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I.S. Leevy Johnson (center) prepares to receive honorary degree. Board chairman Miles Loadholt (left) and secretary Tommy Stepp accompany Johnson.
I.S. Leevy Johnson (center) prepares to receive honorary degree. Board Chairman Miles Loadholt (left) and Secretary Tommy Stepp accompany Johnson.

USC awards degrees at summer commencement

Columbia lawyer I.S. Leevy Johnson told the University of South Carolina’s newest graduates Saturday to remember who they are and where they came from – and never stop learning.

“You are your parents’ dream,” said Johnson, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree at the Saturday morning ceremony at the Colonial Life Arena. “You have the talent to be a major factor in improving the quality of life for all mankind. You are champions. You are our hope, our leaders for a better tomorrow.”

The university awarded 1,055 degrees from the Columbia campus at the summer commencement exercises, along with 375 from the university’s regional and four-year campuses.

Johnson is a Midlands native who was among the first African Americans elected to the S.C. General Assembly since Reconstruction. Johnson, who earned his law degree from USC, has practiced law for more than 40 years and was the first African-American president of the S.C. Bar. He told the graduates they came to USC as raw material, and the university has helped form and empower them to compete in the global economy.

“There is no perfect formula for success. But you must realize you live in an information-oriented society. The more you learn, the more you earn,” he said. “You cannot stop learning just because you are getting this degree today. Keep on studying, researching and engaging in activities that will increase your knowledge. When best is possible, good and better are not enough.”

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2010 Summer Commencement

  • Who: Columbia lawyer I.S. Leevy Johnson delivered address
  • What: Graduation ceremony for all eight USC campuses
  • When: Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
  • Where: Colonial Life Arena
  • How many: Columbia campus -- one associate’s degree, 552 baccalaureate degrees, eight law degrees, one pharmacy degree, 10 graduate certificates, 388 master’s degrees, five specialist’s degrees and 90 doctoral degrees; Aiken campus – 61 baccalaureate and two master’s degrees; Beaufort campus – 38 baccalaureate degrees; Lancaster campus – 14 associate’s degrees; Salkehatchie campus – five associate’s degrees; Sumter campus – 10 associate’s degrees; Union campus – eight associate’s degrees; and Upstate campus – 239 baccalaureate degree and four master’s degrees.

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