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JCSU Shines at 142nd Commencement

Charlotte, N.C. (May 4, 2014) -- The sun was shining brightly on JCSU’s 142nd Commencement at Irwin Belk Complex as 247 students marched to African drummers onto Eddie C. McGirt field. More than 3,000 family and friends gathered on May 4 to celebrate the momentous occasion. Joining the graduates were 41 distinguished alumni from the Class of 1964 wearing gold robes to commemorate their 50th reunion. Among them were such notables as past president of JCSU and Shaw University Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy and Dr. Boisey O. Barnes, M.D.

This year’s graduating class saw an unusually high number of students with a 4.0 GPA. In addition to Valedictorian Regina Jones-McPherson and Salutatorian Sana-Kay Whyte, five others were recognized for the highest academic achievement: Briana Howard, Clayton Gordon, Kevon Scott, Dayna Blake and Conroy Field. All of the students are from Jamaica and from the College of STEM.

In addressing her classmates, Jones-McPherson advised her classmates to “go forward and tell the world to move over and make some room.” She reflected on some of her favorite moments at JCSU: chicken Wednesdays, football and volleyball games, concerts, step shows, CIAA week, the Homecoming parade, music on the Block, and chicken Wednesdays.

Commencement speaker Robert Niblock, chairman and chief executive officer of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., offered three things students can keep in mind to get started on the next chapter in their lives:

  • Choose to do something that matters to people.
  • Be part of something bigger than yourselves.
  • Take the things you learned about yourself in college and be that every day.

He also announced a $100,000 donation from Lowe’s to support the President’s Gap Scholarship Fund.

Honorary Doctorate Degrees

Trustee Chairman Monroe Miller bestowed the Doctor of Humane Letters on Mrs. Loretta Jean Webber and honored her late husband, Dr. Spurgeon W. Webber Jr., with the Honorary Doctor of Science degree. The Webbers shared a vision for their community and put it into action through their generosity, patronage and civic responsibility. Following the passing of Dr. Webber, his wife and the Webber family pledged one of the largest individual gifts to the “Tomorrow Is What WE Make It” comprehensive campaign. In Dr. Webber's honor, JCSU’s new science center will include the Webber Family Research Center.

Trustee Miller awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters to Robert Niblock for channeling some of Lowe’s financial success to lift up the community through philanthropy. Such efforts offered the prospect of property ownership to working-class African-Americans. Lowes nourished the dream of Charlotteans John and Mary Myers, a wealthy couple in the city who, in the late 19th century, first created the Cherry community as a refuge for unskilled African-American laborers. John Myers’ father, Colonial William R. Myers, two decades before the founding of Cherry, donated eight acres of land to the ministers who sought to build a college that ultimately became the core of JCSU.

Next year’s Commencement will be held on May 17, 2015.




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