Spring Commencement Ceremony Celebrates More than 250 Averett University Graduates

Posted on May 5th, 2018 by Cassie Jones

The excitement was palpable as graduates walked the stage at Averett University’s Spring Commencement ceremony. With the stands of the E. Stuart James Grant Center brimming with proud family members and friends, the morning of May 5 will be memorable to many.

The 253 graduates range in age from 20 to 77, with six international graduates from the following four countries: England, Finland, Russia and Sweden. Approximately half of the students completed their degrees through the University’s Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) program, and the other half are traditional graduates. The university conferred degrees at both the baccalaureate and master’s level.

Following the pomp and circumstance of the processional, invocation and national anthem, and after the welcoming remarks and recognitions, Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks introduced the commencement speaker, prominent local business owner and community leader, Ben J. Davenport, Jr.

“He is what we would want every business leader to be,” said Franks, describing not only his success in business, but his focus on building community and service to the region. “That commitment to community is the foundation of what makes us great as a country…Lucky for us, this is his community. This is his home, and we are all beneficiaries of it.”

Davenport, the Chairman of First Piedmont Corporation and Davenport Energy, outlined for the graduates the differences between our values, abilities and skills, and how to apply and develop each to shape our paths.

“A saying I have enjoyed all my life is, ‘Many trains come by only once in life. It is your choice whether to get on them or not,’” he said. “I have been fortunate to get on some good trains and to avoid getting on others that were not good. My ability may be a talent for seeing likely trains coming, but my values were what guided me to pick the good ones and avoid the trouble on track.”

“Averett has made its mark on you,” said Davenport. “Now it is time for you to make your mark on the world, as many Averett alumni have done before you.”

In closing, he advised the graduates to “stay true to your values, recognize your abilities, develop your skills and use your gifts to help others. Use your newly conferred degrees, your strong values, your talents and abilities, and the critical skills that you have learned here to make the world a better place.

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

Traditional Undergraduate Awards:

  • Mary C. Fugate: Sydney Shaniece Glass
  • Grace V. Crenshaw: Mary Kathryn Carter
  • C.L. Davenport Award For Excellence: Samantha Chandler
  • Curtis Bishop Award: Nicolette Loving
  • American Legion Citizenship Award: Sydney Glass

Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) Awards:

  • Malcolm Knowles Award: Brian Forrest Layton
  • Frank Campbell Award: Jessica Jean Geib