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​Newberry Celebrates 113 Graduates at Spring 2017 Commencement

May 9, 2017

Five graduates in cap and gown

Newberry College hosted the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017, celebrating the accomplishments of 113 graduates on Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m., in Eleazer Arena. 


“This happy occasion brings us together to celebrate the achievements and realized goals of this senior class,” said Newberry College president Dr. Maurice Scherrens. “Seniors, in partnership with your professors and mentors, each of you has invested four years in an effort to cultivate your individual potential into singular accomplishment." 


Student Commencement Speakers 

In keeping with the College’s practice of choosing students to give the commencement address, graduating seniors Mallory M. Gerndt and Trung N. Duong were selected for this honor. Mallory M. Gerndt, a Business Administration and Political Science double major from Burke, Va., is a member of Phi Beta Lambda, Omicron Delta Kappa, Blue Key Honor Society and the prestigious Newberry College Bachman Honor Society. 


“Newberry College has provided us with a yellow brick road – or a path to success, a path that encouraged us to follow our dreams and to never give up.” Gerndt said during her commencement remarks. “We have found a home in Newberry College and wherever you go, there is no place like Newberry College, there is no place like home.” 


Trung N. Duong, an English and Graphic Design double major from Forest, Va., is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta international English honors society and a two-time Division II Wrestling All-American who has earned multiple Academic All-American honors. 


“When we first arrived at Newberry College, we had so much to learn from our professors and coaches, but we all found a way to persevere,” Duong said during his commencement remarks. “Persistence is what kept us going and what got us here today. But our journey does not end today with graduation. Our journey continues.” 


Senior Class Gift 

Each year, graduating seniors make a class gift to their alma mater. This year’s class gift is a cedar bench and swing, which will be installed on the patio of the new residence hall when construction is complete. 


Emeriti Faculty 

Newberry College conferred emeritus status on three retiring faculty. Leighton Hartzog, a Newberry resident who retires after 15 years of service to the College, was granted the rank of assistant professor of Accounting and Business Administration emeritus. Newberry conferred the rank of professor of Political Science emeritus upon Dr. Steven Schweitzer, a Hartsville, S.C., resident, honoring his 14 years of service to the College. 


Newberry College conferred the rank of associate dean and associate professor of English emerita on Dale Kinard Brown, a Newberry resident and 1966 alumna, who retires in July after 26 years of service to the College. She was additionally honored with the Luceo Mea Luce Award, which honors individuals whose lives of devotion, learning and service exemplify the motto, “By my light I enlighten,” associated with Newberry College founder John Bachman. By acclamation, the faculty bestowed this seldom-given award on Brown in honor of her tireless service to the College in whatever capacity she was needed, including as professor, English department chair, interim Teacher Education chair and associate dean of Academic Affairs. 


Awards and Honors 

Dr. L. Grady Cooper Award: The graduating class annually presents the Dr. L. Grady Cooper Award to faculty, staff or students who exemplify the loyalty and devotion to Newberry College that Cooper demonstrated during his long tenure as a professor of Religion and Greek. The Rev. Ernie Worman and Kirsten Cockerham were selected for this honor. Worman was recognized for his unfailing support and encouragement of students, faculty and staff. Cockerham, a senior with a major in Physical Education and minors in Business Administration and Athletic Training, was a founding member of the Scarlet Poms dance team and represented the group on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. A Mocksville, N.C., native, she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, served as president of Panhellenic and represented Panhellenic interests on the Student Government Association. 


Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards: These awards were established to honor one man and one woman of the graduating close who exemplify outstanding character and service to others, traits valued by Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan. 

Christopher Ringer received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. A History major from Columbia, S.C. Ringer has been inducted into Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He is a member of several academic and leadership societies and actively involved in volunteer service with local nonprofits. He plans to study International Relations in graduate school with the goal of working in the State Department or American Foreign Service. 


Mallory M. Gerndt was honored with the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. Gerndt, a double major in Business Administration and Political Science from Burke, Va., Gerndt was a Summerland Honors Scholar who has been a member of several academic honor societies, including the Bachman Honor Society. A member of the Wolves Softball team, she was named to the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and served as president of the Student Athlete Advisor Committee. She interned with Newberry alumna Hope Walker at the South Carolina GOP and with Reince Priebus, then chairman of the Republican National Committee. 


Dr. George B. Cromer Award: Established by the Class of 1938 in memory of Dr. George B. Cromer, who served as president of the College from 1895-1904, the award is given annually to the graduating senior who exemplifies the qualities of academic excellence, leadership ability and personal integrity that Cromer demonstrated throughout his tenure. Madison Marie Darby-McClure was honored as this year’s recipient. An English major with a minor in Business Administration and Creative Writing, the Colorado Springs, Colo., native is a Summerland Honors Program scholar and a member of several academic honor societies, including the Bachman Honor Society. Senior captain of the Wolves Volleyball team, she was recognized as the SAC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and named an Academic All-American. 


Special Presentation 

Newberry College surprised Mary Grate-Pyos ’81, current president of the Alumni Association Board of Managers, with the opportunity to experience a missed opportunity. Circumstances prevented Grate-Pyos from participating in her commencement ceremony in 1981, so Newberry helped Grate-Pyos recreate the experience, asking her to step forward to walk across the stage and receive her certificate of graduation from President Scherrens.

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