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CSU holds dual graduations for classes of 2020 and 2021

  • Updated

The Charleston Southern University Class of 2020 members had their chance to walk the stage April 30 on CSU’s Buccaneer Field, and the Class of 2021 walked May 1.

COVID-19 disrupted the traditional May graduation for the Class of 2020. CSU held a virtual graduation for the class last May and an in-person diploma pick-up and photo opportunity with President Dondi Costin. 

Approximately 150 members of the Class of 2020 opted to return and walk the stage. The Class of 2021’s more than 700 graduates were honored with approximately 525 members attending graduation. 

President Dr. Dondi Costin told both classes they are on a mission – doing what God has called them to do. 

Darrin Goss Sr., president and CEO of Coastal Community Foundation, was the guest speaker. He said, in a world of turmoil, he has hope because of who the graduates are as people. “I know who you are,” said Goss. “The question is, do you know who you are? You are well able to change the world.”

He encouraged the graduates to help our country become its better self. He said, “I am confident in our future because I am confident in you.” He encouraged graduates to daily exercise their faith, and to follow their faith routine with hope. And to follow hope with love because our Lord started with love. 

Goss is a U.S. Army veteran, an ordained minister with the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina, and has worked in government, nonprofits, higher education and private industry. He is on the board of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, on the One Region Executive Committee and is board chair of MDC, Inc. in Durham, North Carolina.

The Coastal Community Foundation unites people and invests resources by managing more than $300 million in assets and awarding an average of more than $15 million in grants and scholarships annually. 

Carson Anderson, the 2019-2020 Student Government Association president, told his class, “We are just celebrating a surprisingly early class reunion.” He encouraged his classmates to celebrate and rejoice because they had persevered and overcome. Anderson recently completed his first year of law school at the University of South Carolina. 

Senior member of SGA Marisa Thomas addressed the Class of 2021 and said, “God has been in control of our paths, guiding our steps each moment until now, and will continue to do so as we look forward to the future. We must find courage in that and overcome the fear of failure.” 

2020 special awards

SarahGrace Rogers: The John Barry Christian Scholar Award –  for the graduating senior who has achieved the highest scholastic ratio and who, in the judgment of the faculty, evidences the greatest promise for future scholarship.

Arin Joy Shivvers: The Myrtle E. Hamrick Award for the female graduate who possesses the highest virtues of Christian womanhood.

Ida Caroline Edmondson: The Hunter Cup for the member of the graduating class who has best served the university and whose character, scholarship and athletic ability are deemed outstanding.

Samantha A. Madak: The Carolyn Killen Hunter Outstanding Christian Teacher Endowed Scholarship and Award

Dr. Mela Wyeth: Excellence in Teaching Award  

2021 special awards:

Darra Bailey Watts: The John Barry Christian Scholar Award.  

Taylor Lynsey Barnes: The Hunter Cup

Salena Marie Stack: Carolyn Killen Hunter Outstanding Christian Teacher Endowed Scholarship and Award 

Professor Thomas Keating: Excellence in Teaching Award 

Dr. Nancy Barendse: Faculty Emeritus of English

Dr. Jeryl Johnson: Faculty Emeritus of Mathematics 

 Dr. Pam Peek: Faculty Emeritus of Spanish 

Honorary Doctor of Public Service – Darrin Goss Sr., President and CEO, Coastal Community Foundation