University of South Carolina

C-SPAN founder tells graduates to pursue what they love

“Make sure that your stomach doesn’t hurt.”

And if it does, do something else.

The advice to graduates at the University of South Carolina commencement ceremony Friday (May 8) came from C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, who arrived at law school only to find that the career path that his father had wanted for him didn’t feel right.

The clue? His stomach hurt.

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb

“I didn’t want to be there,” said Lamb, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities during the ceremony.

Speaking to graduates at the first of three commencement ceremonies for recipients of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Lamb said he lasted only three days in law school. After his stomach ache , he joined the Navy, then worked in Washington, D.C., and ultimately founded C-SPAN.

“Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks,” he said. “If you don’t want to do it, it will show.”

Brandi Richi of Fort Mill, graduating summa cum laude from the College of Nursing, gathered with friends to celebrate the day.

“It has been a big journey,” she said, “and there were times when I wasn’t sure that I would make it.”

But Richi got through those “times” with a 4.0 GPA and the help of her friends.

“It was a goal that I set for myself,” she said, motioning for her friend Jennifer Stokes of Camden to join her.

Stokes, another summa graduate, said she was drawn to the nursing profession because “I thought that I would have a stable job, and I could work anywhere.”

The young women have jobs at Providence Hospital after they take the national nursing licensure exam this month.

Standing on the Colonial Life Arena floor was nothing new to Ilona Burgrova, a former varsity basketball player who spent hundreds of hours playing and practicing in the building during her years at Carolina. She shared her joy at receiving a master’s degree in health promotion from the Arnold School of Public Health with her parents, Ilona and Frantifek Burgrova. The couple had flown in from the Czech Republic for their daughter’s graduation.

Burgrova recently signed a two-year contract with a professional women’s basketball team in France. In addition to playing basketball, she hopes to volunteer for a health organization “to stay in the field and, of course, save the world.”

Job or no job, Jordan Goldenberg of Louisville, Ky., is moving to California later this month to pursue his interests in the entertainment industry. He’s hoping that personal contacts there will help him land his first job out of college. Goldenberg, a mass-communications major with a concentration in advertising, said he loved playing the piano and guitar but wasn’t sure that his talents would be enough to pay the bills.

“I chose a career where I could make a living with my creative ability and not be a starving artist,” he said.

Brandi Elliott, originally from California, and Krystal Hughes of Marion were awarded master’s degrees in health administration from the Arnold School. Both admitted that the job market was more difficult than they thought it would be. But they are optimistic.

“I’m looking,” said Elliott, whose search for a job began about seven months ago.

Hughes said she’s searching, too.

“I want to work for a state or federal agency on healthcare policy. That’s where changes begin,” she said.

Stuart Fox, a psychology major, is headed home while hunting for a job in federal law enforcement. But he doesn’t mind that the search might take a while longer. Home is Myrtle Beach, and the sun and surf are calling.

“I’ll miss the atmosphere, the people,” he said of his tenure at Carolina. “I came to USC because it’s a great school with great academics. I’ve always been a Gamecock fan, and I always will be.”

Earlier in the day, the School of Law awarded 235 degrees in a ceremony on the university’s historic Horseshoe. The School of Medicine awarded 68 medical degrees in a ceremony at the Koger Center.

Commencement continues Saturday, May 9, with a 9:30 a.m. ceremony at the Colonial Life Arena for bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates from South Carolina Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and former president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, will speak.

Don Fowler, an advertising executive and political consultant and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, will speak at 3:30 p.m. at the last bachelor’s and master’s degree commencement exercise.

The university will award 91 doctoral degrees at a 1 p.m. ceremony at the Koger Center. Dr. Michael Amiridis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, will speak.

The university also will award five associate’s degrees, 2,676 baccalaureate degrees, 120 pharmacy degrees, 33 certificates, 1,016 master’s degrees and 28 specialist’s degrees from its Columbia campus.

Saturday (May 9) schedule
At Colonial Life Arena


   9:30 a.m.

  • Honors College
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Speaker: Gerald Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and former president of the Georgia Institute of Technology


   1 p.m.

  • Doctoral degree ceremony
  • Speaker: Michael Amiridis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing


   3:30 p.m.

  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering and Computing
  • College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management
  • Fort Jackson Military Base Program
  • Interdisciplinary Programs
  • School of Music
  • College of Social Work
  • Palmetto Programs
  • Speaker: Donald L. Fowler, advertising executive and political consultant and former chair of the Democratic National Committee

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 05/08/09 @ 6:00 PM | Updated: 05/09/09 @ 5:06 PM | Permalink