Lees-McRae College Commencement will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 22 at the Williams Physical Education Complex on the Banner Elk campus. Degrees will be conferred upon approximately 228 students, the largest graduating class in the history of the four-year, liberal arts college. Incoming president Dr. Barry M. Buxton will deliver the commencement address called “Fulfilling the Promise”.
Commencement ceremonies will be held outdoors on the Ried M. Estus Practice Fields, weather permitting. The rain location is inside the Williams Gymnasium. Designated parking for individuals with disabilities will be available at the Williams Physical Education Complex. Shuttles will run from all main campus parking lots to the site of Commencement as parking at the Complex is limited.
On Friday evening, the annual Baccalaureate Service and hooding ceremony for graduates and their families will be held at 7 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium. Baccalaureate Dinner will be held prior to the service at 5:30 p.m. in MacDonald Dining Hall.
During the ceremony, one 2010 graduate will receive the H.C. Evans Fidelity Award, an award named for the College’s ninth president that recognizes academic excellence, campus citizenship, friendliness and service to the College. The recipient is selected by the graduates themselves, approved by the faculty and represents the highest ideals of the graduating class.
About the Speaker
Dr. Barry M. Buxton will become fifteenth president of Lees-McRae College on June 1. A native of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Dr. Buxton has a long history of involvement with institutions of higher education in Appalachia. During the decade of the 1980s, he served as Executive Director of the sixteen-member Appalachian Consortium. In this capacity, he worked with faculty on research projects, scholarly conferences, and publications related to Appalachia. In 1987, he received a distinguished service award from the Blue Ridge Parkway in recognition of the historic studies he conducted of Mabry Mill, Moses H. Cone Estate, Davey Farm, and Brinegar Cabin.
Most recently Dr. Buxton served as Vice President for Special Projects at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was responsible for major gift solicitation, leadership development, and foundation relations. He also served as executive liaison to the Savannah, Atlanta, and European Boards of Visitors.
Prior to his position at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Dr. Buxton has served as president of science and history museums in North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia. In Houston, he worked with former President and First Lady George and Barbara Bush and the Harris County Medical Society to establish the Museum of Health and Medical Science. He was vice president of the North Carolina Grass Roots Science Museums and a co-founder of the Houston Museum District Association.
An award-winning author who has written and edited over a dozen books, his centennial history of Blowing Rock, A Village Tapestry, was recognized as the best local history in North Carolina in 1989.
In a diverse career spanning 35 years, he has been a teacher, researcher, publisher, editor, and community leader with extensive international experience. He has served as a consultant to such diverse organizations as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Tennessee State Board of Regents, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Texas A&M University. Dr. Buxton is a past member of the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Nebraska Humanities Council.
Buxton holds two degrees from Appalachian State University, where he received his teacher certification and was an E.F. Lovill Fellow. His Ph.D. is from the University of Nebraska, and his dissertation was titled “Job Satisfaction of College and University Presidents.”