Braving intermittent showers, the University of South Carolina Beaufort conducted a commencement ceremony May 3 for 314 graduates in the class of 2013. It was the largest graduating class in the history of the baccalaureate institution. University firsts included graduates from the newly established Communication Studies degree program, Coastal Ecology and Conservation concentration, and the Call Me Mister program for early elementary education majors.
Dr. Jane T. Upshaw, USCB chancellor, and Dr. Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, offered warm words of welcome and grateful appreciation to a sea of parents, relatives and friends of the graduates who filled Helen and Brantley Harvey Plaza in the foreground of the Hargray Building on the Hilton Head Gateway campus.
Emory Wayne Rushton, who attended the University of South Carolina Beaufort in the early 1960s when it was a regional campus of the USC system, received an Honorary Doctor of Public Administration degree. After USCB, Rushton earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at USC in 1965.
He served for more than four decades with the Office of the Controller of the Currency in Washington, D.C., rising to become one of the highest-ranking supervisory officials in the American Banking System. But no matter where the Rushtons lived while serving the government, they maintained a home in Beaufort.
John Martin Hicks Hart Jr., the award-winning author of four bestselling novels, received an Honorary Doctor of Literature degree. A former criminal defense attorney, banker and stockbroker, Hart delivered the commencement address. He urged the graduating seniors to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams, recalling how he left a secure position as a defense attorney to chase the dream of becoming a novelist.