St. Andrews University holds 115th Commencement Ceremony
Laurinburg, N.C. – "Despite our adversities and backs being against the wall, we showed our true character and how strong we were because we, the students, still went to classes, still worked out, woke up for morning condition, drug ourselves to the barn in the freezing weather all because we knew we were going to prevail and make it here today."
These words by Senior Class Speaker Alexis Cowger were shared with the class of 2012, their families, friends, faculty and staff during the 115th St. Andrews University Commencement Ceremony held Saturday on DeTamble Terrace.
Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation, shared his insights with the class as the featured speaker.
"Just think of the important work you have ahead of you - which you are now so ably prepared for," he said. "Some of you will be business leaders helping to create new jobs, and make investments and opportunity for people. Many of you will be teachers and coaches, to whom those parents among us will entrust what they love the most - their children. Biology majors will go to treat people and animals, and I can go on and on. Persevere. Be grateful. You have my respect."
In addition to the conferring of diplomas, special awards were presented to members of the St. Andrews community. Graduate Rebecca Maye and trustee David Burns were the recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for "their selfless gift of their time and energy in the service of others."
Maye, a forensic science major, served as a student speaker during the Baccalaureate service Friday evening in honor of the class of 2012. A member of the cross country team, she completed her degree while serving as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. Maye was the president of the Christian Student Union, a Resident Assistant and lead Women's Bible Study on campus.
"Rebecca truly represents a person who, in her daily life, moves outside her narrow circle of self-interest and expends her energies in service to others, to her community and to her country," said Baldasare. "She is not only a success in the classroom, but spreads good will wherever she goes and in countless ways."
Burns spent his professional career working for the Z.V. Pate Company while volunteering for organizations such as the Laurinburg Rotary Club, the Laurinburg/Scotland County Chamber of Commerce, Scotia Village Retirement Center and the Cotton Council International. He has been on the St. Andrews Board of Trustees for 18 years, with six of those as chairman.
"Without question, David is the 'go to' guy when it comes to serving the community," Baldasare said. "He responds to the call with great humility, but with unshakable resolve, a clear sense of what is right and wrong, a critical problem-solving mind, and a degree of commitment so deep that when he agrees to serve, you know he will do everything within his power on a 24/7 basis to serve the constituents of that organization."
In accepting the award, Burns said, "To the faculty and staff, I want to say thank you for the award, but more importantly, for the years I've gotten to work with such a professional and dedicated staff."
Instructor of Equine Studies Jackie Dwelle was presented the Distinguished Faculty Award by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the University Robert Hopkins.
"(Dwelle) is a competent, energetic and efficient individual who has the fantastic ability to multi-task - a required asset for St. Andrews faculty and staff members," said Hopkins. "Colleagues who nominated (Dwelle) indicated that she exhibited the following traits: great teacher and facilitator of learning, a team player who is always ready to assist her colleagues, someone who promotes and does what is best for St. Andrews, a life-long learner and a light within the St. Andrews community."
As the ceremony came to an end and the graduates and their families moved to the reception, the words of Stephanie Wegner, an elementary education graduate from the St. Andrews at Sandhills program seemed to resonate.
"The people of this university are family," she said. "They look out for each other and help one another. No matter which path like may take us, right here, right now, will always be a part of us."
About St. Andrews University
St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.