Also at Monday’s commencement, Sarah Tholstrup was making history as the university’s first environmental-science graduate. The College of Arts and Sciences began offering a bachelor’s degree in that program in fall 2009. It is offered through the School of the Environment, part of the new School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment. Tholstrop chose the South Carolina Honors College when she graduated from Chapin High School because she received a scholarship, and it offered her the chance to major in statistics.
“Then I started minoring in environmental studies, and I enjoyed that more than statistics,” Tholstrup said. “When the major was available, I jumped on it.”
“I really enjoy the wilderness sorts of things,” she said. “I loved my ecology class and Rudy Mancke’s natural history of South Carolina. That class made me want to minor in it in the first place.”
For now, she is looking for a job in outdoors education and eventually wants to go to graduate school. Long-term, she sees herself possibly working with kids as part of the National Park Service.
Another first at USC came during the doctoral hooding ceremony earlier Monday at the Koger Center for the Arts, where Deborah Del Mar Soto-Ortega became the university’s first Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, receiving her degree from the College of Engineering and Computing.
As the graduates leave the university with their new degrees, USC President Harris Pastides urged them to “go out and improve the world.”
“Graduates, we want you to find gainful employment or pursue graduate studies, but we also want you to shine your bright light of leadership while serving as a beacon to others, as this university has been a beacon to you,” Pastides said. “Remember always to shine your light of warmth and wisdom on those who are the least fortunate among us.”
And also remember, as Tanner told them, that wherever they go, they will always be 2010 national championship graduates.