GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Rain did not dampen the spirits as 214 members of the Class of 2014 gathered with families and friends on Saturday for the conferral of undergraduate degrees. Normally held on Giddings lawn, rain forced the ceremony inside a packed Davis-Reid Alumni gym. An overflow crowd watched on a video screen in nearby Hill Chapel.
President M. Dwaine Greene presided and delivered the commencement address. He reminded his audience that Georgetown College is the sixth oldest Baptist College in the United States, having been founded in 1829. Graduates listened attentively as Dr. Greene urged them to continue to care for others as they begin their journeys after Georgetown College.
“The best living is to care for people and to strive for their good with all the zeal you can muster,” he said. “As you have been taught to live, learn, and believe, I hope you go on to achieve, serve, and succeed.”
Senior Zachary D. Losey, a Cum Laude Biology major from Independence, Ky., was chosen by his classmates to deliver the senior address. In his remarks Mr. Losey also picked up on the College’s ‘live, learn, believe’ tagline, encouraging his fellow graduates to not only have faith but to also believe in themselves, their abilities, and their future.
Several awards were presented to members of the college family.
The President’s Honor Award, recognizing an outstanding student who combines both academic and extracurricular excellence, went to Caliesa Lavonne Comley, a Summa Cum Laude Sociology major from Richmond, Ky.
Granetta Blevins, who served as acting president before Dr. Greene arrived in October of 2013, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree.
The prestigious Don and Chris Cawthorne Award for excellence in teaching was presented posthumously to Ira V. “Jack” Birdwhistell, Professor of Religion, who died in February.
In announcing the Cawthorne Award, Rosemary Allen, Provost and Academic Dean, said that when nominations were made back in December she was anticipating the “surprise that it would be for the recipient, a gentle, modest, and good man who would never think of himself as the person described in such glowing words by his students and colleagues.”
Dr. Allen said she was planning to talk about his endless generosity, his constant outreach to students, past and present, and to colleagues.
“I was going to call him what he was and will always be – the heart, soul, and mind of Georgetown College,” she said.
After asking family members to stand for recognition, Dr. Allen displayed the framed Cawthorne Medallion, saying it would be placed in the college’s Religion Department to honor the “great man and superb teacher who left this world before I could make him walk up here to accept this award.”
Archived video of undergraduate commencement can be viewed online.
Graduate Education Commencement
Graduates of the Master of Arts in Education program at Georgetown College received their degrees in a separate afternoon ceremony in John L. Hill Chapel.
Ashley Chivon Hughley was presented with the annual Dean’s Honor Award established in 2007 to honor an individual “committed to a spirit of service and learning . . . to make a significant impact on the education profession.” Ms. Hughley teaches at Clark Middle School in Winchester.
Alumna Michelle Pedigo, now a regional vice president with MetLife, delivered the commencement address. A former educator who said she still finds herself teaching, she urged teachers to prepare for the new generation of students often referred to as the Pluralist Generation or “Plurals” for short – “a new brood of ethnically diverse and inherently technologically adept children.”
Master of Arts in Education degrees were conferred for 50 graduates.
Saturday was the first time in collective memory that Georgetown College has held two separate commencement ceremonies on the same day. It is expect to continue and will be supplemented with a combined commencement for December graduates, the first of which was held in 2013. There is no longer an August ceremony for Master of Arts graduates.