit of engaging with an exceptional faculty who take individual interest in their students’ well-being, both personally and in the classroom. The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy is dedicated to the ideals of leadership, honor to the profession, and service to the community. For more information about Presbyterian College, visit