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Anderson University 2008 Graduation
First ever graduate class included in May 3 ceremony

ANDERSON, SC – Anderson University held spring commencement at 10:00am on Saturday, May 3. Among the 168 graduates who crossed the stage, were 13 graduates who received the first master’s degrees awarded by AU in its history.

The University also awarded two honorary doctor of humanities degrees. One was given to Anderson native John Stringer Rainey, who was also the commencement speaker for the event. Rainey is a well-known attorney and philanthropist in South Carolina. He is also the chairman of Easlan Capital, a major development and investment firm headquartered in S.C. The Stringer Foundation, which consists of Rainey, his two sisters and one brother, has been a major factor in the growth of Anderson University, where the fine arts center and a residence hall complex bear the Stringer and Rainey family names. Most recently, the Stringer Foundation provided a beautiful sculpture by renowned sculptor Marc Mellon for the fountain in front of the Thrift Library.

Roy B. Jeffcoat, a longtime Anderson developer and philanthropist, was also given an honorary doctor of humanities degree. Jeffcoat is a recognized innovator in the area’s construction industry and currently owns a land development company. His philanthropic activities, especially those aimed at bettering the lives of underprivileged children, are well known throughout the state. He has been awarded South Carolina’s highest honor, the Order of the Palmetto, by Governor Mark Sanford. He has also received numerous awards for civic involvement, including the Anderson Independent Mail’s Pointing the Way Leadership Award. At Anderson University, Mr. Jeffcoat serves on the Board of Visitors and the Foundation Council and was instrumental in helping AU raise the needed funds for construction of the Thrift Library.

Saturday’s ceremony also marked the debut of the first Chain of Office worn by a president in an Anderson University ceremony. The chain, recently minted in Utah by the Medallic Art Company, features gilded medallions and an ornate silver and gold medallion featuring the crest of Anderson University.

The outdoor ceremony, in one of the most scenic settings in the Southeast, featured a new tradition in 2008. The procession of students and faculty was led by a white horse and rider, a unique tradition that further distinguishes Anderson University graduation as one of the year’s most interesting and colorful events.


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