Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton, the son of a S.C. sharecropper who rose through the ranks to become a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force, will deliver the keynote address when USC Beaufort conducts its 59th Commencement Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3 on the Bluffton Campus.
An F-4D Phantom pilot, Gen. Newton flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam, 79 of them over enemy territory. Later, he was selected as the first African-American to join The Thunderbirds, the elite U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron. Gen. Newton will receive an Honorary Doctor of Public Service at the ceremony.
William Rivers “Skeet” Von Harten, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 20 years of service, then went on to distinguish himself as vice chairman and then chairman of the Beaufort County Council, will be honored as well. Von Harten was commodore of the Beaufort County Water Festival in 1983, former chairman of the Beaufort County Economic Development Board, and grand marshal of the Beaufort County Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony in 2012. Von Harten will receive an Honorary Doctor of Public Service at the ceremony.
Harris Pastides, Ph.D., who will retire in July after serving 11 years as president of the University of South Carolina, will deliver his remarks after USCB Chancellor Al M. Panu, Ph.D., welcomes administrators from both universities, faculty, distinguished guests, the graduating Class of 2019, parents and friends.
The commencement ceremony will take place at Library Plaza on the Bluffton Campus. Distinguished guests at the ceremony will include representatives of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, the Beaufort County Higher Education Commission and the Beaufort College Trustees, 1795.
USCB will award 345 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees at the commencement ceremony.