Vice President Joe Biden to deliver UofSC commencement address

Posted on: 4/9/2014; Updated on: 2/10/2015
By Megan Sexton, 803-777-1421

Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the commencement address at the Friday, May 9, ceremony at the University of South Carolina.

Biden will address graduates at the 3 p.m. ceremony in the Colonial Life Arena that includes students from the Darla Moore School of Business, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, College of Nursing, South Carolina College of Pharmacy and the Arnold School of Public Health.

The Vice President will receive an honorary degree of doctor of public administration.

Biden has spent his lifetime in public service. At age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served for more than three decades. He chaired or served as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, and was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues including the landmark 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act. As chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1997, Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy, working on issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

Biden, a two-time presidential candidate, was tapped by Barack Obama as his running mate in 2008 and the pair were re-elected in 2012. As the country’s 47th vice president, Biden has represented the interests of the United States in every region of the world, traveling to more than two dozen countries. He has also championed many domestic issues, including college affordability, American manufacturing growth and middle class living standards. He is the first sitting vice president to give a commencement address at Carolina.

Also at the Friday commencement ceremony, David Seaton, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the Fluor Corporation and a University of South Carolina graduate, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of business administration.

Details concerning parking, tickets and access for the Friday afternoon commencement will be provided in the coming days.

On Saturday, May 10, W. James McNerney Jr., chairman, president and CEO of the Boeing Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, will speak at the 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony. McNerney will address graduates of the South Carolina Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences. He will receive the honorary degree doctor of business administration.

Also at the Saturday morning ceremony, Sir John Meurig Thomas, renowned chemist, educator, author and inventor, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of science. Robert L. Blocker, a South Carolina native and dean of the Yale School of Music, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of music.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Charles F. Bolden Jr., a retired Marine Corps major general, former astronaut and current administrator of NASA, will address graduates of the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computing, the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, the Fort Jackson Military Base Program, Interdisciplinary Programs, Palmetto College, the School of Music and the College of Social Work. Bolden, a Columbia, S.C., native, is a veteran of four space flights. He received an honorary degree of doctor of science at the university in 1984.

At the Saturday afternoon ceremony, Anita Zucker, chair and chief executive officer of The InterTech Group Inc. in Charleston and an advocate for education, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of education. Mac Arnold, a South Carolina blues musician, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of music.

The Columbia campus commencement ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 9, when William Byrd Traxler Jr., chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, addresses graduates of the School of Law on the historic Horseshoe.

Also Friday, Dr. Richard A. Hoppmann, former dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, will address graduates of the medical school at 12:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, May 10, the doctoral commencement and hooding ceremony will take place at the Koger Center for the Arts. Milind Kunchur, professor of physics, will speak at the ceremony.

The university’s other campuses will hold commencement ceremonies this spring, including:

USC Salkehatchie: 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 2. Rita Bragg Caughman will address graduates.

USC Beaufort: 6 p.m. Friday, May 2. Arthur K. Smith will address graduates and receive an honorary degree. Lawrence Sanders Rowland will receive an honorary degree.

USC Lancaster: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3. Bruce A. Brumfield will address graduates.

USC Union: 6 p.m. Saturday, May 3. William M. Comer Jr. will address graduates.

USC Upstate: 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6. Dr. Julian Josey will address graduates and receive an honorary degree., Vic Bailey and Dodie Anderson will receive honorary degrees.

USC Sumter: 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 7. John N. Gardner will address graduates.

USC Aiken: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8. W. Cothran “Cot” Campbell will address graduates.

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