Lees-McRae College confers degrees upon 214 graduates

May 11, 2015

Lees-McRae College conferred degrees upon 214 graduates during commencement exercises Saturday, May 9 on Tate Lawn on the campus in Banner Elk. The 2015 ceremony was the first time commencement has been held on Tate Lawn in the history of the College. Of the graduating class, 15 graduated from the honors program, 56 graduated summa cum laude (3.90-4.0 GPA), 43 graduated magna cum laude (3.70-3.89 GPA) and 31 graduated cum laude (3.50-3.69 GPA).

With the assistance of Faculty Senate President, Dr. Gene Spears, President Barry M. Buxton presented this year’s commencement speaker, Mr. Harvey Lowd, with an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration.

Mr. Lowd, chairman of the Lees-McRae College Board of Trustees, is the founder of HLL Consulting and is passionate for helping challenge other leaders to succeed and grow in their own businesses. After accepting his honorary degree, Mr. Lowd gave his commencement address titled, “Dream Big.” Mr. Lowd said, “For you, members of the Class of 2015, the end has not been reached. There is more of the story to be told. In fact, in many ways, today is just the beginning – the first step in fulfilling a dream, that first line toward writing the song that will be your life, that first step on a bridge across a swift-running brook called life. There is more to come, a lot more to be done.” He closed, “As you leave on that life journey, pack with care your backpack. Pack your dreams, big dreams. Pack short-term goals and keep adjusting them as you move forward. And don’t forget grit, the determination that will keep you moving forward.”

At the conclusion of Lowd’s address, bachelor’s degrees in business administration, sport administration, communication arts and design, performing arts studies, musical theatre, elementary education, theatre arts education, health and physical education, English, history, athletic training, nursing, biology, wildlife biology, criminal justice and psychology were conferred upon the 214 graduates by President Buxton.

After the conferral of degrees, two graduates were honored with the H.C. Evans, Jr. Fidelity Award. Named after the late Dr. H.C. Evans, ninth president of Lees-McRae College, the Fidelity Award recognizes academic excellence, campus citizenship, friendliness and service to the College and community. The recipient is selected by the graduates themselves, approved by the faculty and administration, and represents the highest ideals of the graduating class. Dr. Evans used to refer to the Fidelity Award recipient as “Mr. or Miss Lees-McRae College.”

Dr. Robin Buchanan, chair of the Division of Education, presented the award for main campus to James Smith, a native of Eastbourne, Sussex, England, who earned his bachelor of science in sport science and graduated magna cum laude. During her speech, Dr. Buchanan said, “The recipient of the H.C. Evans Fidelity Award for main campus is, indeed, a student admired and respected by faculty, staff, administrators and peers for his extraordinary service, teamwork and leadership, both in the classroom and on the field.”  She continued, “As a skilled and disciplined athlete, service is second nature to this young man. Compassion for other people and a desire to help and make a difference in people’s lives underpins his work in the community.”

Dr. Bo Bennett, vice president of extended campus and online learning, presented the award for extended campus to Andrew Moore, a native of Elkin, N.C., who earned his bachelor of science in elementary education and graduated summa cum laude. In his remarks, Dr. Bennett said, “This recipient is from our Surry Community College campus, and one who strategically sets goals for himself and maps his course to achieve them… He has been the academic leader in his class during both his junior and senior years, is a peer mentor and a member of Alpha Chi and Pi Lambda Theta Educational Honor Societies. Amazingly so, this student is paying his way through college by working three jobs; yet he has managed to successfully maintain high academic standing, assist members of his cohort to bring clarity to an assignment and engage in community service.”

For more information about commencement at Lees-McRae, please visit lmc.edu/commencement. To view photos from the 2015 commencement ceremony, please visit Lees-McRae College’s Facebook page at facebook.com/lmc.edu. 

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu