Students ready to hit the job market
The University of South Carolina concluded a whirlwind weekend of commencement ceremonies Saturday afternoon, awarding 4,400 degrees over two days.
Saturday afternoon’s commencement honored graduates of the College of Education; School of Music; College of Engineering and Computing; College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management; College of Social Work; Fort Jackson Military Base Program; Interdisciplinary Programs; and Palmetto Programs.
For graduates, it was a day for celebration and a time to think about what’s next.
Kevin Anderson of Spartanburg graduated in the first class of biomedical engineers in the College of Engineering and Computing.
“We were the first class to go through the biomedical engineering program, so that was exciting,” Anderson said. “It was an interdisciplinary program so we learned a lot about a lot of different stuff.”
He’s in the job hunt now, looking for the best options for his engineering skills.
Glenn Brown, 21, of Newport News, Va., will go back to his home state to use his new degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. He has accepted a job with Marriott in Williamsburg, Va. After a six-month program in operations, he hopes to move with Marriott to San Diego.
“I came here not knowing anyone and made friends I’ll have for the rest of my life,” Brown said. “I wish it didn’t go by so fast.”
College of Education graduates are trying to find teaching jobs in a tough job market.
“I’m hoping to get a teaching job in South Carolina,” said Meredith Wicker, 21, of Pawleys Island, who wants to teach third or fourth grade. She has had a few interviews with school districts, and is waiting to see what happens with school budgets.
Kristen Smith, 22, of Chicago, is also hoping to find a job in early childhood education. She isn’t sure about the job market, but she knows she wants to stay in the region.
“I love the South so much more than the North. I’m definitely staying here.”
Chane Brown, 26, received his master’s in physical education at the Saturday afternoon ceremony. He has spent the past six years as the student manager for the Carolina women’s basketball team. He’s hoping to teach and coach basketball in high school or at a higher level.
Two graduates are using their new master’s degrees in social work for job promotions.
Donald Lilly, 27, has a new job as the director of men’s housing at North Greenville University. He was the intramural sports coordinator at North Greenville before earning his master’s degree, which he earned after three years of part-time classes.
Tiffany Hyde is in a similar situation. She has been the assistant social service director at White Oak Estates retirement and nursing home in Spartanburg County. With her new master’s in social work, she’s been promoted to the director’s job. She, too, was in the three-year, part-time program based in Greenville.
In his commencement address, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post, urged graduates to do the difficult work necessary to make the nation stronger. Robinson received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the university.
Degrees awarded at USC this weekend included 2,801 baccalaureate degrees; two associate degrees; 202 law degrees; 78 medical degrees; 106 pharmacy degrees; 49 graduate certificates; 1,035 master’s degrees; 31 specialist degrees; and 96 doctoral degrees.
Earlier Saturday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who grew up in Dillon, addressed graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the South Carolina Honors College. Bernanke received an honorary doctorate of business administration at the ceremony. Stephen James Lippard, an inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry researcher and educator, received an honorary doctorate of science.
Saturday afternoon, Dr. Gordon Smith, director of the university’s Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, addressed doctoral grads.
At Friday afternoon’s ceremony, students in the Darla Moore School of Business, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, College of Nursing, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Arnold School of Public Health and the College of Pharmacy received degrees.
Also Friday, the School of Law awarded 202 degrees at commencement exercises on the historic Horseshoe. William C. Hubbard, a member and former chair of the USC Board of Trustees and a partner in the firm of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, received an honorary doctor of laws degree.
At the Koger Center, the School of Medicine awarded degrees to 78 graduates Friday afternoon. Dr. O’Neill Barrett Jr. addressed graduates, and an honorary doctorate of public administration was presented to Charles D. Beaman Jr., president and chief executive officer of Palmetto Health, at the School of Medicine commencement.