SC State to Hold Virtual Commencement on May 31

Graduates celebrate during Commencement at the Oliver C. Dawson Stadium

SC State University will hold its virtual spring Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 31, at 3 p.m. The university will confer degrees to nearly 400 graduates, and each graduate will be honored by having their name announced as their photo appears on the screen. U.S. Rep. and SC State alumnus James E. Clyburn will deliver a pre-recorded Commencement address. Information on how to access the virtual ceremony will be announced on Tuesday, May 26. Graduation will be available for viewing for one year following the initial virtual broadcast.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the physical spring Commencement has been postponed to ensure the health and safety of graduates, their families, friends and the university community. 

Like other institutions of higher learning, SC State will host a virtual Commencement to celebrate graduates and honor their academic achievements through a memorable ceremony. Graduates will be invited to participate in a physical Commencement ceremony at a later date, in the safest way possible. 

During these times, it is even more imperative for the voices of inspiration and encouragement to step forward. The class of 2020 will be addressed by someone who has walked the grounds they have, and is continuing to triumph in the feat of earning a degree from SC State University.

“I am where I am today in large measure because of the experiences and relationships I had during my time as a student on the campus of South Carolina State,” Clyburn said.

“We are experiencing some new realities, and this pre-recorded Commencement address is reflective of some of the adjustments that are going to be necessary for quite some time to come. I am thankful that South Carolina State has made this adjustment that honors me with the privilege of addressing this year’s graduating class.”

In addition to his alma mater, Clyburn has always found inspiration in the love of his life, who also dedicated her life to helping make success achievable for all. 

“My late wife Emily and I met on this campus over 60 years ago and were married for 58 of those years.  We worked throughout our lives to make this country’s greatness accessible and affordable for all its citizens. That vision led Emily to do the kind of things throughout her life that incented SC State to honor her on several occasions, (by) awarding her an Honorary Doctorate, by renaming the Chestnut Street pedestrian overpass and establishing the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College. I encourage all this year’s graduates to hold fast to (your) dreams and develop a vision that guides your life and enables you to help make the greatness of this country accessible and affordable for all,” he continued.

Clyburn, the Majority Whip, is the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He previously served in the post from 2007 to 2011 and served as assistant Democratic leader from 2011 to 2019. He currently serves as the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

A native of Sumter, South Carolina, Clyburn has supported rural and economic development, and many of his initiatives have become law. He is also a passionate supporter of historic preservation and restoration programs.  His efforts have restored scores of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities. 

Clyburn’s legislation created the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, elevated the Congaree National Monument to a National Park and established the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

The entire university community wants the upcoming graduating class to know that their hard work is appreciated, admired and will never be disregarded.

“This is a special graduating class that will always be remembered as the students who completed their degrees in spite of the global COVID -19 pandemic, a sudden move to remote learning, along with many other challenges,” said university Provost Dr. Learie B. Luke.

“These resilient students have persisted and are leaving the hallowed halls of SC State University to become lawyers, educators, school superintendents, scientists, entrepreneurs, speech pathologists, military officers and so much more. These graduates will be entering a world whose economy has been upended by the novel coronavirus.  However, I am convinced that they are well prepared to meet the challenge of an uncertain world with Bulldog Tenacity and pride. Congratulations, and best wishes for the future,” he continued. 

The university administration, faculty and staff are working diligently to make sure the class of 2020 has a unique and dignified graduation ceremony that honors them and their families.

For more information, contact Chaundra Mikell Yudchenko at [email protected] 

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