Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 18, 2014

Graduates bid farewell to Concord University

ATHENS — Almost 400 Concord University graduates were presented their diplomas Saturday in two ceremonies at the university’s campus in Athens.

Candidates for graduation participated in a ceremony based on their fields of study. The morning ceremony included candidates for Master in Education and Master of Arts in Teaching and undergraduates from the divisions of Business, Education and Fine Arts.

Participating in the afternoon ceremony were candidates for Master of Social Work and Master of Health Promotion and undergraduates from the divisions of Humanities; Science, Mathematics & Health; and Social Sciences along with undergraduates in Interdisciplinary Studies and the Regents program.

Saturday’s graduation ceremony was the first since Dr. Kendra Boggess was named Concord’s permanent president on April 25.

Boggess said the graduation list included 333 candidates to receive bachelor’s degrees and 45 master’s degree candidates. Graduates came from 16 states and eight countries. There are 14 veterans graduating in the Class of 2014.

The class valedictorians were Casey Lane Hazlewood and Ashley Nicole Lecco, both of Princeton. Hazlewood earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry; Lecco received a business administration degree with a concentration in finance.

Each graduated summa cum laude — with highest honors.

Lecco said to her classmates at the morning ceremony, “Though we have come to the end of our time at Concord, this is only the beginning. ... Wherever you all may go from here, I wish you all the best of luck, and hope all your dreams come true.”

Graduating senior Chesley Rowe addressed her classmates as president of the student government association.

“Remember, success is not the result of spontaneous combustion,” Rowe said. “You must set yourself on fire.”

Two southern West Virginians received honorary doctor of humanities degrees on Saturday.

Lewis D’Antoni of Mullens, legendary basketball coach and 1937 Concord graduate, was honored at the morning ceremony. Robert E. Holroyd of Princeton, an attorney and member of one of Concord’s founding families, was presented his degree in the afternoon.

Faculty president Susan Williams, in her remarks to the graduating class, took the perspective of a native West Virginian when she said, “Just as you reach the top of the mountain, you see that there are so many others to be conquered.”

Williams said, “It’s up to you to take what you’ve learned and make a better world.”

The chairman of the Concord Board of Governors, Dr. Elliot Hicks, said this year’s graduation comes at a time when some are questioning the usefulness of higher education.

He said, “America is exceptional, and remains exceptional, because we value knowledge. ... It’s your charge, Concord graduates, to show the worth of these vital values, throughout the region and, indeed, throughout the country ... .”

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