Distinguished law school alum to speak to graduates

December commencement will see more than 3,000 UofSC system students earn degrees

Distinguished law school alumnus I.S. Leevy Johnson will address thousands of students earning their degrees at the University of South Carolina’s annual winter commencement ceremony Dec. 16 at the Colonial Life Arena.

The ceremony, which begins at 2:30 p.m., will include graduates from bachelor’s, master’s and professional degree programs across the university system. The university’s doctoral hooding ceremony will take place at the Koger Center at 9:30 a.m. on Dec.16 with law school dean Robert Wilcox as the speaker.

Johnson, the first African American to complete the entire law curriculum at the School of Law, will deliver remarks at the afternoon ceremony. Johnson earned his law degree in 1968, and two years later became the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the South Carolina General Assembly. He served 10 years in the Legislature and was a founding member of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Johnson has received numerous awards during his career, including the Durant Distinguished Public Service Award from the South Carolina Bar, the Compleat Lawyer Award from the university’s School of Law and the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian award. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university in 2010.

The university expects to award 2,214 degrees from the Columbia campus, including graduate and professional degrees. System December graduates include 253 from USC Aiken, 119 from USC Beaufort, 21 from USC Lancaster, 25 from USC Salkehatchie, 34 from USC Sumter, 12 from USC Union and 517 from USC Upstate.

To provide a safer environment and more expedited entry, the university has established a clear bag policy that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into the Colonial Life Arena for all events, including commencement. For information on parking and free shuttle service to and from the arena, please visit UofSC’s commencement website.

For those who cannot attend, the Colonial Life Arena ceremony will be livestreamed via Facebook.