Family and friends gathered May 5, 2008, to celebrate an important milestone for the more than 80 graduates who were honored at USC Salkehatchie’s annual commencement ceremony. Awarded this year were 72 associate’s degrees, three Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education degrees, seven Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, and one Master of Library and Information Science degree. Samuel Foster II, a member of the USC Board of Trustees, gave the commencement address and spoke about the importance of education and the challenges and opportunities facing this year’s graduates. Foster has family connections to the Lowcountry, particularly Jasper County, and his remembrances of family members who impacted him struck a chord with many of those in attendance. At the ceremony’s end, a number of audience members gathered to offer their appreciation for his remarks. Also honored as part of the ceremony was former University of South Carolina president Andrew A. Sorensen, who was named a Friend of the Campus and presented with a hat and shirt making him an honorary Salkehatchie Indian. Sorensen was selected for this recognition because of his dedication to the regional campuses and his tireless efforts in support of higher education in the Salkehatchie region and throughout South Carolina. Catherine Rice Tharin of Allendale received this year’s Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award.
She has provided volunteer services to Allendale County ALIVE and its Education and Leadership Task Forces, the Allendale County Aeronautics Commission, the Town of Allendale Planning and Zoning Board, the Thoroughbred Country Advisory Board, and the Edisto/Savannah Resource Conservation and Development Board. She also established an endowed scholarship at USC Salkehatchie. Dr. Sarah Miller was named the Outstanding Professor of the Year for the second year in a row, and Beverly Boyd of Dorchester was named the Outstanding Student of the Year.