Averett University graduates 261 students in May Commencement

Posted on May 9th, 2016 by Cassie Jones

The excitement was palpable in the E. Stuart James Grant Athletic & Convocation Center at Averett University’s Commencement on May 7. With friends, family members, university faculty and staff and special guests in attendance, the more than 250 graduates receiving degrees had plenty of reasons to feel proud about their significant accomplishments.

Of the 261 students in the graduating class, ages ranged from 20 to 61, and four foreign countries were represented. Thirty-five graduates are on active duty with the military or are veterans.

After hearing from Averett University President, Dr. Tiffany M. Franks, graduates were welcomed to the alumni network by Dr. Calvin Snowden ’94 and chairman of the Averett’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Annie P. Wimbish ’81, senior associate with the Schlechty Center and a Board of Trustee member, delivered the Commencement address.

“In 1981, I sat in your seats as a graduate of Averett University, then Averett College,” she said. “I learned many lessons from Averett University that have guided me in my career, a career that many would describe as successful. Though I had an outstanding academic experience that made me feel I could compete with anyone in the world, many profound lessons I learned were non-academic.”

She went on to encourage graduates to not get stuck in today, but to look forward instead; to always tell the truth; and to do all work with pride and upmost effort, even if it’s the dirty work most don’t really want to do. She was afterwards named an honorary member of the May 2016 graduating class by Franks.

Dr. Timothy Fulop, vice president for academic affairs and student success, presented the graduates and recognized those receiving awards, including:

Traditional undergraduate awards:

  • Mary C. Fugate Award (highest GPA in graduating class – traditional program): Lauren Ashley Cami of Hialeah, Fla., bachelor’s degree in biology: biological science and minor in physical education;
  • Grace V. Crenshaw Award (second highest GPA in graduating class): Kimberly Renee Matherly of Chatham, bachelor’s degree in mathematics with teaching certification for grades 6-12 and a minor in art studio;
  • L. Davenport Award for Excellence: Kimberly Renee Matherly;
  • Curtis Bishop Award: Bryan Charles Finney of Petersburg, double major in business administration: accounting and business administration: management science;
  • American Legion Citizenship Award: Safeera Khan of Danville, bachelor’s degree in biology: biological science and a minor in ecology.

Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) awards:

  • Malcolm Knowles Award (highest GPA in GPS graduating class): David J. Galyon of Mifflinburg, Pa., bachelor’s degree in criminal justice
  • Frank R. Campbell Award (second highest GPA in GPS graduating class): Cheryl Gibson Gary of Yorktown, bachelor degree in business administration

In for their 50th reunion celebration, the class of 1966 led the Commencement processional, followed by the Latino Network of Virginia Baptists members, part of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. Rev. Skyler Daniel, university chaplain, led the invocation and benediction. Averett senior Ja’Corey Jones sang the National Anthem and Alma Mater, and the Stratford Brass Quintet played for the processional and recessional.