President Buxton to address the class of 2018

The commencement ceremony at Lees-McRae College on Saturday, May 5 will feature a familiar face. Current president, Dr. Barry M. Buxton, has been tapped to serve as speaker in recognition of his many efforts and contributions. Buxton will retire from the institution later that month.

In addition to addressing the class of 2018, Buxton will present Dr. Paul H. Broyhill with an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration during the ceremony.

Even though Buxton is a High Country native, he brought a fresh perspective to the 118-year old institution upon his arrival in 2010. During his time, the campus underwent a transformation in its physical spaces and academic programming.

Among the many renovations was the now Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons and the construction of the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The College also added main-campus programs in nursing, health and wellness science, and outdoor recreation management, along with numerous online degrees.

In a professional career spanning more than 35 years, Buxton has been a teacher, researcher, author and community leader throughout the south. Prior to Lees-McRae, 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.

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.”

Honorary degree recipient, Paul Broyhill has a long, successful legacy in the High Country.

A native of Lincolnton, North Carolina, Broyhill attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before joining the army and serving in the infantry until the end of World War II. Following his return, Broyhill joined his father’s business—Broyhill Furniture.

Broyhill went on to rise through the ranks, eventually becoming chairman of Broyhill Furniture Industries, which grew to be the largest privately-owned furniture company in the world at that time. Under his direction, six-million square feet of manufacturing facilities were built—Broyhill always sought the most modern technology and machinery.

Since his retirement from the furniture business, Broyhill has continued to lead as chairman of BMC Fund, Inc., Broyhill Investments, Inc., P.B. Realty, Inc., and the Broyhill Family Foundation, Inc.

After their generous support of the theatre program, Lees-McRae previously honored the Broyhill family by naming the theatre in Hayes Auditorium after them.

This year’s commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 5, at 10 a.m. on Tate Lawn. For more information, please visit

By Nina MastandreaApril 16, 2018
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